Feeding our bodies and our souls

By Kaitlin Klein

Wonderful Adventure

“The human person is a unique composite — a unity of spirit and matter, soul and body, fashioned in the image of God and destined to live forever” (St. John Paul the Great).

We are not simply bodies, nor only souls. Our bodies are important, and our souls are as well because they are united in the unique composite that makes up a human being; the human beings created by God in His image. This is why both food for our bodies and food for our souls are crucial and completely necessary to be healthy beings as the Lord created us to be. It’s pretty obvious that without eating, our bodies would die. But without prayer, our souls will wither and lack the nourishment that allows us to persevere in faith, hope and love, and thrive in what makes life meaningful!

Christians often speak of the need for prayer. I think we speak less about the need to respect, honor and treat our bodies as they deserve, since they are important parts of our lives here on earth, and the Lord intended the body and soul to be together. An easy example of this would be living in chastity; the way we treat our bodies affects our souls. I believe it also extends to simple things, like trying to eat healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep. God’s not trying to make a thriving life difficult: if we’re tired during the day, our bodies are giving us a sign that we may need more sleep. If we’re not feeling our best, are there habits we should break or lifestyle changes we should make?

Aspects of the world God created also try to help us. Before electricity, most work stopped after dusk, and time was spent with family and resting. Today, we can stay up all night with computers, tablets, phones and an unlimited amount of entertainment at our fingertips. I wonder if those who live(d) without constant technology prayed more and spent more time in meaningful human connection. The Lord also instructs us to rest on the Sabbath. He knows we often must work hard six days a week to provide for our families and home. But he says to trust Him, give our time to Him, and focus on rest, family and prayer one day a week. God is wisdom, and he knows what’s best for us!

A Christian’s ultimate goal in life is “to seek [God], to know Him, to love Him with all his strength” (CCC 1). I believe part of this is to acknowledge our lives as great gifts and to nourish our bodies and souls each day.