Into the Deep


“I believe in the resurrection of the body” (part II)

   In a very recent document (April 2nd) from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith approved by Pope Francis, we are reminded that “dignity refers not only to the soul but also to the person as an inseparable unity of body and soul. Accordingly, dignity is also inherent in each person’s body, which participates in its own way in being in imago Dei (in the image of God) and is also called to share in the soul’s glory in the divine beatitude” (Declaration “Dignitas Infinita”, 18). This contrasts radically with the point of view of the philosophies or ideologies, ancient or modern, that we saw last week for which the body is simply a prison, instrument, or ‘clay’ of my true being, which would be my decisions, my feelings, my conscience…

For our faith and worldview, the human being is a unity of body and soul. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body: i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature” (# 365). For this reason, there is no separation between my body and my own being, between what happens to my body and what happens to myself. And this body becomes a temple of the God through baptism: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Cor 6:19).

So what about death? All of us have experienced the loss of an acquaintance or loved one. Most probably we have also seen the lifeless body of someone more or less close to us. What has happened? It is evident that the lifeless, inanimate body is here with us. A body that deserves respect because it has been a temple of God, but a corruptible body experiencing decay. The soul and the body, in a transitory way, as in the case of Jesus Christ in the tomb, are not united. The substance of the person, by the intervention of God, remains in the soul. And that soul is judged immediately after death. But it is not the end of the story…

Our faith is summarized in the Catechism: “The “resurrection of the flesh” (the literal formulation of the Apostles’ Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our “mortal body” will come to life again” (# 990). The model is the resurrection of Christ himself. When? On the last day, at the end of the world or Final Judgment. Who? Everybody: “those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation” (Jn 5:29). Do you want to know more? You can start with the Catechism numbers 988 – 1019.


Fr. Javier Nieva, DCJM


Previous Letters:

April 14, 2024: I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body Part 1
April 7, 2024: Rich in Mercy
March 31, 2024: Sine Dominico Non Possumus About Sunday
February 11, 2024: I Was Ill and You Cared For Me
February 4, 2024: Why Evil?
January 28, 2024: Catholic Schools Week
January 21, 2024: Attachments
January 14, 2024: The LORD Shines
January 7, 2024: Epiphany 2024
December 31, 2023: A Family of Families
December 25, 2023: New Beginnings
December 17, 2023: Christmas
December 3, 2023: Watch
November 26, 2023: Be Healed
November 19, 2023: Sealed
November 12, 2023: Religious?