Are you out of shape physically, or are you out of shape spiritually? Maybe both? Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield argues that the two go hand in hand, and the processes we use to increase our fitness in one area carries over to the other as well. He recently joined Morning Air to talk about his new book, Running for a Higher Purpose: 8 Steps to Spiritual and Physical Fitness.
“There is a close connection between body and soul; that’s part of our theology. And that’s very different from the philosophy of the ancient Greeks who basically saw the body as kind of a shell, that you used your body and then when you died you discarded your body,” explained Bishop Paprocki.
He pointed to the Apostles’ Creed in which we state our belief in the resurrection of the body. That’s not just Jesus’ Resurrection, but ours as well. In the Resurrection of our Lord, “He showed us His glorified body as a promise of what our glorified bodies would look like when we rise from the dead.”
Because our physical body will be reunited with our souls after death, Bishop Paprocki makes the point that it’s important to take care of our body during our life on earth just as we care for our souls.
If you’ve ever run a marathon, you know that mental training is just as important as physical training. In the same way, the endurance of your mind to keep pushing through is vitally important to spiritual wellbeing and growth.
The practices that help us to be successful in physical fitness can help us to be successful in our spiritual life. Both take resolve, fortitude, and repetition. Bishop Paprocki gives the example of ‘rest days’ in marathon training—occasional days on which you take a break and give the body a chance to recuperate. Similarly, we have special days of celebration in the midst of seasons of preparation, fasting, and prayer (Gaudete Sunday or Laetare Sunday, for example).
This life is a journey that takes a certain amount of strength of body and soul to make it through.
“May we give greater honor and glory to You by the way we use our bodies and our souls,” prayed Bishop Paprocki. Amen!
Learn more about spiritual and physical training from Bishop Paprocki:
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