I always smile when I hear people say, “You are what you eat.” If this were literally true, I’d probably be a giant bowl of cereal with a piece of pizza for a head! But thankfully, this saying just means that good food improves health and that bad food does the opposite. The Lord invites us to apply a similar insight to our spiritual lives: with what spiritual foods are we feeding our souls? Are we settling for spiritual “junk food,” instead of food appropriate for us as children of God created for eternity? The following are some of the best “soul foods” around:
* Holy friends – It’s no big secret that we become like the people with whom we spend time. Our friends influence the way we speak, view the world, laugh, and even the way we dress! In the same way, our friends have the power to either lead us toward Christ or away from him. If we are in the company of holy friends, we will be lead to holiness. If our friends don’t care about their faith, we easily become indifferent too. It is crucial that we choose friends who strengthen our love of Christ, friends who are fellow-travelers on the road to eternity. (If you don’t have such friends yet, ask the Lord to send some your way and keep your eyes open! He’ll deliver!)
* Fall in love – If we’re looking for someone who will lead us to Christ, there’s no better person to start with than Jesus himself! He wants us to fall in love with him. The more we love Jesus, the more we will become like him! Our love for the Lord is fueled by prayer, just as the love of a husband and wife is fueled by spending time lovingly together. Jesus wants to meet us intimately every day through prayer. The more we spend time with Jesus, the more we will “take on the mind of Christ” and from our heart throughout the day, whispers of love will naturally flow.
* Scripture – I recently heard that the average Christian in the United States spends more time in one day watching TV than he does reading the Bible in a whole week ! I’m not sure which is sadder—that it’s true or that it’s so easy to believe. Are we allowing the Lord to form us and speak to us through his written word? It is impossible to dive into Scripture without coming away touched by the Lord and changed for the better. How often can we say that of a night of TV?
* Build upon the Rock – We often turn to the ever-changing values of American culture for our understanding of right and wrong. We eagerly listen to authorities like Dr. Phil, advice columns, editorials, etc. But do we listen just as eagerly to the teaching of Christ’s Church? Through his Church, Jesus continues to teach and lead his people, just as he first taught us two thousand years ago while on earth. Just as God lead the Israelites in the desert with the pillar of smoke and fire, so does God continue to guide his people through his Church. He did not leave his sheep without a shepherd, but rather gave us a rock-solid foundation upon which to build our consciences and our understanding of revelation. The catechism is a great place to begin to explore the riches of our faith; there are also tons of great books and websites! (See links below.)
* Know the Rich and the Famous – They’re the ones that everyone admires, the ones we all want to be like. Of course, I’m speaking of the saints—the heroes of our faith, whose tremendous love of God has made them “filthy rich” for all eternity. Why concern ourselves with the latest relationships and fashion choices of the Hollywood celebrities, when the lives of the saints are so much more fascinating? I’m currently reading the life of St. John Vianney, who is pretty much the most amazing parish priest that ever lived! It is amazing to me how his life story has really made my own Christian journey come alive!
Our consciences and our faiths are constantly being formed, every waking hour of the day. We become what we pay attention to. If we are not devoting time and energy to things that will help us become holy men and women, with what spiritual “junk foods” are we feeding our souls?
CatholiCity — Offers excellent talks by some of the best Catholic speakers in the country,
on tape or cd for FREE. (Great for evangelization and the drive to work!)
Catholic Answers — Great library of concise answers to every question about the faith under the sun.
SalvationHistory.com — The website of my awesome Old Testament professor, Dr. Scott Hahn.
Faith, Prayer, Scripture