Show me a Catholic who doesn’t exercise and I’ll show you a person who wished they lived life more fully integrated with a strong and stable connection in body and soul.
Because of the intricate fusion of such, we have not only the right but this duty by which to glorify God with our flesh.
The body, therefore, must necessarily make opportunities to glorify its Maker: “For you are bought with a great price, therefore, glorify God in your body.” 1Cor. 6:20
The body is good, and while we seem to understand this in light of procreation, postures aiding prayer, and service to others, why are so many Catholics still incredibly unhealthy in their flesh?
Why do most want beautiful souls, yet leave their body to drag, drag, drag them down letting everyone perceive they’re disconnected at deeper levels?
We must use sport and physical fitness to subdue our unruly flesh which is apt to cater to our lowest nature. If we can do the next hard thing and the next right thing at a meal or on the track, maybe we can do it in the face of present or future temptations and persecutions.
We have to build the muscles of interior character and exterior action. We must fortify the armor and the warrior, according to St. Amma Syncletica.
Most people report being in a better mood if they get fresh air, in stable mental/emotional space if they do physical activities, and in a better position to parent or work positively if they have met these personal needs.
These are the same people who know that getting movement built into their day helps them cope with anxiety, sleep better, and study with more clarity just to name a few key benefits.
Simply understood, to care for one’s self is to care for others. Subscribing to this thinking related to the soul should lend itself to the same realization for a healthy theology of the body.
Building physical strength and stamina will make the spiritually mature person serve with greater fullness, not compromising their gift of self, but sustaining them to be more substantially poured out.
The thirtieth chapter of Sirach reminds us that, “It is better to be poor, but strong and healthy, then to be rich, but in poor health. A sound, healthy body and a cheerful attitude are more valuable than gold and jewels. Nothing can make you richer or give you greater happiness than those two things.”
So, realize that you are a body and a soul and there must be a “holy tension” in your person in order to actually thrive. It’s not life to one, and death to the other. Be alive in Christ and witness to the world that you are an attractive Catholic, attracting others to Truth, body and soul.
Rebecca Dussault trains Catholic women to “find their forward” through a lifestyle of health and holiness at Fit Catholic Mom. Contact her with your interest in being personally trained and follow her efforts @fitcatholicmom on social media.