How your body impacts your life, spiritually
In 1 Corinthians 15:44, St. Paul talks about a “spiritual body”. It is quite unfortunate that we have often been told that this “spiritual body” is the soul leaving the body after death to be with Jesus. In fact, it is not. It is something very much more.
In John 20, Jesus appears to the apostles and disciples in the upper room in a body that is still his body, but has been changed by the Resurrection. It no longer is susceptible to decay. It is a body that can move from one place to another through walls and doors. It is a body that still bears the marks of the Resurrection and consumes food. It is a body that is fully physical and entirely spiritual as well. This is the “Spiritual Body” about which St. Paul speaks.
As I am recovering from rotator cuff surgery, which is very painful, I was struck by the remarks by a former med student who is living with us, ‘Wow, you heal fast.” It must be the prayers of the intentional intercessors (people who pray for others) who are praying for me. In fact, I stopped for a moment and appropriated all of the grace of those who are praying for my recovery to be focused on my shoulder joint. Then, I reminded myself to trust that I live in a spiritual body already.
Wait. What? Did you just say you already live in a spiritual body, like Jesus’ resurrected body? Yes, I did. Here is why and how it impacts your spirituality.
I believe that I have been mystically grafted into the body of Jesus Christ in my Baptism. I believe that I have access to healing. I believe that I have access to the ability to do things that others think are impossible. I believe that His Lordship and transformation of my decaying body is happening with every prayer, every sip of His blood, and every taste of His body on my tongue. The experience of “spirituality” is something that I do in my body. The spiritual connection with God transforms this body I live in.
When God sees that it is going to benefit His renewal of all creation from corruption and death, then something we call ‘miraculous’ happens. When it makes no difference as to my eventual entry into paradise to be with God until Jesus comes again, then I continue to go down the path of aging. No matter what, I am connected to the Greatest Spirit beyond the universe in a real and palpable way.
It is St. Paul who tells us that when we are baptized, we are baptized into a death like His so that we are Resurrected into a body like His. This doesn’t mean later, it means now. This has HUGE implications for those of us who are spiritual.
It means our bodies are critically important to our spirituality. We need to treat our bodies well so that we can be attuned to the movements of the Spirit within them.
It means our bodies are part of our spirituality. Movements of our bodies, sounds we make with our voices, actions we take with our hands, arms, etc., are imbued with the spirit. The actions of our bodies, for good or bad, have an impact on our spirit.
It means the physical world is part of our spirituality. Our interaction with how we treat the physical world is just as important as how we live a spiritual existence in our bodies. God is renewing the heaven and earth, too.
Spirituality is physicality and vice versa. How will that change how you act, what you do, and what you put into your body?
Mark T. Kurowski, M.Div. is a graduate of Duke University’s Divinity School and Mundelein Seminary, Chicago, IL.
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Mark Kurowski, M.Div.
Spiritual Director, Author, Blogger, Podcaster, Theologian