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Heavenly Bodies - a few thoughts on the Resurrection

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Have you ever thought about what heaven would be like?  More to the point, have you ever thought about the sort of body you will have in heaven?

I’ve asked this second question in countless RCIA sessions I’ve led.  Most people (including the cradle Catholics who have come to sponsor the newbies) just stare at me with a blank look on their face and after a period of time say, “We won’t have a body in heaven…will we?”

Heavenly_BodyJesus rose from the dead with a real body (you may recall Jesus ate with the disciples after His resurrection and invited Thomas to put his hands in His wounds) and Jesus ascended into heaven with a real body.  As a matter of Catholic dogma, Mother Mary was assumed into heaven both body and soul.  Then there was Enoch who pleased God so much that he did not experience death, and “he was not found, because God had taken him.” (Gen. 5:18-24 & Heb. 11:5).  So far, by my count, at least three people already have their bodies in heaven.

Then let’s not forget the Creed.  Each and every Sunday we profess together as God’s people, “I believe…in the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting…”

So, I return to the question, “Have you ever thought about the sort of body you will have in heaven?”

The scriptures speak of us having a “glorified” or heavenly body.  In my mind’s eye I can see myself having a Fabio-type body.  You know Fabio?  The guy who donned the covers of so many cheap Harlequin romance novels with that amazing body of his, all angles and planes, not to mention his long oh so slightly curled hair cascading over his chiseled shoulders…

I suppose if I were a woman, a “glorified” body may mean that I would have a shapely hour-glass figure like Marilyn Munroe.

But really…in spite of working out six days a week, I don’t have a Fabio body type and so many women don’t have an hour-glass figure.  Thank goodness, or this world of ours would be awfully boring!

Our God is a Creator God who has richly blessed His creation with such diversity!

We have different colours of skin, hair and eyes.  We come in different shapes and sizes!  Each one of us is unique…

Why would this be any different in eternity!

Think about it!  If God has blessed you with a “pear-shaped” body here on earth, why would you wind up with the coveted “hour-glass” shaped body in heaven?  Just because all the fashion mags have elevated a specific body-type for all to worship (leaving those who don’t share the same body-type feeling a little “less-than”) it doesn’t mean for a micro-second that God sees it this way…

So what does a glorified body look like anyway?  I don’t know!

What I do know is this:

We will look like ourselves. When the disciples first encountered the Risen Christ they were shocked and surprised.  They probably thought they were seeing a ghost or that their minds were playing tricks on them.  After he calmed their fears, they were able to recognize Him for who He is.  We too, will be recognizable.

We will have put on incorruptibility…no inflammatory conditions like eczema…no more MS, no more cancer!  Can I hear someone shout, “Hallelujah, Praise God!”

So between now and our bodily resurrection, let’s love the body God gave us!

Let’s take good care of our body with regular exercise and healthy eating.  Let’s set down the fashion mags and pick up a renewed attitude of gratitude, giving thanks to God for blessing us with our unique singular beauty and grace.

Let’s keep our eyes on eternity knowing that one day we will have heavenly bodies!  Can I hear someone shout, “Hallelujah, Praise God!”

Comments

  • Guest
    Derrick April 29, 2011

    Great post! Like St. Paul says, we're a temple of the Holy Spirit. If our body is good enough for the third person of the Holy Trinity to dwell, it should be good enough for us. We should be proud of and take care of the gift our bodies are. As Catholics, the physical aspects of our faith are so important (Jesus gave us Sacraments for a reason), and your thoughts really hit the mark.

  • Guest
    Terry April 30, 2011

    Nicely put Pat (or should I say Fabio?). I've often told people that I picture my dad playing his heavenly harmonica free of the heart issues and cancer that had him here. When I picture my friend, Pat, who had to have both her legs removed below the knee because of diabetes, I picture her whole again. I've always believe that, because we were created in His image, that's what we'll be - whole. Thank you for reaffirming it for me!

  • Guest
    Lisa April 30, 2011

    Hmmm...very comforting, I needed to read that today. Thank you :)

  • Guest
    JoAnne Chrones May 02, 2011

    I have a great article I printed from the US Catholic magazine years ago called "Heaven, Hell and Purgatory - Where do we go from here?" If anyone is interested in it, I'd be happy to make a copy and pass it along.

  • Guest
    Pat Clarke May 02, 2011

    I'd love to read that article JoAnne, I could use it as an RCIA resource. Would you please send it to me. Pat

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    Patricia Plunkett August 28, 2011

    Great Stuff Paddy.
    See you soon. Trish

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