"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Well Fed or Undernourished?

By Micky Wolf

A topic that regularly surfaces in the media is that of weight and body image. We are constantly bombarded with a multitude of products and ideas promising amazing results: this revolutionary diet; that no-sweat workout; the ultimate figure enhancing outfit that not only squishes and squeezes but does so in fine style. It is little wonder that trying to make good personal choices can be a very confusing process. Add to that, less than hoped for results, and the only thing that may become slimmer is our wallet. 

In the midst of all the rhetoric about weight and exactly how many pounds are too much or too little, we may be overlooking an important point: it is entirely possible to become so focused with what the scales say we miss the fact our bodies are not being properly nourished. The same could be said for our minds and spirits. Maybe the better question to ponder with regard to ‘ingesting’ anything is this:  What is it I am consuming and why am I choosing X, Y, or Z?

What to look out for—several symptoms indicative of an overweight, undernourished soul:

  • Intellectual heaviness. Let’s face it—if one aisle in the grocery store has a hundred ways to entice you to eat too much candy, the availability of printed and electronic formats for reading, learning and accessing religious and spiritual knowledge and self-help resources is at an all time high. Trying to digest too much of it can confuse our brains, dull our senses and increase the poundage of the pudgy parts we sit on. Be discerning with your time and attention. "Everything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is lawful, but not everything builds up." [1 Corinthians 10:23 NAB] 

  • Sensory Over-Load. Vibrant colors. Flashing lights. Pulsating Sounds. From smart phones to the Internet to the grocery store kiosks, we are inundated with stimulation of the senses. Retailers need to get our attention. However, it also seems that sometimes the places where we worship and pray are too often populated with similar technological wonders. Though not evil in and of itself, this begs the question—is all the environmental noise really befitting a setting that encourages the praise and reverential attention due our Triune God? Silence of the heart, not only of the mouth—that too is necessary—but more, that silence of the mind, silence of the eyes, silence of the touch.” [Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta]

  • Yo-yo commitment.  “I will make time to pray every morning…well, I’ll be good and do it tomorrow.”  There will always be something that needs your attention. Like the person who approaches weight management with an on-again-off-again attitude, the health of our spiritual being can only improve as we persevere and stay the course, regardless of all the voices that may be agitating for our attention. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us..."  [Hebrews 12:1 NAB] 

  • Spread too thin. A slender slice of cheese may be just what the doctor ordered to help you with moderation, however, being too involved in a multitude of religious or philanthropic activities, groups, and causes—albeit for the good of others or self—will eventually drain you of energy and enthusiasm in body and spirit quicker than you can say ipecac. We tend to believe that if ‘a little is good, a lot is better’. Not so true when we stop long enough to take a breath and realize the only blank spaces on the calendar hanging on the fridge are the centers of the zeroes.  “After doing so, he [Jesus] went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When it was evening he was there alone.” [Matthew 14:23 NAB]
Years ago a friend gave me two small magnets, each imprinted with a single word—simple | balance. They represent much of what I needed to let the Lord help me change in my own life at the time. Those two little words continue to serve as an excellent reminder of how easy it is to mindlessly consume and yet be undernourished, physically as well as spiritually. 

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