Many of us would sooner eat a kale smoothie than go to Confession.
Why? Because we value physical health, the kind of health that everyone can see, over spiritual health, which often involves admitting we did something wrong and need to change our habits or attitude.
It seems like more and more people on social media are fitness coaches but uninterested in sharing their faith or even say “God bless you” to a sneezer. Pinterest is full of workouts for any age and any stage, but we don’t often take special attention to spiritual development for every stage of life.
We have gym memberships and home gyms, but rarely a special prayer place in our own home. We use charts and calculations for our physical health, but we don’t often set goals for a spiritual routine. We try Whole30, paleo, Nurtisystem, and any other radical dietary trend. We’re willing to drink kale instead of caffeine.
Taking care of your body is vitally important, but when will we take the same consideration for our souls?
When we detox our bodies, we put ourselves on a special diet and carefully monitor three basic things:
There are many more toxins attacking your soul than your body, and just like your body, it’s not good! The toxins—sinful habits, lack of prayer, inappropriate hobbies—in your soul are so bad for you that they can damage your body, too. If only we could test the state of our soul at the doctor’s office.
So, what do you do to avoid “toxins” of your soul? How do you get rid of them?
Get yourself a “fitness coach” (aka a spiritual director). If you want to lose weight and can’t alone, you find a coach. If you need to talk to someone, you go to a therapist or counselor. If you care about your soul like you should, you’ll see out a spiritual director.
Become accountability partners. We meet fitness goals by teaming up with friends, so ask a friend to help you meet your goals while you help them in return.
Cough it down—Go to confession. The crazy shakes that people drink or the things like apple cider vinegar that people chug are sometimes cringe-worthy, depending on your own personal taste buds. Some people also think that confession is cringe-worthy, but if your mother said you need to swallow that spoonful of supposedly cherry-flavored medicine to end your cough, you’d probably do it for your own good.
Stick to a schedule. Develop a routine of prayer for your day. Try setting aside an hour in the morning or fifteen minutes alone before each meal. Mix it up and see what’s best!
Keep it clean. What you read, watch, listen to, and do all affects your soul. Watch what you are exposing yourself to. Be prudent and persistent, just like someone following a detox plan.
Let your life change. You might be used to avoiding spiritual reflection. You might not want to face it. But, it’s worth it. Push through it, and be honest with yourself!
When you see yourself focusing on your appearance more than your internal soul, remember that one affects the other. When you can’t sleep because you’re up all night thinking of something you’ve done wrong, your body shows it. When you are stressed, you might overeat or you might be overeating to cover up something you want to ignore sticking to your soul.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the body and soul are intertwined:
364 The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:
Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.
365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.
Take care of yourself—body and soul.
Spiritual Detox “Recipe”
Monthly confession with penance
Heaps of fresh air and exercise
Fasting from temptation
100% pure thoughts
Unending unconditional Love
Splashes of singing
A dash of dancing from joy
Spiritual direction or reliable friend (optional)
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