We are what we eat – the ingredients of a spiritual sandwich

By EDMUND ADAMUS, Director, Office of Marriage and Family Life – Diocese of Westminster

Those of you who have been receiving and reading these weekly ‘thoughts for the weekend’ reflections since the beginning, may recall that I stated the original purpose of them was an opportunity, week by week, in between the Extraordinary Synod on the family (2014) and the Ordinary Synod on the family (2015), to focus some attention on the spirituality of Christian spousal love and family life.

My intention has been so far, and will continue to be, an attempt to piggy back on the unprecedented attention throughout the Church at this time on the subject of marriage and family. I have been spotlighting some insights of my own, or ones I have picked up from other sources less known to you, as well as sharing what I hope are useful ideas, resources, initiatives and events in the digest that people can pick and choose from week by week, and either act upon themselves or pass on to others; a sort of local corner shop or spiritual grocery store that you can decide what you like on the shelves! So I think six months on, almost literally to the day of the first Friday Fast on October 16th 2014, it might be useful to explain the rationale of the weekly offering.

  • It’s called the ‘Friday F.A.S.T’  so as to be a helpful play on words in that what I hope is a little practical inspiration towards the end of a demanding working week for most people, and to give a little spiritual spring in the step to enter the weekend and Sabbath.
  • It’s hopefully FAST to read and take in, thereby being a little ‘fast’ from other media and demands on our attention whilst one is digesting its content.
  • It’s F-amily A-ctions S-pirituality T-houghts. It is about taking what can often be dense or complex theological teachings and insights about marriage and family and putting it in more accessible language or imagery for anyone who hasn’t studied the theology or even for those who have to apply that teaching, doctrine or insight in their own lives.

So here we are, right in the middle of the year of the Synods on the Family, sandwiched, as it were, between these two extraordinary Ecclesial events. So when I speak of the weekly ‘digest’ and reflection as being something that can hopefully be ‘digested’ quickly, the metaphor of eating and nutrition is deliberate, as St. Paul says, to ‘fill your minds with everything that is noble pure and holy.’ “We are what we eat” as the exhortation to watch our consumption and dietary needs says.

Likewise, in this world and cultural atmosphere of so much confusion about moral truth and virtue, vigilance and prudence on what feeds our minds and our souls is equally and, indeed, more important in one sense. So, God willing, the ingredients of this spiritual sandwich with the ‘bread’ of the synods beneath and above, is building up to be rich in flavour and aroma.

And let’s not forget that just before the next slice of bread of the Ordinary Synod is placed on top of this ‘sandwich’ in October, the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September will act as final layer of the ingredients that I will include. For I will be there in person, and will be able to give you news, views and first-hand witness of what I know will be incredible graces and blessings for the whole Church and which I will be privileged and honoured to share with you in my own imperfect and idiosyncratic way.

April is the month of the Holy Spirit, so in these days leading up to the great Feast of Pentecost on the 24th May, let us entrust this mid-way point of the Friday FAST to the Holy Spirit and indeed all our loved ones too, so that His breath of wisdom and life-giving love and mercy truly permeates this little contribution to the New Evangelisation.

This post is taken from Edmund Adamus’s Friday FAST – Family Actions – Spirituality Thoughts newsletter.