Nourishing our spirit

fr royWE need to be more aware of this need and do all we can to develop the appropriate attitude and skills. In fact, we need to cultivate a culture that fosters due attention to this need.

While it’s true that we have to take care of our physical and material needs, it is even more important to be mindful of our spiritual needs. Our problem now is that we tend to give a lot of consideration to our bodily needs at the expense of our spiritual needs.

Let us clarify. We are made up of body and soul. Let’s hope this truth, so basic, is no longer put into question and debated upon. That we have a body is obvious. We can see, touch and feel it. That we have a soul that is spiritual is actually also obvious, because we can think, know, choose, love, etc.

These latter operations indicate that there is something spiritual in us since these operations are spiritual in nature. They may start with the material world, but they proceed in ways that are abstracted from the physical world, and therefore spiritual, as we now deal with ideas, judgments, reasoning and conclusions.

Since we are capable of doing something spiritual, there must also be something spiritual in us. That’s because the character of an action indicates the nature of the one doing that action. If the action is spiritual, then it is presumed that the doer is also spiritual in nature, at least as a constituent part of that nature.

The principle followed here is expressed in Latin as “operare sequitur esse” (operation follows being). In other words, one’s nature determines the kind and scope of one’s actions. What one is determines what one can do.

The first step we do to nourish our spiritual needs is to start knowing things. That’s why babies are shown things and little by little, are taught what these things are, how they are. Then the lifelong process of instruction, education and formation takes place.
We should, however, realize that our spiritual needs would not be fully met unless we connect them to the very source of our spirituality. Since these spiritual needs would not be fully satisfied with its mere nourishment of worldly knowledge, we have to realize that they can only be fully met if they are related to their spiritual source.

The knowledge of worldly things, like our sciences and arts that mainly deal with material and temporal objects, cannot fully satisfy our spiritual needs. That is why we have an innate desire for happiness that cannot be satisfied with material things alone, like money, health, and even power and fame.

Our spiritual nature will always look for something that is spiritual in origin and in totality, and therefore eternal and immutable. This is when we get a primitive sense of religiosity, because we somehow would know that this spiritual origin must be a being we call God, a supreme being to whom we attribute all perfections even if we don’t know what all these perfections are.

This phenomenon is described in the Catechism in this way: “In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behavior—in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth.

“These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a ‘religious being.’” (CCC 28)

This is the basis why we can say that to nourish our spiritual soul, we need to relate ourselves to God and not just to things of the world. And this relation with God is nourished and sustained through prayer, through familiarizing and meditating on the Word of God and the other things used by God to reveal Himself..

These other nourishing means can be the sacraments which God through Christ in the Spirit and in the Church has instituted to perpetuate His presence and action in us.

Nourishment of the spirit can also be done by developing the virtues that would make us better persons, and in effect would make us resemble God in whose image and likeness we are. It is also attained by taking care of our spiritual formation which we should pursue in a continuing way.

Offhand, what I would like to stress is the meditation of the word of God as revealed to us by Christ, since that word contains all the wisdom we need to be true children of God!

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