Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Two common ones involve getting in shape or making a commitment to deepen one’s prayer life. Former catechetical leader Paul Gallagher explains how one led to the other for him in the article “How the Spiritual Exercises Rebooted My Health.” He writes:
St. Ignatius reminds us in the Spiritual Exercises that we need to detach ourselves from those things that may have taken on addictive qualities in our lives. For me, it was food. With my director’s help, I slowly started correcting some of my food imbalances. She challenged me to become less focused on food and more focused on God’s loving presence in my life.
Food is sacred. Focusing on food is good. We can think of the ones who have labored to prepare food and bring it to the table. The farmer, the trader, the cook, the bread earner and so many other sons and daughters of the Almighty using natural resources to make the miracle of food happen.
I admit I’ve got some doubts when you’re addicted to things that are apparently non harmful, and can be considered even positive. For example, in my case, to sailing. I see it even as an opportunity to praise God by enjoying some of the most beautiful things in nature, which cannot be seen from land. But fact is, it can become so absorbing that takes too much time and resources.
Although I believe that ‘prayer can move mountains ‘ I will
try and activate my prayers through committing myself to
helping in the faith community and outside it
To discern God’s will more and more and pray for courage and humility to do his will, to give fuller expression to it in my daily life. This I pray.
I am going to try, very hard, and with God’s help, to live more in the present, not spend so much precious time recalling past events, nor worrying about the future and what it may bring, particularly for a beloved yet estranged family member. I am going to do my best to trust that God has a plan for all of us, even if I don’t understand it at the time. I will pray each day “Thy will be done” intentionally surrendering to Him.
What a great story! I have observed many many times that some of the most devout people I know are also significantly overweight. As someone who has experienced the difficulty of losing weight, I know that for me, putting the focus on something other than food is crucial. I still focus too much on cooking and eating, but you’ve reinspired me to focus on prayer and to put food back in the subordinate role it should have in my life.