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What it means to be a spiritual Tabernacle


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Scarlett Rose Ford - published on 12/11/23

“You are a Tabernacle.” I’ve heard these words so many times throughout my life, but how can we live in a way that reflects this?
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Every morning, I am awoken by the symphony outside my window: cars honking, construction grinding, police sirens wailing. I hurry to make the 30-minute commute in time for morning Mass. As I enter into the beauty of the Mass, all other sounds dissipate; it is just me and Jesus. But by the time I’ve quietened down the outside world, Mass is over and I am back in it.

“You are a Tabernacle,” the priest said in his homily one morning. I often feel this way in the quiet of Mass, but it’s difficult to carry the feeling outside the church doors; it usually gets left behind in the pew.

Before moving to a city, this feeling of being a Tabernacle was one I carried with ease wherever I went. Life was slower and I was able to enter into the mystery, namely by just having time for myself. I invested this time in self-care, in respecting and honoring the Tabernacle that I am. I was never running from place to place, so busy that I forgot to eat or sleep. After moving to Boston, “self-care” was completely irradiated from my vocabulary.

If someone were to not give the literal Tabernacle the respect it deserves, I would be heartbroken. So why was I okay with disrespecting myself?

Last week, I finally faced my breaking point. As I awoke to the usual screeching harmonies outside my window, I wondered why I felt so drained before I’d even gotten out of bed. In my emptineness, it finally clicked: I was so focused on giving myself to others (work, school, social life, etc.), but I wasn’t including myself in the mix. Total self-giving includes pouring into yourself too — you can’t give what you don’t have.

Investing in yourself requires time. It’s active, not passive, and it is essential in honoring ourselves as Tabernacles. In our modern fast-paced world, it’s increasingly difficult to remember that the Lord is actively dwelling within us, but it’s important to know that no matter how we feel, this is the truth. 

Since having this realization, I’ve been much more intentional in remembering to incorporate self-care in my day. This can be as simple as writing meals into my schedule or going for a midday Rosary walk; even the little things go a long way in respecting ourselves as the dwelling places of the Lord. The more we slow down and take care of ourselves, the more we can prepare ourselves to fully receive God. It is time to become the Tabernacles He made us to be.


This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

Mental HealthThe Human Being Fully Alive
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