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Made in God's Image View Comments
By Kate Wicker

Many people obsess over their bodies, while others don’t take their health into account at all. Find middle ground. Recognize that your body is a gift and treat it with respect.
A FRIEND OF MINE told me recently that her sister exercises for one reason only: she knows her body is a gift from God, and she wants to show her gratitude by taking care of it. Sounds simple enough, right? But how many of us view our bodies, as well as how we treat them, with God in mind?

When I was in the grips of my eating disorder, I exercised compulsively, not because I desired health or wished to honor God, but only because I wanted to be thinner. Eating was not about fueling my body. It was about control. Micromanaging how much or how little I ate made me feel more powerful. I couldn’t make others love me, but I could make myself thinner.

It took several years of treatment and a lot of prayer for me to break free from disordered eating and a poor body image. Thankfully, nowadays when I break a sweat or reach for whole grains and veggies instead of processed food, it’s because I want to show appreciation for the body with which God has blessed me.

I also want to be healthy and strong so I’m better equipped to carry out God’s will for me, which, as a mother, includes the often exhausting work of taking care of four small and energetic children. My husband exercises and eats well so he has the stamina to work long hours to provide for our growing family.

We exercise and eat properly because that’s what we need to do to live healthy lives. But not everybody shares this kind of lifestyle.

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Kate Wicker is a wife, mother of four, freelance writer, and author of Weightless: Making Peace with Your Body (Servant Books). Learn more about her at katewicker.com.

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John Paul II: “Open wide the doors to Christ,” urged John Paul II during the homily at the Mass when he was installed as pope in 1978. <br /><br />Born in Wadowice, Poland, Karol Jozef Wojtyla had lost his mother, father and older brother before his 21st birthday. Karol’s promising academic career at Krakow’s Jagiellonian University was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. While working in a quarry and a chemical factory, he enrolled in an “underground” seminary in Kraków. Ordained in 1946, he was immediately sent to Rome where he earned a doctorate in theology. <br /><br />Back in Poland, a short assignment as assistant pastor in a rural parish preceded his very fruitful chaplaincy for university students. Soon he earned a doctorate in philosophy and began teaching that subject at Poland’s University of Lublin. <br /><br />Communist officials allowed him to be appointed auxiliary bishop of Kraków in 1958, considering him a relatively harmless intellectual. They could not have been more wrong! <br /><br />He attended all four sessions of Vatican II and contributed especially to its <em>Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World</em>. Appointed as archbishop of Kraków in 1964, he was named a cardinal three years later. <br /><br />Elected pope in October 1978, he took the name of his short-lived, immediate predecessor. Pope John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. In time, he made pastoral visits to 124 countries, including several with small Christian populations. <br /><br />He promoted ecumenical and interfaith initiatives, especially the 1986 Day of Prayer for World Peace in Assisi. He visited Rome’s Main Synagogue and the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he also established diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Israel. He improved Catholic-Muslim relations and in 2001 visited a mosque in Damascus, Syria. <br /><br />The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a key event in John Paul’s ministry, was marked by special celebrations in Rome and elsewhere for Catholics and other Christians. Relations with the Orthodox Churches improved considerably during his ministry as pope. <br /><br />“Christ is the center of the universe and of human history” was the opening line of his 1979 encyclical, <em>Redeemer of the Human Race</em>. In 1995, he described himself to the United Nations General Assembly as “a witness to hope.” <br /><br />His 1979 visit to Poland encouraged the growth of the Solidarity movement there and the collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe 10 years later. He began World Youth Day and traveled to several countries for those celebrations. He very much wanted to visit China and the Soviet Union but the governments in those countries prevented that. <br /><br />One of the most well-remembered photos of his pontificate was his one-on-one conversation in 1983 with Mehmet Ali Agca, who had attempted to assassinate him two years earlier. <br /><br />In his 27 years of papal ministry, John Paul II wrote 14 encyclicals and five books, canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 people. <br /><br />In the last years of his life, he suffered from Parkinson’s disease and was forced to cut back on some of his activities. <br /><br />Pope Benedict XVI beatified John Paul II in 2011, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. American Catholic Blog Lord, may I have balance and measure in everything—except in Love. —St. Josemaría Escrivá

 
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