God’s Great Gift

The human body

Everybody’s got one. Head, shoulders, knees and toes, and a whole lot more. The human body is an amazing thing, as any science teacher will tell us. And with the body goes the soul. You can’t have one without the other. As sure as turkeys and Christmas are related, so are bodies and souls. Inseparable. Together, they make up the human person.

And that person, body and soul, is a reflection of God. “Made in the image and likeness of God.” That’s us. This is not just a pious phrase, depicting some lofty spiritual idea that has long been consigned to the dustbin of history. Quite the opposite. The fact is that the human body is just as important in God’s eyes as the soul. And that means your body. After all, he made it! Pope John Paul II once said that the human body is so important that it is the ‘sacrament of the person’. This means that the human body expresses who we are. Just as the eyes are considered ‘windows to the soul’, the body and its actions the give us a glimpse of the soul, telling us about it.

The implication is: if we look after our bodies, we look after ourselves. So our bodies are precious because we are precious, as people. Infinitely so, since we are God’s greatest creation.

Using our bodies to fulfil our deepest desires?

And as people, we have desires. Take a moment to think what they are. You know, the really deepest ones.

Let’s ask a question:

Is your greatest, most burning desire in life to live a life completely without love, sex, marriage, children, intimacy and friends?

Hardly. On the contrary, we are made for each other. We desire all these things because they are engrained in the recesses of the human heart as things that will fulfil. And they are all very good, since God made these too.

Often we express those desires precisely through our bodies. How we talk, how we dress, how we touch, how we listen – these are signs that we use our bodies to build relationships and get closer! The task is, though, to use our bodies correctly. We must learn how to be chaste, that is, correctly order our sexuality so that our bodies remain the ‘temples of the Holy Spirit’ that they are.