Our bodies matter.
Today we celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This doctrine teaches us that “… when the course of her earthly life was finished, [Mary] was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #966 emphasis added).
As Catholics, we take the body very seriously. We know that human beings are not disembodied spirits trapped in bodies. We proclaim that we are not saved from our bodies but in our bodies. In fact, the sacredness of the body is central to our belief in the sacraments because we know that God is encountered in and through the body. This view of the body is the reason we have all the “smells and bells” that make being Catholic so interesting. The respect we have for the body explains why we sit, stand, kneel, sing, process, hug, kiss, splash ourselves with water, eat, drink, and all the other “bodily” things we do at liturgy.
In our spiritual lives, our bodies are not something we leave behind but they are transformed and redeemed. This fundamental belief in the gift of our bodies is also integral to our Catholic teaching on sexual morality. It is the root of much of the conflict between the cultural view of sexuality and our church’s teaching.
Recently, the state of Wisconsin enacted a law that will affect the way human sexuality is taught in our schools. You can find out more about this issue from our Wisconsin Bishops at:
http://www.wisconsincatholic.org/ and click the link:
Our bodies are great gifts from God. As we celebrate this feast of Mary’s Assumption, may we come to a deeper appreciation of the gift that our bodies are.