‘[I]f the dead bodies of Christians are honourable, so doubtless are the living; because they have had their blessedness when living, therefore have they in their sleep. He who does not honour his own body as something holy unto the Lord, may indeed revere the dead, but it is then a mere superstition, not an act of piety. To reverence holy places (right as it is) will not profit a man unless he reverences himself. Consider what it is to be partaker of the Body and Blood of Christ. We pray God, in our Church’s language, that “our sinful bodies may become clean through His body”; and we are promised in Scripture, that our bodies shall be temples of the Holy Ghost. How should we study, then, to cleanse them from all sin, that they may be true members of Christ! We are told that the peril of disease and death attends the unworthy partaking of the Lord’s Supper. Is this wonderful, considering the strange sin of receiving it into a body disgraced by wilful disobedience? All that defiles it, intemperance or other vice, all that is unbecoming, all that is disrespectful to Him who has bought our bodies with a price, must be put aside Hear St Paul’s words, “Christ being raised from the dead, dieth no more… likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin… let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof”. (Rom. vi.9-12). “If the Spirit of Him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His indwelling Spirit… If ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live”. (Rom. viii.11).
Work together with God, therefore, my brethren, in this work of your redemption. While He feeds you, prepare for the heavenly feast; “discern the Lord’s body” when it is placed before you, and suitably treasure it afterwards. Lay up year by year this seed of life within you, believing it will one day bear fruit. “Believe that ye receive it, and ye shall have it”. (Mark xi.24). Glorious, indeed, will be the spring time of the Resurrection, when all that seemed dry and withered will bud forth and blossom’.
from Sermon XXI, ‘The Resurrection of the Body’, by Blessed John Henry Newman, 1801-1890
Fr Lee Kenyon