by Fr Duncan McVicar on 28/07/2012 -
Day for Life is the day in the Church’s year dedicated to celebrating and upholding the dignity of human life. The Church teaches that life should be protected and nurtured from conception to natural death – from the “womb to the tomb”. The Theme for this year’s Day for Life is: ‘Use your body for the glory of God.’ (1 Cor 6:20) Our faith celebrates the goodness of the human body (Gen 1:31). It proclaims the marvellous truth that Jesus Christ, ‘the Word’ Himself, ‘was made flesh’ and lived among us (Jn 1:14). Our Christian faith also believes that we are ‘at once body and spirit’ , that our bodies are more than its physical parts. It is through my body that I express myself. It is through my body that I experience the world and others know who I am. It is through my body that I express my love for others and I experience God’s love and the love of others for me. Although I am more than my body, my body is an essential part of who I am. My body is therefore worthy of the utmost care and respect. We respect and care for our bodies not only because they are good in themselves but because they are made holy in our baptism as ‘the temple of the Holy Spirit’ (1 Cor. 6.19) Pope Benedict XVI has urged us to promote what he calls a ‘human ecology’. In recent years we have become aware of the importance of caring for the natural environment. Promoting a ‘human ecology’ means showing even greater care for the human person and the dignity of the body. This invites contemporary society to a serious review of its life-style, which, in many parts of the world, is prone to hedonism and consumerism, regardless of their harmful consequences. This review of our ‘life-style’ challenges the tendency to reduce the person to a commodity, an object to be bought and sold or plundered without reference to our spiritual and moral nature. It frees us from the temptation to judge ourselves against an unrealistic ideal of the ‘perfect body’ or ‘body image’ so often promoted by commercial interests. As Christians therefore we strive forward on the journey of life with confidence that life has a purpose and is always worth living. In striding towards the prize of eternal life we as Christians are strengthened on our way by the most precious food of the Eucharist – our viaticum – a word which means literally, food for the journey. In receiving the Eucharist we are united in the closest way possible to the sufferings of Jesus’ body on the cross and to the wonderful transformation of his body in the glory of the Resurrection. In the Eucharist I am reminded that even when my body is weak or held back by infirmity, it is united to the mystery of Christ’s suffer-ing and can still give glory to God.
Day for Life invites everyone to celebrate the incredible wonder and dignity of their body and ‘to use your body for the glory of God’ (1 Cor 6:19-20).
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