Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Body, Temple of the Spirit

"Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4)

"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:19,20)

Last night as I was meditating on my Rosary on the mystery of the Coming of the Holy Spirit, I pondered the meaning of the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. And it occurred to me that there is nothing of environmental concern and responsibility that is not directly related to the human body. The connection between the care of our earth, which God explicitly entrusted to Adam and Eve and their descendants, and the care of our bodies is permanently linked and unbreakable. I would go so far as to say that this bond is a holy covenant between God and man. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit after his ascension to heaven so that we shall be witnesses to him, to the end of the earth. Our power to be witnesses is given to us by the Holy Spirit dwelling within (Acts 1:8). How can the Spirit fulfill this mission in a dirty temple? What movies and television programs you watch, what books and magazines you read, and what music you listen to does matter. But it doesn't stop there.

Our bodies do not belong to us; they belong to God. Everything we do or neglect to do in regard to farming practices and what we eat, the chemicals we use, our personal care and cleaning products, the cars we drive, the efficiency of our household appliances--literally anything you can imagine--directly relates to the use of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. This goes beyond sexual behaviors or impure thoughts that defile this temple. We are to glorify God in our bodies. It does matter to God what food you put in your mouth, what deodorant and toothpaste you use, what is in your laundry detergent, whether or not you smoke cigarettes or drink too much alcohol, whether or not your corn is genetically modified, your choices to recycle and compost, or not, whether you breastfeed your baby or use cloth diapers. God does care whether or not you are physically fit. Spirituality and a holy life simply cannot be separated, in any way, shape, or form, from the care of your body, which cannot be separated from the care of Mother Earth. Period. Exclamation point! No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

So what I would like to do in honor of my self-declared Year of Mother Earth is to provide my readers with ideas for better ways of holy, sustainable living, which will help me keep my focus on doing the same. I will call this series, "Manna for the Temple." Stay tuned for product recommendations, organic growing methods, cosmetic and food ingredient warnings, and anything that the Holy Spirit inspires to keep us connected--body, mind, soul, and planet.

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