Physical Faith – Corups Christi

Physical Faith – Do You Live in a Material World?

We’re at the end of the fifth month our parish program to strengthen our parish spiritual life – One Book One Parish. If you haven’t been participating in the program as of yet, there is Material-Girl-Music-Video-music-videos-20935163-1430-783still time. There are copies of the book Seven Keys to Spiritual Wellness in the rectory that you can pick up.

The challenge has been for everyone to read one chapter per month and spend some time reflecting upon the contents of the chapter in some manner.(View the Challnege of the Month at this link

For me, I was somewhat shocked when I read this month’s chapter and saw a reference to Madonna and her 1984 hit song Material Girl. There are really two things I remember about the song from growing up in the 80s. The first was the Marilyn-Monroe-inspired music video Madonna produced which was in a state of constant repeat on MTV. (The video can be viewed below) The second was the disapproving looks my mother gave me when images and music of Madonna came on. She did not approve of Madona’s tantalizing secularism.

So, yes, with Madonna’s seductive tone, it was a surprise for me to find her referenced in a book on spiritual wellness (page 46). I began to hum “We’re living in a material world and I am a material girl,” and at the same time wonder, “What’s going on here?”
The point that the author, Joe Paprocki, makes is salient – our faith is about material things, things we can touch and feel through our bodies. That is why Catholic churches are adorned with statues, and stained glass windows, and books, and flowers, and vestments, and… the Eucharist.

TherPhoto of 7 keys to spiritual wellnesse are some spiritualities that dwell on the ephemeral and invite practitioners to remain focused on imaginary realms, but not Catholicism. Jesus’ instructions are constantly grounded in the physical. We are called to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty. We worry about people having shelter and clothing. It’s not enough to say we love our neighbor; we have to enact that love in 3D.
And the pinnacle of our “focus on the physical” is celebrated this weekend – The Feast of Corpus Christi which translated into English means “Feast of the Body of Christ.” While we celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, during this celebration, we take time to recall what the Eucharist is all about. Jesus’s spiritual nourishment does not require mental gymnastics or an advanced degree in theology. It is right here in front of us. We touch it. We taste it. It becomes physically part of who we are. If we aren’t at Mass to receive it, we don’t get it (unless someone is commissioned to bring it to us). We can’t just sit in the privacy of our own room and discover God by meditating while listening to isochronic harmonies. Our faith is rooted in our bodies, and it is experienced together as we become and are the Body of Christ for the world.

Of course, there is a danger lurking in attachment to physical things which is probably why my mother and Madonna weren’t on the best of terms. The danger lurks around our insecurity, which manifests itself through greed and holding on to things, but our faith remedies this by calling on us to use the physical (our bodies, our possessions, our money, our things) as the instruments through which we show love to one another. Jesus did. He gave us his very body. We celebrate that gift this weekend as we recall the words of Saint Teresa of Avila – “Christ has no body now but yours.”

-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

Closing note: There won’t be a “Challenge of the Month” for June or July for One Book One Parish. We’ll pick up the challenge again in August. If you’ve missed a few challenges, use these months to catch up, especially with the last challenge which was to have dinner with another parishioner and talk about the fourth chapter. Find out more at



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