Editor’s note: This is the third in Vince Eimer’s seven-part series on journeying through the Lenten season.
by Vince Eimer
“I am so starving!” I have said these words many times over the years.
Not that I have ever been close to a state of starvation, just pinched by hunger pangs. Then whatever I eat tastes that much better. Sound familiar? Maybe your preference is to say, “I am so hungry I could eat a horse,” or something equally colorful. However, real starvation is a horror that millions have suffered over the centuries.
Today, our world is in a state of spiritual starvation. This goes way beyond simple hunger. Most of us are not even aware that this crisis is part of our lives. In a similar time of urgency, St. John of the Cross said to the people of his time: “O souls created for these grandeurs (those of the Spirit) and called to them! What are you doing? How are you spending your time?” He could be speaking directly to us.
How are we starving? Why are we not aware of it? “Love the Lord God with all your mind.” Usually we feed our souls through our minds. It is the foundation for the rest of the great commandment to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. The more we come to know God through our minds, the deeper grows our love for him and the more beautiful our souls become.
But how are we feeding our minds? How do we spend our free time? Hours for sports and news and Facebook and all sorts of other ways to fill the time and then . . . only minutes for God. That is a starvation diet.
If we love God with all our minds, we become preoccupied with God. When the demands of the moment subside, we find ourselves thinking about God and longing for him. We actively seek out ways to spend more time with him. Gazing into that mirror, we see the image of a vibrant, well-fed soul.
If that is not you, you are starving. To get healthy, flip how you spend your free time. Hours for God and minutes for sports and news and Facebook and whatever else. Feed your mind with the Gospels, the writings of the saints and writers like Father Jacques Philippe and Father Thomas DuBay — reading slowly, thinking about what you read and how it applies to your daily life.
When your mind eats like this, it hungers for more. This becomes the main course and the other activities that once preoccupied you become the snacks.
When we devote more time to God, we soon develop a hunger for him.
Experiment with this and discover this beautiful secret that the saints knew and wanted everyone to discover. Use your Lent wisely.