“God has constructed the body so as to give greater honor to those parts [considered] without honor.” 1 Corinthians 12:24
Many spiritually minded people are uncomfortable with talk of their bodies. Even a perfectly crafted sermon can cause the faithful to become uneasy when the homilist begins to talk of “the flesh.” Many church-goers give much more emphasis to the “soul” part of “body and soul.” Some might even say that the soul is, in a sense, trapped in the body.
This is not biblical! God gives significant emphasis to both the body and the soul. So much so that He (the Word) became flesh and dwelt among us.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14
God Himself took on a human body!
And what’s more, we are created in God’s image! The beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator. Sunsets and mountains don’t reflect the beauty of the Creator in the same way as that which was made in His image–the human body.
For that reason, we must open our body as an indwelling of the Spirit so that our mortal bodies can have divine life. What greater meaning does life have than that? And it starts with our bodies!
The Body and the Sacraments
The Sacraments are the physical means through which we encounter God’s spiritual treasure.
The Catholic faith is a very sensual religion–our most intimate encounters with God are through our bodily senses: bathing the body with water (baptism); anointing the body with oil (baptism, confirmation, holy orders, anointing the sick); eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ (the Eucharist); the laying on of hands (holy orders, anointing of the sick); confessing with our lips to a priest (penance); and the unbreakable joining of man and woman in their union as one flesh (marriage).
Through our holy participation in the Sacraments, our body becomes a sign that makes visible the invisible. We are physical embodiments of the love of the God we cannot see.
To ask questions about the significance and meaning of the body can lead us on a much deeper journey into the significance and meaning of LIFE. (Hence, the purpose of this study!)
One of those questions, for example, is the mystery of sexual difference: the difference between men and women’s bodies and the role that plays in the divine story.
But stay tuned! That’s coming next week!
In the meantime, let us know…have you ever conceived of your body as a “shell” in which your “spiritual self” dwells? Why are spiritually minded people so often uncomfortable with their bodies?
Thank you for reading!
The FRP Team