Obesity is a pandemic in the US. I know from firsthand experience. But, not until recently had I thought God could help me with this problem. After all, my lack of exercise and love for chocolate are all my doing. God is strictly for prayer. Right? Wrong.
Too long have I compartmentalized societal expectations from divine ones. As long as I go to mass on Sundays and go to confession regularly, what does God care if I have a few M&Ms? Reality knocked me over the head in the form of a vocations prayer for a future spouse. “…So that with united efforts and with pure and unselfish love we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body.” (Emphasis is my own.)
The revelations I had were that: 1. It’s a continuous joint effort; 2. It’s within God’s means to assist us; 3. Being the best wife and mother I could someday be is not solely based on the purity of my soul, but conscientiously improving my body as well.
The fact that this revelation came right around the time of New Year’s didn’t hurt either.
I have since related one’s journey to good health to that of a mystic’s. Mysticism is when one’s love for God is so intense, so beyond that of human reasoning, that their desire unites their own soul to that of the Trinity. It is love and contemplation on an exponential scale. If we could find that passion within ourselves to love God, but use fitness, exercise, and healthy food choices as they way of expressing that love, all our goals would be accomplished. However, living the life of a mystic takes courage.
Since our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, we must be aware of how we take care of it. Riddling ourselves with obesity and other co-morbidities such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea affect (the sanctity of) our temples. When we seek food to “feel good”, we commit a sin against God by rejecting divine grace and opting for self-satisfaction instead. We must be courageous to say no to the vices that enslave us.
I used to think that being obese was just the way that I was, and that there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Now I see the sin in each bad food choice I’ve made, the sloth in each missed opportunity to catch a workout, and the holiness in my goal. I feel trapped in my own body and consequently trapped in the consequences of my sin. But by the grace of God, seeing it for what it is has given me the strength to commit to making a change. Because I want to love God so purely and unselfishly that I ceaselessly strive to perfect my soul and body for Him (and for my future spouse).