A very common misunderstanding is that your body is a shell and only your spirit will live on forever.
It can be tempting to view our body as only a vehicle for our soul, something that is a “necessary evil.” This false belief can be found throughout history and is still prevalent today.
Unfortunately, it can have a negative impact on the way we live our lives and is a philosophy that runs directly counter to the Catholic Church’s teachings.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states that both body and soul have great dignity and are meant to be united.
The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit: Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.CCC 364
Resurrection of the body
It is important to note that Catholics believe in the resurrection of the body. This means that after our death, we will eventually be reunited with our body for all eternity.
In death, the separation of the soul from the body, the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the power of Jesus’ Resurrection.CCC 997
Death is something unnatural, as it separates what should be united. This is one of the reasons why Jesus’ resurrection was called “good news.” It meant that no longer would our souls be isolated from our bodies, but that at the end of time they will be reunited for all eternity.
How this belief impacts our everyday lives
If we think of our body as only a shell, then we can do whatever we want with it! Our health does not matter, nor does it matter if we sin with our body.
However, Catholics believe that our body has great dignity, and that what we do with our bodies also affects our soul.
We are not mere animals, who are not bound by any moral laws. We are children of God, destined for eternal bliss with our Heavenly Father.
May we live as children of a loving Father, treating our body with care, knowing that it will be with us (in a glorified state) for all eternity.