Friday, August 8, 2014

Body and Soul

At New Evangelizers, my latest article is Smells and Bells, on the need to involve both body and soul in liturgy and in prayer.

We are not just spirits driving around meat costumes.  We're not wearing Edgar suits (see Men in Black for the inherent problems in that system).

In Star Trek: The Next Generation, episode 19, Heart of Glory, the Klingons demonstrate several times that they don't hold to the same view. To them, the body is not part of the person.

When one of their comrades is lost, Korris tells the doctor of his body, "It is only an empty shell now.  Please treat it as such."

Later, the captain of a Klingon vessel refers to the dead Korris and Konmel in the same way. "They are now only empty shells. Dispose of them as you see fit."

The Catholic view is quite different, and it goes back to the beginning. It's quite visible in the life of Jesus. "He used physical things all the time. He rubbed mud on the eyes of a blind man. He was baptized by water, through a physical, outward sign of the intangible, inward reality.  It’s important to note that He didn’t have to use them. He also healed a solder’s servant’s daughter without seeing or touching her. But much of the time, he worked through physical objects. He consciously chose to work that way."

"These things don’t do anything for God. They don’t add something to Him or give Him something He needs. Rather, they give us something we need–a physical aspect to our faith that involves the body and, perhaps, through the body help focus and guide our spirits."

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