Shell Games  

Posted by Joe Rawls

Over at Glory to God for All Things, Fr Stephen has a terrific post on our society's schizoid attitude to the body and to physical existence in general. Read the whole thing and see if it fits into your Lenten observances.


An entertainment personality, fresh from various surgeries (augmentations, alterations, etc) recently opined in an interview, "But in the end, this is just a shell". It was a very revealing cultural moment. The body is "just a shell" but worthy of tens of thousands of dollars to alter its appearance. It has been observed that modern man lives his life as a hedonist and dies like a Platonist.

The hedonist believes that life is defined by pleasure (particularly physical pleasure). The Platonist believes that the body and the material world are but passing moments--only the non-physical is real and of value. Among modern Christians this same cultural attitude is too frequently common...

There has long been a bifurcation within some forms of Christianity between "spiritual" and "physical". The use of physical actions, incense, etc (any form of ritual) is immediately dubbed "empty ritual" by some. It's as though the word "ritual" only comes with the modifier "empty". Faith is considered something that has no physical content...

The body is not "just the shell". Properly understood, the human person is both body and soul--neither are the fullness of the person alone. It is in this sense that the Church teaches the necessity of the resurrection of the body. That at death the soul departs from the body is the understanding of the Church. But it also understands that though the soul "is in the hands of God" it enjoys an anticipation of the life to come--rather than the fullness of the life to come. The fullness awaits our fullness--the resurrection of the body.

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 20, 2010 at Saturday, February 20, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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