Sr. Helena Burns, fsp, has some great insight into how Theology of the Body can inform our discernment. This presentation is right up my alley, combining the two things I'm currently most obsessed with!
One thing I really appreciate is how Sr. Helena witnesses to the way discovering Theology of the Body informed the way she lived out her vows as a consecrated woman.
I am convinced that TOB is key for us all to more fully live out our vocations. I know for me personally when I started to feel a nudge toward religious life I resisted because I didn't understand celibacy. I know at one point I had a conception of celibacy being the ignoring or denial of one's sexuality and an ignoring of one's desires for love and intimacy. I would complain, "God, why would you give me these desires to frustrate them...that's just plain cruel...it doesn't make sense". But gradually, through studying TOB and experiencing God's personal love and desire for me through prayer...I came to understand that God didn't give us such desires to frustrate but to fulfill them, ultimately with His very self. Earthly marriage is meant to point to the Marriage of the Lamb, our union to God in Christ. Some people are called to skip the earthly sign and entrust all their desires to God for Him to fulfill. And does he ever! Only God affirms and satisfies totally...the WHOLE person, body and soul. He has affirmed me as woman. As I came to this realization my aversion to celibacy gave way gradually to this intense attraction! After tasting God's love I've come to know that He's more than enough to satisfy me, all of me. God desires our total gift; body and soul, and gives all of His self to us. I desire to give Him all my love and for Him to be my only Love. But then on the other hand...if God is calling to marriage, though if this is His will He'd have to tweak my desires because my heart is set on Him alone as my Lover, I'd have a solid foundation because any healthy relationship must be grounded in God. Married couples must also recognize God as their ultimate fulfillment or there is the danger for them to expect their spouses to fulfill them totally, something only God can do, leading to big problems!
So thus having an understanding that God is our ultimate fulfillment makes living out your vocation, wether it be consecrated celibacy or marriage, possible through His grace. The question becomes...what is the best way for you personally to spend your love? You come to know this through opening your desires to to God and letting Him reveal to you who you really are, what you are made for...which vocation would be be most fulfilling and give you the most life. Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart...He will reveal to you your deepest desires satisfy them because it is He who gave you those desires! This involves a lot of trust, but we have to understand that God is more than worthy of our trust, and He will keep proving this to you if you let Him. Pray that that I may ever more deeply surrender to God's loving plans and I will pray the same for you!