Meeting God in the body

Daily Reading for February 22 • Eric Liddell, Missionary to China, 1945

Physical exercise is good for the health. But not only that: while it stimulates the desire to care for bodily vigour, it stimulates the same desire for vigour of soul. Exercise is extremely useful therefore, assuming it does not distract us from more important activities.

Some enjoy wrestling, others like to play ball in the sunshine. For some it is enough to go for a walk in the countryside or the city. If they were to wield a spade, however, they would be doing an exercise that is useful even from an economic point of view. The King of Mitylene would grind grain; it was one way, a tiring one, of practicing gymnastics. Other ways would be to draw water or chop wood. Wrestling, it goes without saying, should not simply be a matter of competition, but a way to make you work up a sweat.

In any case, we must always keep a balance: neither doing nothing nor killing ourselves with exhaustion.

From The Teacher by Clement of Alexandria, quoted in Drinking from the Hidden Fountain: A Patristic Breviary, Ancient Wisdom for Today’s World by Thomas Spidlik (Kalamazoo, Mich.: Cistercian Publications, 1993).

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