July 6th we celebrated St. Maria Goretti and the liturgy brought back pleasant memories of the visit of her relics to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception last November.
The readings of the liturgy were especially appropriate for the wonderful witness that this young girl continues to give to the faithful. 1 Corinthians says "glorify the Lord with your body" and this is exactly what Maria did. Even as a young woman, hardly more than a child, she had the great wisdom to understand that her body was a sacred temple which was meant to glorify the Lord.
Her example is nothing short of critical for our society today because the vast majority of us have forgotten the essential truth expressed in those simple words, "glorify the Lord with your body". Sadly, instead it is the body that is glorified and exalted. The modern glorification of the body is a direct rejection of the truth that God has revealed to us.
All of us are effected by the messages of our culture and we face the daily challenge of filtering all of these influences through the lense of Christ. We should be conscious of our physical appearance, our health and the condition of our bodies but we must also be careful to do so according to the Christian message. When a healthy and attractive body becomes our ultimate goal then it becomes an empty shell. When we remember that the body is a vessel of the Holy Spirit then we seek physical health with the proper balance.
May St. Maria Goretti remind us to always seek this proper balance and to trust in the Lord's mercy when we fail.