The Spiritual Hug

Jan 15, 2020

There is a picture from an article called the “Rescuing Hug”.  The picture shows two just born twins together in an incubator.  The article details the first week of their lives.  Apparently, they were in separate incubators as one was not expected to live.  A hospital nurse fought against the hospital rules and placed the babies together in one incubator.  When they were placed together, the healthier of the two threw an arm over her sister in an endearing embrace.  The smaller baby’s heart stabilized and her temperature rose to normal.

Research shows that a simple hug triggers the release of oxytocin, the love hormone, which can reduce emotional and physical pain by 64%.  A 20 second hug a day reduces stress and blood pressure.  A 10 second hug helps fight infection, boosts your immune system and fights fatigue and depression.  It benefits the person doing the hugging as well as the person being hugged.  The message is “hug as much as you can.”

Catholic writer, Michael Leach, points out that St. Paul asked Christians to “greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss” (Thessalonians 5:26).  A holy kiss is synonymous with a hug today.  The kiss of peace at mass comes from that ancient tradition.  Leach concludes that a spiritual hug is an outward sign of an inward grace.  It expresses our spiritual oneness with God and each other.  How beautiful is that?

Fr. Joseph Girzone says a hug is as natural as praying and it is healing too!  When Jesus embraced cripples they walked again and the lepers he touched were healed of the disease.  His spiritual hug was full of His compassion and love.

An old saying goes “A Hug is a universal medicine.  It is how we handshake from the heart.”

Won’t you be a spiritual hugger like Jesus?

Jeanne Leonardi

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