“My heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.” (Psalm 84:2)
Have you ever heard of duality or dualism? It is a philosophical term for some brainy discussion of how the body and the mind (soul) do or do not find unity. But in my understanding it is simply used to prove that I cannot possibly live here on earth without a body AND a soul. Often, we find ourselves scrutinizing either our body or our soul because of the imperfections we find in them. This specially happens with those who intentionally seek holiness of life. But when cooperating with God’s work of purification in our life we at times just end up getting in the way of what God is trying to do in us.
I often question where the beauty of purity can be found. I used to focus my attention on the interior workings of the heart; feelings, emotions, spirituality. But, at times I ended up disappointing myself by all the impurity I found in those areas. Although it is a good and necessary approach, I hardly gave consideration to the other side of that coin; the body. Yes, purity of heart is important to understand but purity of the body is just as important. The love of Jesus is why we strive so hard to prepare a pleasing heart; we want to offer him the best of the best, the highest potential of beauty in us. Just the same, our chastity of the body has a purpose, its not just a religious paranoia of divine punishment or whatever else. Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, it is the Father’s vessel of love. As much as our body is a gift to God it is also a gift to our future spouse. It’s necessary to fully understand why we do what we do, otherwise it becomes a burdensome and empty custom that can make us miserable. For instance, We do not suppress the desires of the flesh because they are bad in themselves, we preserve them because they are a gift of love to be actualized after the sacramental blessing of marriage. Or for religious men and women it is a gift they offer to God, in their consecration of the vows, as a sign of that perfect love between Christ and his Church. In a way they are also doing it for love of us.
Remember, we work hard to prepare our heart for Jesus. But how much effort do we usually put into preparing our body for him, how zealous are we to please him with the highest potential of beauty in our body?
WE ARE STRIVING FOR HOLINESS! Holiness is the perfection, through sanctification, of our existence in Christ. Our holiness lies in using the whole of our personhood, body and soul; intellect, will and emotions. If rightly ordered and united in Christ, the entirety of who we are can be pure and holy. We are a selfless gift to God but also to others. Love is our measure of holiness and if we recall, a person cannot love simply by conviction of the mind or heart, he has to act in that love as well. This is why there can be no duality in love, it is not body or soul; it is body and soul.
“[I] love God above all things for his own sake, and [my] neighbor as [myself] for the love of God.” CCC 1822 – This is perfect love.
Prayer is our key to perfect love. Prayer is what will strengthen the souls faculties and the bodies capacities and make them pure. It all begins here! It all begins with our relationship with Jesus.
“Therefore, pray ye!” Matthew 9:38