When was the last time you ate a really good meal? For me a meal not only includes great food, but time to relax and good company. I heard the saying
“You should eat to live, not live to eat”
a lot while swimming competitively, but man do I love to eat! After a really good family meal, I feel not only physically satiated, but emotionally as well. The meal itself doesn’t have to be fancy. Paper plates and red solo cups will work just as well as fine china. What can’t be replaced though is my dad’s funny laugh, the scent my grandma leaves when she hugs me, the cry of the baby during prayer. These are what make a really great meal.
While we eat as a family nearly every evening, a lot of times it’s rushed and meal prep can be stressful with so many people clamoring for different things in the kitchen. Our “special” family meals typically happen on a Friday or Saturday and really help heal me after a long, stressful week. God the Father wants to share special meals like this with us as well. He literally wants to feed our souls. Much like good conversation and good food can heal an emotionally difficult week, God can heal our souls with, you guessed it, soul food.
But what does soul food look like? Just like everyone has a different favorite meal, soul food is going to look different for each person. Perhaps seeing the sun set on your way home from work inspires you. Or, maybe it’s finally hearing the words “I love you” from your child. It could be a well-timed hug from a friend, or a nice long telephone call with your mom. Whatever your soul food looks like, God is behind it. He paints the sky. He literally makes your kids. He whispers to your friend, “She needs a hug.” He tells you, “Go call your momma.” Whatever soul food is for you, give thanks for it and savor it. Feed your soul with His love and strength.
When I had originally thought of this post, my first thought was of my son saying “Um, mommy, I’m hungry.” Or my favorite (not), “Mommy, I need a snack…now!” At first I thought it was just something funny that didn’t really have a place in my post. But then I began to think of my response to him, “You’ll ruin your dinner if you eat those cookies.” “You’ll have to wait until I’m done fixing breakfast/lunch/dinner to eat. You don’t need a snack right now.” This got me thinking. Do we “snack” in our spiritual lives? Do we fill up on junk and not leave room for the Father to fix a really nice meal for us? I know I do. I get so caught up with work, and all of my responsibilities, that I don’t take the time to savor the wonderful meals God has prepared for me. Mass on Sunday? Rush to get the kids dressed, rush to get there on time, rush out to get lunch made and kids in bed for their naps. Rush, Rush, Rush. Did I take time to savor mass, or was I distracted by my responsibilities? Unfortunately, this happens more than I would like to admit.
I can’t help but feel as though my spiritual life, and my relationship with the Father would be so much richer if I took the time to not only eat, but savor the feast He has set out before me. I think the primary way we can achieve this is to stop snacking and filling our lives up with junk. God has the ability to fill us up, just like a good meal can. I think we should definitely take Him up on this, and make a standing reservation.
Reflection: When was the last time you had a good meal? What elements made it good?
Reflection: What kind of junk gets in the way of feasting on what God has to offer?
Act: Call a friend or family member and check in on them. Perhaps God can feed their soul through your kind words.