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Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? (1 Cor 6: 19)
The Temple was the holiest of all places for the Jews because God dwelt there. Now they hear the incredible news that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit where God dwells. How humbling! And mind-boggling. How transforming for them, and now for us. Now, can we keep the same old attitude toward ourselves and others, knowing he truly dwells within us? Now, can we remain in our old ways of talking, acting and sinning?
Your body is a living temple of the Holy Spirit, unique and unrepeatable from that of anyone else. Your body is God’s gift to you, a one-of-a-kind reflection of his nature.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made in a unique way for the specific purpose he planned for each of us. No matter how he wrapped this gift of our body, his Spirit resides within us.
We may see our bodies as we imagine others judge them, our flaws magnified. Do we obsess over a body feature we surely need to change to feel loved and successful? Perhaps our self-consciousness about our body’s shape generates a circle of self-hatred, regret and hopelessness.
Our Lord sees our bodies differently than we do. He made each one of us an irreplaceable design of his creation. He created our bodies as temporary vessels of his Spirit and ours. Yes, God created you in his image as a vessel of holiness.
We live in our bodies as our earthly, yet temporary, home. They are a means to honor him as we await our resurrection when he will change our body to be like his glorious body.
We know that in time our vulnerable body becomes sickly and shabby. Still it is the most beautiful of tabernacles when the glory of the Lord is present within it. Every time we receive the Lord in the Eucharist, he dwells within us anew. He chooses to reside within us, for we are his handiwork.
Whether you have accepted or rejected your body in the past, I encourage you to embrace your body just as he made it, just as it is right now. It belongs to him as his sacred temple where he has chosen to live since your baptism.
You mirror his image, not your own. You can put your confidence in the Lord, not in your attractiveness. Thus, you radiate his holiness from within your magnificent temple where he lives.
Joyfully celebrate all your body does for you— running, dancing, breathing, laughing. Thank the Lord for your health. Thank him for valuing your body whatever its condition because his holiness dwells there.
What body feature do you need to accept so that God’s Spirit can shine?
© 2012, revised 2017, Nancy HC Ward