A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Spiritual Fast Food

Posted on: October 17, 2013

I never cease to be surprised at the advertisements for “spiritual” courses: lessons on the angels among us, the healing power of crystals, and the untapped energy of “the universe.”

I see these course descriptions not only in local papers but also in continuing education brochures for colleges and school boards, which is a sign of the real spiritual hunger in our society.

And it’s not only classes. There’s a plethora of books that promise to lead us on a path of spiritual enlightenment or reveal the secret to a satisfying spiritual life.

Now, I’m not opposed to self-help books. My bookcase contains a number of books offering advice from a Christian perspective. The books I’m talking about, like the courses, could never give anyone information that would satisfy spiritual hunger. They’re like fast food or snack packs: all flash and no substance. Just empty calories.

And so people crash after this spiritual sugar rush, no closer to encountering God than they were before. What they need is the religious equivalent of slow food: the faith that we find in the Church and learn more about by attending Mass, by reading the Bible and the Catechism, by taking courses and workshops offered in our diocese or through colleges, and by going on pilgrimages or retreats. As well as by participating in the life of the Church and serving in our community.

For those who might view the Church as being out of touch with modern life, we need to show them that we don’t live with blinders on—that we’re aware of and active in areas such as palliative care, ministry to youth and seniors, pro-life issues, environmental stewardship, and social justice issues such as human trafficking.

2013 March for Life in Ottawa

The Church is active in pro-life issues, with parishioners participating in events such as the March for Life this past spring.

And we need to show them that they’re welcome to “taste and see”—to visit our parishes and, we hope, find what they’re seeking: God’s presence among us, his Church.

I pray that, as we begin once more to prepare candidates for First Eucharist and First Reconciliation and/or for Confirmation, our parishes would be welcoming to the children and youth as well as to their parents and extended families, who might be searching for real spiritual food instead of empty substitutes.

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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