I took the news in stride, but when I got home I realized that means no burgers on the grill, and the sausage and peppers I made the other night will have to be eaten by someone else. I'm not a big red meat fan, but the fact that I am now called to avoid it makes me feel deprived. As for exercise, well, I have weights just sitting in the corner of my room, and the 4 mile boardwalk, which is delightful to walk, is only a 10 minute drive away. I guess it's time to make some changes and pay attention to diet and exercise to keep healthy. The truth is, when I don't pay attention to these things that might not be good for me, my body lets me know its time to start paying attention or pay the price of getting sick.
This evening while meditating, I was reflecting on what the doctor ordered and started to think about my spiritual health. My spiritual side also needs an occasional checkup and "diet and exercise" to keep it healthy and to help me advance toward the goal of union with God. What kind of diet and exercise do I need? Well, just as what I eat will have an affect my physical health, I have to ask myself what I let enter my soul that I really should be avoiding, and what should I be doing to keep a healthy spiritual life? What is my spiritual diet? The word diet is derived from the Greek word diaita, which means "a way of life." A healthy spirituality means following a way of life that is centered on Christ and on the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Diet also derives from a Latin word dieta, which means "a days work." Being a Christian is work, more often than not. But what is the "work" of a Christian? The work of a Christian is to continue the mission of Christ in this world, and to follow the will of God in all things. This calls for a steady diet of prayer, scripture, sacraments and avoiding those temptations that lead me to sin and away from God.
What happens when I don't stick to a diet and exercise routine? I gain weight, feel sluggish and put my body at risk for illness. What happens when I don't stick to a spiritual diet and exercise routine? I don't know about you, but I usually can tell that my life is out of sorts. I don't have enough patience, it seems that things start to go wrong, and I get restless and anxious. It also pulls me away from what I need to do to grow in my relationship with God. In other words, it keeps me from being open to God's Grace. So here we are in mid summer and I have been pointed on a way to good health physically and spiritually. The important thing is to now stick to it!