I believe that one of the hardest passages in the Catholic Bible to live by and teach to our children is verses 19-20 from chapter 6 of the Apostle Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.
The passage is as follows:
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
In my opinion, this passage is one of the hardest to live by, for the old and young, for a few reasons:
- “Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” – Do you feel like your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? I know that most of the time, I don’t. One of the reasons I think this can be hard to understand is because we simply do not interact with temples in the western world. We must remember that in the Old Testament, the Jewish temple contained the holiest of holies. The temple was treated with utmost care, and not just anything or anyone could enter the temple. Do we use the same discretion with our bodies? Do we teach our children to use discretion as well?
- “You are not your own” – In today’s crazy world I bet most of us think that the only thing we own and control is ourselves. But here St. Paul tells us, “Not so fast! You are not your own, you belong to God.” We belong to God! How great is that?! It takes real humility to realize that we either belong to God or to evil. It’s pretty black and white. I, for one, am glad that I belong to God . . . but what exactly does that mean? More on that later.
- “You have been purchased for a price” - Again in today’s world the idea of being ‘purchased’ does not make you feel special. Being ‘purchased’ has a very negative connotation. But in this case it is a great thing, right? Without getting involved in too much nitty-gritty theology talk, let’s just say that what St. Paul is trying to get at is that we basically sold ourselves to evil and sin through the Fall. We willingly gave ourselves over to evil, we put ourselves into slavery, by our own free will. Christ came and brought us out of that into the Light of God. He “paid the price” in a sense. That price being His sacrificial death on the cross.
- “Glorify God in your body” – What does it mean to belong to God? It means that we are to glorify God in our bodies. How do we do that? Well, we simply have to praise God and make God’s glory clear through our actions. I am under the belief that anything not sinful can be made into an action in which we glorify God if we incorporate prayer into it. This can be as obvious as praying before a soccer game with your teammates for sportsmanship, safety, and victory!
You might be asking why I decided to share my reflections on this verse with you. Well, I decided to share because I think that it is one of the most important verses of the Bible that we can share with our children. Our children are bombarded with messages about their body and what they are meant for which simply do not match what St. Paul teaches us in First Corinthians.
How do you speak with your children about how they use their bodies? Do you speak with them at all on the topic? Have you ever reflected on this verse of the Bible?