On Spiritual Food

I’ve often heard people comment on what happens at their churches with the phrase “I’m not being fed.” I’ve even had that thought myself after dozing through an uninspired sermon. But wait! Am I not responsible for choosing what I ingest physically and spiritually? beyond that, what do I ingest spiritually that is the equivalent of junk food?

What has fed and continues to feed me spiritually? This is not as easy a question to answer as you might think. First of all, I face the painful fact that traditional religious practices such as attending Mass often don’t feed me. On some mornings the music enriches me and perhaps the readings. There are mornings too when I have touched the mystical elements at church. But sadly I often leave hungry.

Thankfully, I find others ways to be fed. Here are a few ways:

Physical: 1.I do enjoy a good meal and fellowship with my wife. 2.Running is my form of meditation. Some of the most profound mystical moments I’ve had occurred while running; 3. Sexual intimacy can be profoundly spiritual.

Mental: Throughout this blog I have cited writers who have fed me. Nouwen. Merton. Bonhoeffer. Frankl. Thich Naht Hahn. Dorothy Day. These and other writers have consistently inspired and challenged me. I go back to them when hungry.

Emotional: There is no doubt but that I get fed nutritious spiritual food through the arts. Here are a few examples

Judy Collins singing “Amazing Grace”

Dylan Thomas reading “Do Not Go gentle into that Good Night”

The theme of hope in “The Shawshank Redemption”

If I am going to develop a menu of spiritual food then I also honestly need to face what is not healthy for my spirit.  For me, this would include anything with the power of addiction. Been there. Done that. It poisoned my spirit.   I’m also wary of anyone or anything who advertises having the answers. I don’t think there are any easy ones. But those easy answers can feel good going down.

Reflection: What feeds you spiritually?