We are created in the image of God: our body, though our own, is meant to be shared within the BODY of the CHURCH. Ephesians 5:23 says “…as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” (RSV) Romans 12:1 (NAB) clarifies this by stating, “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.” 1 Corinthians 12:20 continues,”But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’ nor again the head to the feet,’ I do not need you.’ Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, ….” (NAB)
When I first asked Christ into my life 34 years ago and began worshiping as a Protestant, I really sought to be something significant, like an arm or an aorta. What I found was that no one deemed me as important as I wanted to feel; thus I settled into my place as simply greeting at the church door once a month and cleaning up after communion which meant I dumped the bread and wine into the sewer–the act of which led me into The Roman Catholic Church. So through the years I decided my place in His Body was simply being a “toenail.” Yes, I was a lowly toenail, hidden away in a smelly left shoe. I had no real worth in the organization of His Body and His Bride, the Church.
Then a change of thought occurred when I went on a backpacking trip with my husband two summers ago. We climbed five miles straight up, packs and all, into the rugged Olympic Mountains in WA. Since I hadn’t hiked like this in 30 years, I had forgotten one important aspect of hiking. Your shoes should be one size too big, and when you come downhill, tighten the boots versus loosening them. So from that two-day trek came a swollen, blackened, left, big-toenail. Finally after a few weeks, it painfully fell off, and a new one started underneath it. That new toenail took about a year to be normal.
So the moral to this “Toenail Theology” story is: maybe you feel like a toenail within your Catholic church. Maybe you feel that you have no value and no one really notices whether you are here or not. Maybe you are wrong!! Do you realize what a pain in the foot it is to NOT have a toenail? God needs you here even if it is to smile at someone else during The Sign of Peace. You are part of His Body–The Church–The Holy Roman Catholic Church. Rejoice toenail; we need you desperately.