There is not one who does not love something, but the question is, what to love. The psalms tell us to choose the object of our love. – St. Augustine (354-430)
We all worship something because that’s how we’re made. In fact, we worship many things. It’s just a question of what or whom we worship and what or whom we put first.
Our bodybuilder won’t have to give up his extra-roomy suits any time soon, even if he does choose to worship God. By plugging into the source of all being, creativity, joy, and beauty (which includes his body), our gorgeous friend can have it all.
Bodybuilding as an act of love for God? Sure – why not? God doesn’t need anything from us and asks only that we cultivate a love for him in all the good things that we do, so that we will benefit.
I hope someone told The Bulky One on his way out of church that he doesn’t have to exclude love of any good thing to worship God; he just needs to tweak his priorities!
After reading this weekly passage from Rose, it dawned on me that we all have something of The Bulky One in us. In other words, it is very easy to have significant interests that are in some ways compelling in our lives.
The key questions is “Are these compulsions evil?” My definition if evil is simple – It is something that steers us away from seeing the presence of God in our individual life. The Bulky One may be evil, or maybe not. It depends entirely on how The Bulky One sees and uses his magnificent body. Does he see it as something that satisfies a prideful, pleasure focused ego? Well it could be that. The important question is whether or not his body is something more than that, perhaps being seen by The Bulky One as a treasured gift for which his caring is something of a prayer of thanks.
So now we come to the main point. If The Bulky One is wallowing in prideful, self-satisfying excess, how does he move toward a more holistic and loving life, while still keeping his cherished bulky body?
As Rose points out, it is a matter of priorities, but while that sounds simple, there is a bit more to it. Changing a spiritual orientation from self focused to God focused is usually not easy. There are 2 crucial steps.
1. The first is to come to an intellectual, factual understanding that that there is a potential for a spiritual life, in addition to a purely physical life.
2. The most important step is to make a decision that you want to embrace that spiritual life, even as you are in a complete, confused fog on how to do just that.
The decision is the beginning of re-focusing your life priorities. As that decision comes to life as a deeply felt hope for a positive change, help will arrive. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways. When it begins to happen, you will know it for sure. Patience and a steady intent is all that is required.
I will end with a quote from Dom John Chapman, a 20th century British priest, monk, and biblical scholar who said this about prayer. “Pray as you can and do not try to pray as you can’t. Take yourself as you find yourself; start with that.”
Thank you for your insights, George!