I know a lot of people for whom experience trumps rational argument. "Well, in my experience, the Church's teaching on marriage is just impossible." "That's nice for you, but it's not everyone's experience."
The point of Catholic anthropology (or, the Church's view on the human person) is that experience fulfills and gives life to doctrine. That is, if reason and revelation demonstrate a truth, then that truth will give meaning to human experience. And the lived experience of the truth is the fullness of human happiness.
Never is this more true than with respect to human bodies, in particular to human sexuality. John Paul II's (he's being beatified!) Theology of the Body at first seems like a lot of heady reflection on Scripture and philosophy (which it is). But when you have lives changed by the Theology of the Body, you also have Theology of the Body proved by lives lived.
Marcel LeJeune's Set Free to Love: Lives Changed by the Theology of the Body provides a good companion to any study of John Paul II's thought. He draws together eleven testimonies--from married and single laity, religious, and clergy--of men and women who encountered the pope's thought and experienced a profound conviction that it is true. Many of the stories are dramatic, but some are simpler. The book is accessible and enjoyable and provides a real spark of hope: Conversion and a heroic fidelity to the Catholic vision of the person is possible.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company, and the reviewer received a free copy of the text in exchange for her opinion. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Lives Changed by the Theology of the Body. The Catholic Company is a great place for Catholic Valentine's Day gifts, too!