Professor highlights connection between Theology of the Body, Song of Songs in symposium talk

Donald Asci


Donald Asci
Photo by: Mary Norton

On the evening of Sept. 2, professor of theology Donald Asci drew large crowds to the Gentile Gallery for his lecture entitled “Theology of the Body in the Song of Songs.” 

The second session of the Gift of Human Sexuality Symposium, the presentation was centered around the connection between St. John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” and the biblical Song of Songs. Both works explore the ways in which the visible human body reveals the “inner movements of the heart,” Asci explained. 

Asci emphasized that the body plays a critical role in the correct understanding of human sexuality and how it relates to the person as a whole.  

“In the [Song of Songs], there seems to be a preoccupation with the body, but a focus on the person,” said Asci. “And this catches us off guard a little because of our … fallen and concupiscent mentality. We think the body and person are in competition. … There’s no question of that here in the Song of Songs. I am my body. … The focus on the body is the focus on me.” 

However, Asci also said there is “a pandemic in our culture” in which the body is reduced to a commodity. Today’s society focuses on disordered pleasure derived from “body to body” or “body to object” contact only. 

In order to combat this pandemic, Asci said we must focus on having a “person to person encounter” with each other. This encounter must happen “through the body” in the context of correctly ordered human sexuality, much like that of the bride and bridegroom in the Song of Songs. 

“That’s what we’re looking for,” said Asci. “Between the bridegroom and the bride … there’s this rejoicing, there’s this reception of gifts, there’s going to be this welcoming, there’s going to be the reception of dignity in the context of love and the flourishing of inner peace.” 

“I think that confidence and trust are two key elements from this talk,” said junior humanities and Catholic culture major Brittney Lyndon. “God is calling men and women to be confident in themselves so that they may trust one another in an encounter of pure love.” 

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