A Diet of the Divine
Published on February 11-12, 2012 in the Parish Bulletin of Saint Andrew Catholic Church, Harrodsburg KY
“At least he is being fed.”
That was what I overheard a Catholic mother say about her son who apparently has been dabbling into some strange spirituality. Something about her comment bothered me, and it was only after I reflected about the relationship that I have with my own mother that I realized what I thought was wrong with her remark.
My Mom is not the sort who would be content with me “being fed;” she wants me to be as well-nourished as I possibly could be. She has not been as successful with that goal as she would have hoped: she has a spoiled brat for a son who, despite reminders and recommendations, threats and bribes, used to not eat anything green. She tried to teach me to eat healthier meals when I was young by sneaking a vegetable or two onto my plate. But, by the time I got older, I was convinced that I knew better, that my carnivorous cravings were nowhere close to giving me that forewarned coronary. I was right: my meat-filled meals have yet to give me a heart attack. But, my green-free diet has done enough damage to my digestive system that it gave me a literal pain in the rear end two years ago. It took four surgeries and a colorectal specialist to convince me that I needed to make some radical changes to my once leafless lifestyle.
My Mom tells me that I could have spared myself from all that misery and medical expense if I had listened to her in the first place. I hate to admit it, but she is right. I should have listened to her when she kept on reminding me to eat my vegetables and to get my daily dose of fiber. I should have heeded her advice to watch my weight and to cut out the cholesterol clogging cuisine from my table. I should be grateful that she simply could not accept the excuse that “at the very least I was being fed.” She knew, better than I did, that the health of my body, and indeed my life, depends on the daily diet I keep.
I love it that my Mom was more concerned than I was about my malnourished body. I guess that is why I am bothered that the other mother was not as concerned for her son’s malnourished soul.
After all, if the Mass is the meal of angels given to man, I think that it should bother her that her son would plan to miss Mass. If Christ indeed is the Way (cf. Jn. 14:6) and the Eucharist the fuel that keeps His every follower going, I think that she should be worried where her child is getting his daily drive and to which direction he is headed.
I realize that her son will keep eating whatever sort of food is there to his liking. But, I also know that eventually being fed will not be enough. In time he too will get fed up with a lifestyle that is far from life-giving; he will get tired of a spirituality that can never satisfy. Sooner or later the hunger for the one true God will catch up with him. But, in the meanwhile, his mother simply cannot give up on getting him onto a steady diet of the Divine. The health of his soul, indeed his very salvation, depends on it.