The Catholic Times' desk columnist recalls his early years when the family kept bottles of vitamins and medicine on the dinner table. He wondered at the time if they could cure the ailments for which they were taken. Exercise and eating well, he thought would have been the better way.
He was not concerned then about his health. It was mainly trying to keep away from catching a cold. At that time, a good night's rest or a nap would be enough to regain strength. He played soccer, basketball and joku (playing volley ball with your feet). During his years of schooling, these sports kept him in good shape.
As the years went by, things began to change. Aches and pains started to appear. Food was eaten no longer for its taste but rather for his own taste for food. He remembers that he could make the rounds five times at a buffet table, and eat at different hours of the day without problems. But one day, coming back from a bath house, he fell to the ground because of an excruciating pain, later found to be gastritis and an esophagus problem. Even after this incident, he was not as careful, he admits, as he should have been. He now is more careful when he sits down to eat, even when it's a simple meal of noodles.
He is bothered with chronic tiredness which even a good night's sleep does not dissipate, and finds walking up to his third floor office difficult. Because of these latest symptoms, his wife also gets after him to improve his dietary regimen: including omega-3 oil, vitamins, brown rice, vegetables, beans with the rice, papaya enzymes and also, whenever possible, buying organic.
He has taken steps, he says, to provide for the lack of exercise and a good diet, supplementing with other health aids. Seeing how this has improved his physical health, he wonders if similar steps focusing on the spiritual side of life will improve his spiritual health. He has been baptized for 30 years, but instead of making progress in spiritual maturity, he had been content, he says, with comfort and laziness. Especially pride which has brought inflammation and hardening of the spiritual faculties.
The concern we should have for the the body is similar to the concern we should have for the spirit. Sunday Mass and our daily spiritual exercises, if not regular and desire is missing, may be a sign that we need to take some spiritual vitamins. They could be in the form of retreats and spiritual reading. And because of the interconnection of the body and the spirit, both need to be cared for if we are to live to the optimum of our possibilities.