Glorify God in Your Body!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

In the days of the early Church, there arose a heresy called “gnosticism”. Gnosticism was not so much a particular sect as a constellation of ideas that were fuzzy but had a distinct flavor (much as the New Age movement does today).  Among these ideas was the notion that we were saved, not by the love of God so much as by our mastery of elaborate secret knowledge and-mark this-that this secret knowledge would set our spirits free from the prison of the body.  For the gnostic, spirit and body were always thought of as opposites. The curious thing about gnosticism was that it resulted in two diametrically opposed systems of thought.  For some schools of gnosticism the opposition of body and the spirit meant that our duty was to treat the body with the harshest contempt.  For such gnostics, cruel asceticism was the rule and the body was subjected to the harshest treatment. Jesus was pitted by them against the God of the Old Testament in such thinking because, it was reasoned, Jesus meant to liberate us from the evil system of matter and bodily imprisonment created by the “bad God”. On the other hand, there were gnostics who reasoned that the opposition of body and spirit meant the body could do anything without effecting the spirit. This school went in for orgies and every form of self-indulgence, all the while pretending they were “holy within”.  But the Church of Christ went on teaching the truth:  The Word became flesh.  Body and spirit are married in Christ Jesus and we who are in him can and must glorify God in our bodies, not apart from them just as Jesus did when he died and rose–bodily–and ascended to his Father.

 

Mark Shea

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Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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