By Father Eugene Hemrick | Catholic News Service

Leonardo da Vinci was a genus in understanding the human body. For hours on end, he studied cadavers to learn the intricate functions of the body. Today his drawings are still a marvel to behold.

When I was in campus ministry, the biology building was next to my building. There I would see students who were aspiring to be doctors in the gross anatomy laboratory mirroring da Vinci's desire to probe the workings of the body.

No doubt the more the mysteries of the body are explored, the greater the fascination with and awe there are for it.

Recently I had a funeral in a parish where I served for 20 years. It had been years since being back there and seeing friends I had known. As I visited with them, I felt somewhat depressed. Many had aged and weren't the same as I knew them.

As I left the parish, I could hear Peggy Lee singing, "Is that all there is?" No matter our efforts to stay young and spry, time takes its toll and this wonderful body deteriorates.

It just happened that at the time of my disillusion about our body, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi Sunday) was about to be celebrated. It ended up cheering my heart and erasing my disenchantment.

A spiritual writer once wrote, "We must wonder what it was like when God first thought of us and we became." Here we are reminded that our body came from the mind of God and is a heavenly gift.

Furthermore, Christ became incarnate and thought enough of us to take on our body and walk among us in it. He then rose from the dead, converting our mundane body into a glorified body. This realization reminds us we are temples of the Holy Spirit and lifts our earthly thoughts into the realm of the heavenly.

I often wonder how much better our world would be if we took to heart this heavenly reminder. We can study all the magnificent minds that have elaborated on the principles of dignity, but nothing is more powerful in increasing our dignity than remembering we are temples of the Holy Spirit.