With all the worrying we could be doing about what we feed our families and even what we store that silly food in…how do we have time for prayer? Aren’t we going to get too stressed out? This is where the sage advice of a good friend of mine comes to the rescue. She is coping with two of her sisters battling breast cancer at the same time, so she’s in the perfect place to remind us all: soul first, body second.
When illness strikes, when thinking about nutrition, when trying to care for one’s family in good times and bad, keep the priorities straight. Prayer must be paramount. Teach about God before good food. Train habits of faith before frugality. If someone is sick, don’t ask, “What can I do to make them well?” Ask first, “Do they know and love God? Do they have an active prayer life? Is there anything I can/need to do to share the love of Christ with them today?” Soul first, body second. Let us look heavenward before we even let worry about bodily concerns take a foothold in our minds.
“The sting of death is sin,” writes St. Paul (1 Cor 15:56). Notice the sting of death isn’t death. It’s not leaving this world and everyone we love, it’s not missing out on the life we could have lived. It is sin. At the end of our lives, only our relationship with God matters, whether or not we have accepted His salvation by grace or fractured our union with Him by our sin. When worry sets in about our mortal beings, remind yourself that the only thing that will matter in the end, whether you’re taken by cancer, old age or an accident, is the state of your soul. If you’re a spouse or a parent, your job is to get your spouse and kids to Heaven. If they’re bodily healthy when they get there, so be it. If not, God will provide newness in their resurrected body. Live not according to this age, but the age to come.
Believe me, I’m writing this as one who needs to read it slowly and take it to heart, to learn to put into practice in reality what she knows theoretically. It’s difficult for me to share a joyful spirit with my family with as much passion and success as I give bodily care to them. I need to remember that my cooking is not just to feed mortal bodies, but immortal souls as well. If not served with the light of Christ, is it really serving any good? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:8, “Food will not bring us closer to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, nor are we better off if we do.” Food can’t bring anyone salvation. It has to be second priority (or lower) when I think about my day and what I’m going to spend my time and energy on.
Make it your goal to concentrate on the soul, on prayer, on making your time spent with kids and spouse count for eternity this week. Choose a way to fast from something, connect with Jesus’ sacrifice and remind yourself, as your hunger pangs strike: Soul first, Body Second.
Copyright 2009 Katie Kimball