“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a(n adult), I gave up childish ways.” (Corinthians 13:11)
I’m 22 years old, and last week I made the common mistake of eating caramel corn for dinner. Accidentally. You see, I was not hungry during dinner time, so I made the wise decision to wait until I was hungry to eat. However, when I did start to feel hungry, it did not occur to me to reheat the real food that was waiting for me downstairs. Instead, I grabbed my personal tin of caramel corn and continued to binge watch American Idol. That night while trying to fall asleep, I realized that I was famished and for a moment I didn’t understand why. Then I remembered that I had neglected the nutritious meal that my dad had prepared in favour of cavity-inducing empty calories. The lesson that my hunger taught me just goes to prove that God can bring wisdom from great stupidity.
Have you ever spent so much time and energy on work or leisure that there was little left for God? I know I have, and the effects are similar to that of eating caramel corn for dinner. You are left feeling empty, lethargic, and maybe even a little sick. The temporary comfort and convenience offered by “junk” can never satisfy our real needs. Caramel corn is a yummy treat, but it is a far cry from a meal supplement, let me tell you. Likewise, entertainment and leisure activities are not bad things, unless they eat up our time and leave little left for our spiritual nourishment. With the caramel corn incident, I not only indulged my sweet tooth, but I also neglected to provide my body with the things it really needs to thrive. In turn, my disregard for real food turned into excessive consumption of junk– I ate several more handfuls of candied corn than I would have if I had eaten dinner first. Similarly, when I spend too much time on social media or Netflix, I lose the motivation to engage in prayer and study. When I fail the build habits involving self-discipline, I lose my taste for those activities, preferring those which offer comfort and instant gratification.
If we carve out specific times during the day for physical nourishment, shouldn’t we make the same effort in our spiritual lives? Can we pattern our lives around prayer just as we pattern our lives around food? We eat specific types of food at different times of the day; likewise we can create a routine for our prayer lives to help keep us consistent. Much like food, prayer is both an individual and social practice; just as we share a meal with someone else, we can also share our prayer time or intentions with others. The Catholic faith offers several “recipes” for different prayers, which can involve specific words, guided meditation, personal conversation and silence. (Silence is the most underrated prayer in history. It’s the part where we shut up and listen to what God has to say in response to us.)
Our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us, and so we must continually remember to think of Him, talk to Him, and listen to Him! If we fail to do this, we will begin to feel those familiar pangs of hunger in our hearts, and hopefully learn from our mistakes.
And for the record, my parents did not approve of my dining decisions that evening.
If publishing article online please attribute source Serviam Ministries with link to original article.