Holy Hygiene

By Andrew Kreye

Have you ever thought, “I don’t really need to shower today. I’m just going to get dirty again anyway, so it seems pointless to get washed up right now.”

If this has crossed your mind, you’re not alone.

If it has never crossed your mind and reading that grossed you out a little bit, I want to thank you for your hygiene.

“Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me.” – Psalm 51:3-4

  1. Love Poured Out

“But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.” – John 19:33-34

For the past few years, this verse has stuck out to me. At first because I didn’t know how to understand it, and it seemed to come out of nowhere.

Or maybe I just wasn’t paying attention during Mass.

What does the blood and water mean? Why is it important? And why is it blood and water?

The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life. From then on, it is possible “to be born of water and the Spirit” in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

– CCC 1225

Just as the Hebrews sacrificed an unblemished lamb in Egypt and marked their doors with its blood to save themselves from death, the sinless Lamb of God was sacrificed, and His blood marks the Cross as the door of salvation that saves us from death.

Christ is the Fount of Life; the source of mercy and love, water and blood, that cleanses us and saves us. A source that cannot be contained but gushes forth to reach us.

We cannot enter the door without passing through the water and the blood, Baptism and the Eucharist.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” – 1 Peter 1:3

  1. Divine Mercy

“When I see that the burden is beyond my strength, I do not consider or analyze it or probe into it, but I run like a child to the Heart of Jesus and say only one word to Him: ‘You can do all things.’ And then I keep silent, because I know that Jesus Himself will intervene in the matter, and as for me, instead of tormenting myself, I use that time to love Him.” – Saint Faustina

Are you open to God’s mercy?

Even once you recognize the power of the Lord’s forgiveness, there is a temptation to say, “I’m not worthy to be forgiven.”

Well, no. You aren’t worthy.

No one is. That’s why we call it mercy.

And y’know what’s amazing?

The Lord is “a God gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love and fidelity” (Exodus 34:6).

His mercy is inexhaustible.

If you haven’t done it before, take some time to open your heart to Jesus’ Divine Mercy.

Maybe pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.

Or look up Saint Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy.

  1. Take That, Death

“Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” – 1 Corinthians 15:54-55

The Church is born primarily of Christ’s total self-giving for our salvation, anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and fulfilled on the cross. “The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus.” “For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the ‘wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.’” As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam’s side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead on the cross.

– CCC 766

In His mercy, God gives us an example to follow, Jesus; a way to know Him, the Church; and the hope of salvation through Christ’s victory over death, the Resurrection.

These points may seem redundant, and you may have heard them countless times, but can something as infinite and profound as the Divine Mercy of Jesus be overstated?

Do you ever get tired of hearing someone you love say, “I love you, too”?

The next time you shower, let it remind you that God has washed you through your Baptism.

You might get a little dirty sometimes, but you have already been bathed, so rinse off and keep going, all the way to the Cross.

“Before us great Death stands
Our fate held close within his quiet hands.

When with proud joy we lift Life’s red wine
up to drink deep of the mystic shining cup

And ecstasy through all our being leaps –
Death bows his head and weeps.”

– Death, Rainer Maria Rilke

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