It doesn’t take a doctoral degree to understand the poor health of our nation. Most can cite the rising incidence of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, let alone those we know affected by cancer and stroke. Yet, St. Mother Theresa of Kolkata, in her pure and holy wisdom, diagnosed the chief cause in 1975: spiritual poverty.
“You, in the West, have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness. They feel unloved and unwanted. These people are not hungry in the physical sense, but they are in another way. They know they need something more than money, yet they don’t know what it is.
“What they are missing, really, is a living relationship with God.”
Can you imagine? A simple woman living amongst the outcasts of society and the deathly ill for over 50 years. Sum up every cry she has heard, every wound she has touched, and every illness she has nursed and it still doesn’t even touch the sickness of our souls in the Western world. She once said, “It was easier to deal with poverty and death in India than the lack of spirituality in America.”
I have no doubt most of you here are working towards a fitness or health goal- awesome! Keep it up! Always remember our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit and we are made to glorify God in our bodies (1 Cor 6: 19-20). Being physically fit gives us the energy to work, to care for our family and friends, and to share the Good News with vigor.
So my question for you becomes: How much do you work out your soul? Not that this can be quantified by time or reps, but how is your living relationship with God? Have you stretched yourself to remain devoted to prayer, Eucharistic adoration, daily mass, confession, or a bible study? Spiritual fitness requires daily training even more than diet and exercise demand of us.
The fruits of being physically fit are obvious: health, energy, confidence, and must I say appearance. The fruits of being spiritually fit are a bit more elusive. Yet I would argue they are infinitely more desirable than we care to admit: happiness, hope, mercy, love, purity, obedience, and peace to name just a few. Our souls are made to be refined like gold by fire, taking “feel the burn” to a whole new level (1 Peter 1:7). For the true journey we are on, my friends, is to be fit for heaven.
Lisa Marino, PT, DPT