Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Body and Soul

Is health the most important aspect of our life? A Jesuit priest who writes on spiritual matters in the Catholic Times begins his column with this question. Jesus spent a great deal of time in his public life curing the sick. We need to search for the meaning of these actions of Jesus. What do we mean by disease and health?

As in the time of Christ we have many who are sick. When a  family member is sick we pray for them, but not always with the  results we want. Why is this the case? There are those that pray and believe their prayers were answered, and those who prayed for the sick only to see them die, giving them great sorrow. How do we understand Jesus' curing of the sick?

We say health is our most important asset. True, for  when we lose our health we can no longer do what we want, and are dependent on others. We lose much. Consequently, when we watch TV we are bombarded with advertizing concerned with health:   beauty, live longer, good food, medicines, exercises-- tempting us with many hours and expenditure of energy for well being.  

Is bodily health that important that it takes first place in all our concerns? Isn't that the reason Jesus cured so many people? Our columnist doesn't think so. In John's Gospel, Jesus says the spirit is what gives life, and the body is of no value. But Jesus did cure the sick, what is the meaning of this? Jesus wants us to understand that the soul is the most important part of our existence. We are tempted to think that the body is everything and miss the place of the spirit in our lives. We are one body with God by means of the spirit which is the important dimension. When we have the right understanding and sensitivity of spirit, the body follows.

When we concentrate on the spirit  and are no longer tied to the body, the body regains health. When Jesus cured the sick he told them it was their faith that cured them. It was not his power but the belief  of the sick person. This is what cured the person.

The columnist concludes with the thought that we need to remember this when we reflect on the actions of Jesus.The body in itself is not what is important. The essence of our human existence is the soul which  acts and loves.

When we speak in this way it is easy for some to think disease is all our fault, which is not what is   being said, and is cruel. An important message is being delivered and we don't want to miss the message by a black and white approach to the subject-- seeing only the two opposite extremes of the issue. Our efforts should be directed as followers of Jesus to understand his teaching. Attitudes, have a great deal to do with the kind of health we possess: a principle that few would deny. 

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