“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10
St. Irenaeus was an early Christian (think 125 AD!) who had direct contact with the contemporaries of the Apostles. He was highly educated and eventually became the Bishop of Lyons (modern-day France) where he wrote prolifically. In his “Adversus Haereses” or “Against Heresies,” he set forth many of the principles that the Christian faith is based upon today. One of his most profound quotes from this work is,
“The glory of God is man fully alive.”
While everyday life now is obviously different than the first century of Christianity, St. Irenaeus speaks to those of us who are denying our own purpose, ignoring our own health, and focusing solely on the needs of others.
God wants us to LIVE. He gave us this beautiful gift of human life, resplendent in its mysteries and magic that we see so readily as children. He delights in our delight with His creation. A golden sunrise, a frost-etched leaf, a baby’s smooth cheek – He gives us wonders to discover and enjoy.
And that same Creator has given us these incredibly intricate and wondrous bodies, delicate and resilient at the same time. Just as He wants us to enjoy His beautiful creations in nature, He means for us to use, enjoy, and take care of our personal creation – our own bodies. Although we are made perfect and in the image of God, the material world in which we live can affect our health and physical appearance, placing barriers between us and the life God is giving us.
To be fully alive is to use your body, God’s creation, to its fullest potential. Each breach, each movement is a prayer of thanks for the vessel we are given.