Suggestions for taking care of body and soul
As Catholics, we are called to respect and protect all human life, particularly the lives of those who are vulnerable. Many of us are feeling called to do more as our culture seems to accept death as the solution to difficult challenges at the very beginning and end of life.
It is essential we take care of our own bodies and souls so we can be there for others, whether they be in our families or in our communities.
Regular daily prayer and receiving the Holy Eucharist at daily Mass are excellent ways to strengthen ourselves spiritually. Here are a few other suggestions for taking care of our bodies and our souls:
- Eucharistic Adorationis a powerful way to grow closer to Jesus and nourish our souls. We are in the midst of a National Eucharistic Revival, an excellent time for establishing a routine of Eucharistic Adoration. Check parish websites and bulletins for adoration times.
- Retreats– We are blessed to have beautiful locations in Vermont where either organized or individual retreats are offered (for example St. Anne’s Shrine in Isle LaMotte, the Monastery of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Westfield, and Our Lady of Ephesus House of Prayer in Jamaica.) Also, keep an eye on the Inland See calendar for diocesan-sponsored retreats for women, men, youth, young adults, and parish staff.
- Catholic Group Studiesbenefit us spiritually, deepen our knowledge of the Catholic faith, and foster fellowship. Here are a few that focus on the sanctity of the human person:
o Into Life: Love Changes Everything (intolifeseries.com) is a beautiful 12-part video series in which the Sisters of Life introduce participants “to new ideas for building a culture of life.” The sisters help us reflect on our own dignity as well as others’, making us better equipped to help pregnant mothers in need. Each session has three parts: View a video, personal reflection, and group discussion. Videos and materials are free and provided online.
o Endow (endowgroups.org) – Rooted in the teachings of Pope St. John Paul II, Endow “seeks to educate women toward a more profound understanding of their God-given dignity.” Topics include the writings of John Paul II and women saints. (Participants purchase their own study guides.)
o Samaritanus bonus (usccb.org/resources/samaritanus-bonus-study-guide) – Participants discuss and reflect on the letter, Samaritanus Bonus, “on the care of persons in the critical and terminal phases of life.” Both the study guide and Samaritanus Bonus are free and available online at the website.
- Walk with Mary– An easy way to combine caring for our bodies as well as our souls is to pray a rosary while out for a daily walk.
- Healthy eating– Seek out resources with a healthy Catholic perspective on food. My daughter introduced me to The Ember Journal (theember.co), a quarterly Catholic women’s magazine (either printed or digital form), focusing on Catholic holistic living. Another example is a book, “The Catholic Table: Finding Joy Where Food and Faith Meet,” by Emily Stimpson Chapman, in which she explores what the Catholic faith teaches us about eating well.
— Eileen Haupt is respect life coordinator for the Diocese of Burlington.
—Originally published in the Summer 2023 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.