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My Christian Anthropology Journey by Cynthia Argana

A Shared Experience

Reg and I had been married for almost 27 years.  We became good friends back when we met in the Philippines in a Catholic community, Singles for Christ. We also happened to be

both finishing a post-graduate degree in the same university at that time, and I often share that working for our assessments brought us closer.  How would I know that 25 years after marriage, studying together once again would bring us closer to God and fall in love with each other even more.

Our Theology of the Body (TOB) journey started in 2012 with ten CDs of Dr. Christopher West (founder of the Theology of the Body Institute) which we watched together.  Since then, we read, listened and studied more, but individually due to work and family constraints.  But in 2022, Reg and I were introduced to another wonderful TOB lecturer, Jennifer Prather, and before we knew it, we finished a Christian Anthropology course which ran for 10 weeks from 11PM to 1AM Sydney time! It was so good that we are now on our 5th course and the last of Image & Gift’s Certificate Program in Christian Anthropology based on TOB.

Enrolling in the certificate program as a couple allowed us to share one another’s insights

and talk about how the topics are forming the way we live our faith and relationships with people around us.  Reg is the first to remind me that there’s goodness in every person even those who are hard to love.  The first step to loving them is to see them beyond their brokenness and remember that we are all created in the image and likeness of God. As in Gen 2:23, when man saw woman for the first time, he instantly proclaimed “at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh!”

Woman didn’t even do anything, and yet man knew that she deserved nothing less than to be treated with dignity, honour and respect.  Whenever I am annoyed or find a certain dislike in a person, I ask myself “what is it about him/her that made him/her so loved by God?” I guess this is what it means to have lost the divine vision that the original man (human person before original sin) used to have. Because of sin, the vision of our heart was damaged such that we really have to struggle hard before coming to see the true beauty of a person.  Jesus himself said “blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.”  Now, if we believe that every person bears the image of God, to see the beauty of every person, the imprint of the absolute Beauty, we need purity of heart. This is not easy.

Attending the Christian Anthropology courses however gave us a structured way to study God’s truths, and at the same time allowed us to examine our brokenness as individuals and as a Church. Knowing our vulnerabilities also made us naturally drawn to prayer and the Sacraments. 

It is a blessing that Reg and I can choose to both work from home on Tuesdays so we can go our Parish’s adoration and Mass after work together. Being able to do this at this stage in our marriage is a wonderful blessing.  When many couples’ interest for one another wanes over time and married life just becomes a routine as they age, continuously studying the faith together adds new dimensions to our marriage. It feels like diving deeper into the mystery of the personhood of my husband and finding his true beauty more and more.  In time, his body may limit the things that he is able to do, or he could lose his job or he could lose his memory etc.  The wife who knows that the dignity of a person cannot be reduced to what he can or cannot do in the world, would be able to love her husband in all seasons and situations even when the body starts to fail.

I am very grateful for what we have learned and all the inspirations from our learnings through Image & Gift’s certification program.  I am grateful for our fellow students from different parts of the globe for sharing their insights and experiences. I am also especially grateful for our lecturer, Jennifer Prather, who was a teacher, a friend and a real companion in our faith journey.  We’re looking forward to where God will send us next.

About the Author:

Cynthia Argana is a wife, mother, and catechist. She and her husband, Reg, reside in Sydney, Australia. Reg and Cyn are also members of Couples for Christ. After several years of study, they will be the first to complete the requirements for the certificate in Christian Anthropology (based on TOB), an international program offered by Image and Gift Ministries.

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