Listen to your body

Sicknesses are our bodies’ way of shouting at us that something is already very wrong.

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Last Wednesday night, I caught a fever. My fever lasted until Friday morning that’s why I wasn’t able to post last Friday. (Excuses, excuses.)

Whenever I have a fever, even a mild one, my temperature is always at the range of 38.5 to 39 degrees Celsius that I can feel the heat in my eyes. It also feels like the back of my head wants to break away from the rest of my head.

Whenever I have a fever, I really cannot do much but lie down and rest.

I do not take any medicine when I am sick because I believe that our bodies have what it takes to heal itself. (This is called antibodies. Nah, just kidding. I think it takes more than just our antibodies to fight diseases. Or, do they?) But, I take a lot of fluids to flush out any toxins and eat a lot of fruits to give my body the vitamins that can support it in healing itself.

The downside of this is that I do not get the temporary relief that paracetamols give every four hours. When I used to take paracetamol, my temperature would go down for a while giving me relief from my headache.

Because of my headache, I just take some time off my busyness and listen to my body.

Sicknesses are our bodies’ way of shouting at us that something is already very wrong. When we don’t regularly listen to our bodies by ignoring early signs of diseases or by not eating healthy food, not exercising, or not getting enough sleep, they shout.

When I am sick, I have no choice but to listen to my body. I am already in pain so I really need to figure out how to make the pain go away. I ask myself why I got sick. Maybe I caught a virus or I have an infection. Then, I go deeper. Maybe I caught a virus or an infection that my body had a hard time fighting because my immune system was weak. Maybe I am not eating right. Maybe I am not sleeping enough. Maybe I am not exercising enough. Maybe I am overworked or stressed out. (Or maybe I am overthinking... like always.)

When we listen to our bodies, we do just not look for ways to alleviate our pain now. We also look for ways on how we can avoid pain in the future by strengthening our immune system by eating healthier, sleeping better, exercising more, and dealing with stress better.

When I am sick, I also take the opportunity to listen to my soul. I may be overworked because I am working too hard for material things, for things that are not really necessary like gadgets or video games. (Nooooo!) Maybe I am working too hard not just because I want to provide for my family, but also to show others that I am finally making it in my career after years of struggling. Or maybe I am sick because of hopelessness or despair.

A joyful heart is the health of the body, but a depressed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)

Finally, when I am sick, I take the time and opportunity to pray, to listen to what God has to say. I ask Him why He allowed me to get sick. In a podcast that I listened to, a priest shared that God has two wills: a divine will and a permissive will. (More on these in a later post.) Getting sick is a permissive will that God allows us to go through so that we can seek Him and listen to Him more.

Sometimes, He allows us to be sick so that we can have the privilege to participate in His passion and suffering. Sometimes, He allows us to be sick so that we can empathize with our brethren who are also sick. Sometimes, He allows us to be sick so that others can find hope, encouragement, and love from our sicknesses, just like how we find love and hope in the passion and resurrection of Jesus. And sometimes, God is just telling us to slow down.

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24)

Don’t get me wrong. You also need to take your medicine. When you have a really high fever, you have to take your medicine. Medicines are a gift to mankind as well.

But sometimes, we must not just kill the symptoms by popping a pill. We also have to listen to the cries of our bodies and souls.

What do you do when you are sick?

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Seek God, find yourself

“Every man who seeks the Kingdom of God finds himself.” — Saint John Paul II

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Some of us travel to places to find themselves.

Some go job-hopping (like I did).

Some try new things, start a business, go on adventures, or meet new people.

But I guess the best way to find yourself, to “soul-search,” is by seeking God.

In God, you find your identity. You are His child and His beloved.

In Him, you find purpose: to love and serve Him and His family.

In Him, your deepest desires are fulfilled: to be loved and to love.

Are you feeling lost right now? Seek God and you will find your way. You will find yourself.

Thomas said to Jesus, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” — John 14:5-6

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In silence

“Every great work, all holiness, is born in silence and recollection.” — St. John Paul II

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Every great work is indeed born in silence. Every life-changing book, every inspiring work of art, every momentous discovery, and even our selfless acts of love like giving, listening, and embracing our loved ones are done in silence.

Yet, with our mobile devices, our gadgets, our social media accounts, our Netflix subscription, our games, we often do not have time for silence.

Listening to audiobooks and podcasts is a productive use of our time, especially during our commutes or while doing our chores. But sometimes, we listen only to escape the silence.

We are no longer comfortable in silence. At night, when everything finally settles down after a long day’s work, when my heart and my mind are finally silent, I often grab my phone and drown the silence with the noise from my emails and sports news.

We need silence to contemplate, to reflect, to discover our hearts’ deepest desires, and to immerse ourselves in the work that we do.

Most importantly, we need silence to hear the voice of God. This when we hear God’s words of love and also His command and commission to love others.

Jesus often draws apart to pray in solitude, on a mountain, preferably at night. He includes all men in his prayer, for he has taken on humanity in his incarnation, and he offers them to the Father when he offers himself. Jesus, the Word who has become flesh, shares by his human prayer in all that "his brethren" experience; he sympathizes with their weaknesses in order to free them. It was for this that the Father sent him. His words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret. — Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph 2602

Do you have time for silence?

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What keeps us from loving

... is our busyness.

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Loving takes time. It takes time to have a talk with your spouse. It takes time to play with your child. It takes time to pray, to listen to God’s voice in the silence. It takes time to help someone in need. It takes time to visit someone who is sick.

Time is the currency of love.

But when we are busy with work, with the urgent, but not important matters, or worst, with games or Netflix, our busyness keeps us from spending time with the important people in our lives.

I’m guilty of being too busy at work lately. But, I have to constantly ask myself, “What am I working for?”

I am working for my small family. I am working, hopefully, to glorify God and love Him more.

But no matter how much I say that I love them by working hard for them, nothing can replace the time that I spend with them.

Why are you busy? For whom are you working?

Spend time with them as well.

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” — Luke 10:40-42

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What you spend your time on

... is your priority.

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I often tell myself that my priorities are God, my family, my personal growth, and loving other people.

Yet, in the course of a day, my “priorities” receive the least amount of my time or none at all.

We cannot claim that something is our priority if we do not spend time on it.

Priority equals time.

What we spend our time on is what we prioritize.

Last Sunday, we also visited our cousin who is a nun. While driving her and two other sisters to our grandmother’s grave, I heard them praying a quick prayer every 15 minutes.

When I am working, I take a 5-minute break after every 25 minutes of working. Yesterday, I tried praying on those 5-minute breaks. It’s a good start to having a consistent prayer time and to building a relationship with God.

If you don’t know what to pray, pray the Lord’s prayer... with your whole heart, your focus, and intellect.

What do you spend your time on?

Pray without ceasing. — 1 Thessalonians 5:17

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