Here’s a Thought for Feb. 1

Holy Redeemer Catholic Church

On Feb. 3, we celebrate the Feast of St. Blaise. Many Catholics and Christians might remember Saint Blaise because of the Blessing of the Throats that takes place on this day. Two blessed candles are held open and pressed against the throat as the blessing is said. St. Blaise’s protection of those with throat troubles apparently comes from a legend that a boy was brought to him who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. The boy was about to die when St. Blaise healed him. True or false, it leads to “Here’s A Thought,” holistic or spiritual health.

Holistic health from a Christian viewpoint emphasizes the importance of the whole person and the interdependence of different aspects of the person – physical, emotional, spiritual. Holistic health sees a person not only as an isolated individual, but as someone living in relationship with God, other people and the whole of creation. Holistic health addresses many concerns, including individual physical, emotional and spiritual health and our surroundings.

Jesus ministered to the whole individual. He healed people physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially. Jesus was concerned about the whole of creation. Jesus was not the only one to consider creation as a whole. Paul revealed his view of the interconnectedness of humanity and creation in the book of Romans: We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23)

Spiritual health is an important component of an individual’s well-being and an integral aspect of the holistic health philosophy. Physical, mental and spiritual healths are deeply intertwined and have a profound effect on one another. This is clearly seen when someone who is sad on the emotional level experiences fatigue, a loss of energy and/or decreased appetite on the physical level, and on the spiritual level they feel out of touch with their true self and disconnected from their surroundings. Or when spiritually we feel lost and unbalanced, this may cause us to be moody and discontent with life, perhaps we grow emotionally distant from our loved ones and on the physical level we may experience stress or fatigue.

On the other hand, when we feel spiritually connected and fulfilled, everything in our life including physical and emotional pain, are easier to deal with. We feel lighter and happier. There’s no denying it – when we feel connected and balanced spiritually we feel better physically and emotionally. Nourishing our spiritual self is as important as food, water and exercise.

As Christians concerned with holistic health, we draw on understandings of health in the Bible. In the Hebrew tradition, a human being is a living unity of body and soul. When persons were in right relationship with God, they were in a state of shalom (health-wholeness-peace). In the Christian Greek tradition, persons who were whole had salvation. Salvation was viewed not just as a spiritual state, or a physical state but in its whole context.

Our spiritual health is as important as our physical and emotional; we are a whole being and need to apply a holistic approach to our health. As we know the benefits of exercise and a good diet for a healthy physical being, and rest and good relationship for a healthy emotional being; we also need meditation, pray and resting with our God to have a healthy spiritual being. We are interconnected in mind, heart and soul. As we spend our time in churches, hospitals, schools, gyms, or on vacation for better health; may we find our whole being healthier and richer in the sight of God, others and self.