Thursday, July 19, 2012

Are You Body Conscious?

Who isn't, right?  I feel it every day when I go to the pool.  After my swim today though, as I was sitting poolside and letting the kids play, I experienced a different kind of "body consciousness."  I was praying the Glorious Mysteries and realized that it had been awhile since I had really been struck by the awesomeness of Jesus' Resurrection.  The Lord that I am praying too is not just spirit, He is flesh and blood!  He is physically alive, like me - well, more than me! 

The day will come when He will share this bodily resurrection with all of us.  The Blessed Mother already experiences it; that's what the Assumption was about.  It wasn't enough for Jesus that His Mother experience eternal life in her spirit; He wanted her to experience it in her body - the same body that carried him to term, nursed him, and served him in hundreds of thousands of ways during earthly life.  And that's what He is going to do for you and me too.

These truths get at the value we Christians attribute to the body.  Don't confuse Christians' talk about bodily health and fitness with society's worship of the body. Catholicism knows that we are, to use Aquinas' terminology, hylomorphic beings. We are a union of body and soul; that's our human nature.  Jesus saved us by offering Himself to the Father in both, not one or the other; and we are responsible to God for the care of both. "The flesh is the hinge of salvation" (CCC 1015). As Paul put it, "I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified" (1 Cor.9:27).  Our cognizance of the importance of the body can even be seen in how we express salvation - it's not a matter of "faith alone" but of faith (interior) and works (exterior).  That's the big picture, the "full, body shot" if you will (James 2:14-20); and it's Good News.

I want to recognize my body and those of others for the gifts they are - allowing us, like Jesus, to express our love for God and others.  No need to fret over what people are thinking when they see me at the pool; that's such a myopic view of the value of our bodies, and I want the joy of God's big picture.


  1. Great post, Shane! Your closing was especially poignant.

  2. Great post, Shane! Your closing paragraph was especially poignant.