There is so much emphasis today on taking care of the body. I just read a statistic from STATISTIC BRAIN that says Americans spend about 24 BILLION dollars on annual gym and health club memberships each year. That is a lot of money! People go to health food stores and shop for healthy products. This is quite commendable. The body is a very special gift that God has given to us and we should take good care of it. What I find disturbing is that people are often very concerned with the physical body and forget about the true wholeness of who we are. We, as a person, consist of so much more than just the physical body. We have a mind that needs to be taken care of, and a spiritual side that needs to also be cared for. Unless we properly feed and exercise all three parts of our person, we will suffer. I would like to take a look at the body, mind and the spirit and how we can help them to grow healthy. I see three main things to consider: Intake, Avoidance and Exercise. I will look at all of these in relation to the body, the mind and the spirit.
BODY – The body is a wonderful creation. It gives us mobility, sight, hearing, touch, sex and reproduction and the ability to experience so much in God’s creation. Anyone who studies the body quickly realizes that it is a complex mechanism. God knew what He was doing when He created our body. It is up to us to keep the body what it is meant to be. In order to do that, we need to consider three main things:
1 – Intake: The foods and drinks that we take in should be healthy for us. We really should be eating whole grain foods, and lots of fruits and vegetables and nuts. There is a lot to be said for true organic foods as well as healthy meats. Our body also needs a great deal of water. Water not only replenishes the body but also helps to remove toxins.
2 – Avoidance: Fast foods, processed foods, “recreational” drugs, soda. Red meats should be kept at a minimum and only healthy oils such as Olive and Canola oils should be used. It is also good to keep alcoholic beverage to low or moderate use.
3 – Exercise: Walking, running, swimming and aerobic exercises are very important. Weight lifting is also a positive thing to do.
MIND – There is a saying that “the mind is a terrible thing to waste”. This slogan was adopted by the United Negro College Fund in 1972. It was actually one of the most successful campaigns in television history. The saying is so true. Our mind needs to be educated and stimulated. There is no doubt that the mind/brain is very complex. It, like the body, needs sustenance, avoidance and exercise.
1 – Intake: The brain/mind is made to take in as much information as possible. For me that means reading good books and studying various subjects. I take many various courses, both online and in person. I also read many different types of books and I love researching things on the internet.
2 – Avoidance: Pornography is a very serious assault on what the mind is meant to do. Spending time mesmerized in front of the television is also counterproductive.
3 – Exercise: When you are reading you are definitely exercising the brain. When you study for courses you are exercising the brain. When you just take time to think, you are exercising the brain. Things like cross word puzzles are great too.
SPIRIT – The “thing” that gives us our personhood is the Spirit or Soul. This is the most precious gift of all. With that we are like God in that we will live forever. The Spirit is ultimately what is in charge of the body and the mind. It works along with the mind to bring us thoughts and reason. It lifts us up to far above the ordinary. This Spirit needs Intake, Avoidance and Exercise too.
1 – Intake: There is no doubt that graces are given to our Spirit by the sacraments of the Church. Baptism starts the journey and the Holy Eucharist is food for the Spirit. Confirmation strengthens the work of the Spirit within us and gives us many gifts. The Sacrament of Reconciliation can lift the Spirit out of the difficulties that sin causes us. Holy Orders and Matrimony empower our Spirit to work in the vocation that God calls us to. Even the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick heals the Spirit as it heals the body. For me, the reception of the Eucharist each day is my daily bread that enlivens my Spirit. The sacrifice of the mass, and participating in it, again lifts our Spirit. The pondering of God’s Word in the Bible feeds the Spirit.
2 – Avoidance: We must stay away from the occult, even things such as Ouija boards. We must stay away from all the temptations of the Devil.
3 – Exercise: We should make ourselves available to all of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We should read and pray the bible. We should spend a considerable amount of time each day in prayer. Specialized prayers such as the rosary and divine mercy chaplet are great forms of spiritual exercise. The Church’s Liturgy of the Hours is a fantastic way to pray. I always recommend that people find a Spiritual Director.
In conclusion, we must remember that the Body, Mind and Spirit are all so interconnected that failure to take care of any one of them may harm the whole person that we are. Because of this interconnection, some things that I mentioned in one subject will actually help not only in that subject but in others as well. We are one unbelievable miracle and creation of God. We must take care of who we are.
Romans 12: 1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.