A few days ago, I was at the gym. I try to go often to do my routine exercises with the purpose of shedding a few extra pounds. That day, I had arrived an hour later than usual. What a surprise! The gym was full! There were no available machines or space, so I had to wait. While I waited, I started to observe everyone there, including myself. I saw men and women doing exercise repetitions, lifting weights, running, walking, biking; some were with trainers or friends and others by themselves. In that moment, I realized that we are able to maximize all our efforts to achieve a physical appearance. We are capable of depriving ourselves from eating some things that can perhaps harm us. We sacrifice by waking up early or by taking long walks or jogs. We also try all kinds of diets to lose weight.
Observing all this, the parable of the 10 virgins came to my mind. It’s found in St. Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 25. In this parable, there were these virgins who had their lamps prepared to receive their groom. There were also some who were not ready for the arrival of the groom. In this internal dialogue, I reflected on how different the world would be – our earthly life and our eternal life – if we worried about having our spiritual life in the best shape possible. How would it be if we struggled to exercise our spiritual life, doing spiritual routines that would beautify the soul? What if every day we read the word of God, if we took one minute to pray, and if every day we tried to love our neighbor as we love ourselves? What if we stopped “feeding” our souls and spirits with those things that poison us, such as hatred, indifference, immorality, lies, addiction, fear, and avarice?
It is indeed true that there’s nothing wrong with exercising or attempting to keep fit physically to improve our quality of life, but it is also true that we should everyday seek to do the exercises that will guarantee our eternal life. That the day that our loved one comes to find us, we come to encounter him and say to him: “Here I am, Lord, in the best spiritual condition to walk along with you.”
It is beautiful to have a good physical state, but yet still, it’s beautiful to have a healthy and strengthened soul fed by Jesus Christ. When we end our days here on earth, when our bodies have failed us, it is our soul which will transcend to eternal life.
How healthy is your soul?
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Deacon Franklin came to know Christ as a child thanks to his grandfather, Nicasio Mejía. Nicasio introduced Franklin to the spiritual life and the doctrine of the Catholic faith. Because of this, Franklin was a very active member of the Salesian youth groups in his community from a very young age and, as he grew older, he received training to become a youth leader.
Upon arriving in the United States, Franklin worked for the Hispanic Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston organizing sports tournaments, youth leadership training programs, and an outreach ministry dedicated to visiting youth in prison. Deacon Franklin’s passion for evangelization led him to Catholic Television, where he was the host and producer of “Good News.” His desire to evangelize through the media was inspired by Pope John Paul II, who encouraged the Church to use all media to present Christ to others.
Ordained in 2014, Deacon Franklin was assigned to Sacred Hearts Parish in Malden and he continues his work at the Catholic Television Network, Boston in charge of the production of The Holy Mass.
He has been happily married to his wife, Wendy, for 18 years and they are the proud parents of Gabriel Andres, 17 and Isabella María, 13.