The houses where we live

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Have you ever pondered the house you live in? I mean the physical, mental and spiritual house in which you reside. God created our place of abode and furnished everything needed. I am awestruck by God's creativity and foresight. And I remembered St. Paul's declaration to us: "Do you not know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?" (1 Cor 6:19) Considering the range of purposes one's body serves, I found "God's temple" was impressively remarkable.

God has provided everything we need within ourselves. People have minds with which to think, a heart for the spiritual as well as the physical, hands, arms and feet with which to move, and taste buds to enjoy food. And our digestive system is astounding. As I considered the way my body processed food and then disposed of the waste after distributing the various vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutrients where they needed to be, I found the process breathtaking.

Our eyes observe and open and shut without conscious effort or thought from us. God provided us hands and fingers for touching, feeling, holding and accomplishing tasks. Hands and fingers made up of bones and joints that bend without breaking, yet provide stability when needed.

I attended a performance of dancers recently, and I was especially dazzled as I watched. The artists used so many parts of their bodies in their craft. They represented beauty and grace in their performance and also quick rhythmic clogging and tapping. The ability to move feet, legs, hands, arms, and head to fashion a moving portrayal of an intended objective is contained within the dancer's house. Yet before the ballet, Irish dance or any other theatrical form is achieved, the dancer must use yet another part -- his brain -- to recall the moves. All the while ears must hear the music.

Aside from the physical attributes of our bodies, God included an avenue for happiness or sadness through our emotions and thoughts. Included in the building of our temples was God's permission for people to exercise free will either to accept or reject him, or anything else in life.

God even included a covering of skin for our dwelling, made up of blood, muscle and veins, all made of cells. He indeed was the master builder in creating our magnificent home.

People have within them everything needed to live happy and successful lives. One needs only to open the windows and doors of one's abode -- the heart -- and allow God to live there too.

"You, Lord made all the delicate, inner parts of my body. You fabricated them in my mother's womb. I praise you for making me so wonderfully. I marvel at your workmanship. For you were there while I was being formed in seclusion." (Psalm 139)

Ellen Shuck is director of religious education at St. Mary's Cathedral Parish.

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