“You see, the body is not a single member, but several”

1 Corinthians 12:14

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

In this section of his letter to the Church in Corinth, Paul offers a reflection on how the different parts of the body are all necessary for the body to function. He applies it to the structure of the Church. He wants the Corinthians to appreciate how all should complement and respect each other.

Paul invites us to pay attention to the resources around us. He believes that if we are sensitive and conscious of them, we would realise the potential that lies with us corporately. Paul believes that there will be a resurgence in the Church if everyone participated and did their part.

Paul’s analogy can also apply to our lives. We are made up of different parts or dimensions. We are physical beings, intellectual beings, emotional beings and spiritual beings. When we give one area more attention or value, we too may not realise our full potential. More damaging, we might begin to live what is called a ‘split-spirituality’. This means that we do not acknowledge that our spiritual selves cannot be isolated from our physical, intellectual or emotional selves or vice versa. We will find balance and equilibrium if all our dimensions and each one’s distinctive (yet interconnected) role is acknowledged and given appropriate attention. The whole body has to work together.

The challenge and invitation are not only to acknowledge the different parts of ourselves but see them all as God’s gift to us. We live in a culture in which we are subtlety told that intellect is more important than emotion or that the spiritual is more important than the physical self. This is untrue and unhelpful. God created us in all our dimensions.

Take some time today to ask yourself if you, in Paul’s words, are tempted to think the eye doesn’t need the hand, or the head doesn’t need the feet? In other words, what parts of yourself are you less willing to acknowledge? Which parts of yourself do you find more acceptable? We are invited to see all our dimensions as gifts from God.

Lord God,
I am a physical, intellectual, spiritual and emotional being. You have gifted me with different and beautiful dimensions. Help me to see myself and others not as one dimensional. Help me accept, own and live from my whole self, your gift to me.

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ

Fr Russell Pollitt SJ is the Director of the Jesuit Institute and is interested in the impact that communications technology has on society and spirituality. He regularly comments on South African Politics and various issues in the Catholic Church.

director@jesuitinstitute.org.za @rpollittsj
See more from Russell Pollitt SJ
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