Body and Soul
Flesh. What is flesh? Organic cells forming bones, muscles, organs, nerves, blood, skin. The flesh of animals, fur covered, which dwell in forests and fields. The flesh of fish, wet and slippery, which swim in oceans, rivers, and lakes. The flesh of reptiles, smooth or coarse, the flesh of birds, feathered and flying, the flesh of insects, amphibians, and every creature that has ever lived or ever will live. Even the trees, grasses, and flowers have flesh, fibrous or petaled, living things that sway in the breezes while rooted in the earth. Flesh is essential to life here. Every living creature dwells within its material existence, unable to have definition, to live in particular space at a particular time, or to relate to oneself or others without flesh.
When God chose to live upon His created Earth, He could not fulfill His will without taking on flesh. God dwells within, throughout, and beyond all of His Creation, but in order to become one of us, His beloved human creatures, He needed cells, bones, muscles, organs, nerves, blood, and skin. The Divine Word — through Whom all things are made — assumed human nature, assumed human flesh.
Humankind has forever been changed by this. We might falsely assume that our lives are solely dependent upon the needs of our flesh, that our time of existence can only be measured by the flesh, but when Jesus died — really, bodily — He rose again in glorified body and ascended into the spiritual realm of Heaven. Human flesh is no longer perishable when glorified. Human life is no longer subject to earthly needs and earthly time when resurrected. God assumed earthly flesh, our flesh, and transforms it into heavenly reality that is dependent only upon infinite mercy and eternal love — dependent only on God.
When we celebrate the great Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, do not assume that this is only a feast day for the mother of Jesus. The Virgin Mary is the Mother of all of the living in Christ. She is the Mother of God — without her, without her willing human heart and her life-giving human flesh, God would not have taken on flesh — and she was taken up by God, body and soul, to live the fullness of the heavenly reality now, without waiting for the end of time. She is wholly and truly who she has always been, she is fully alive in the fullness of her humanity — one person of flesh and spirit — now and without ceasing. When we allow the Holy Spirit to unite Christ’s mind and heart to our minds and hearts, and our minds and hearts to His, then we live in union with Christ. We are one with Christ, and the Mother of God is our Mother too.
We can faithfully assume, then, that the Feast of the Assumption is our Feast too. We celebrate the wonder and beauty of being human — divinely beloved creatures of flesh and spirit — and honor the profound goodness of the human body, of our bodies, created and sanctified by the loving power of God, now and forever.
© 2019 Christina Chase
Photo by Alex Gindin on Unsplash
Christina Chase View All
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.
I believe I see the beginning of a second book!
Or maybe a little taste of the first 🙂
You mean this and the many others like it will soon be “enfleshed”? I’ll be able to hold it, turn the pages, leave loving marks– ink or pencil notes and eventually, after much hand-holding, fingerprints plus smudges– and carry it with me on short trips to the doctor or long visits with grand children far away? Really?
But how long must I await this emanation of your soul in a book-body: a veritable Christina-inbiblation, an assumption of your spirit–
OK, I’ll be patient, with help from accessible previews like this one
which I must have missed, distracted as I often am by too much book-and-poem reading elsewhere along with my obsessive hovering from a difficult distance over grandchildren–but something brought me here just now and I am so pleased, my dear Christina, so pleased that you are always here, always present in cyberspace for me to read and through photographs to sometimes see.
(Please forgive my playful irreverence. You too, Dear Lord. Have mercy.)
I love your description of a real, living book! I will be borrowing some of it for next week’s post. Yes, next week, when you will learn more about what is to come, when my life yearnings and dearest intents will finally become a flesh and blood reality – make that a paper and ink reality. Your answers will come next week, but then you will still need to be patient. ❤