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Mary and Martha Moment: Soul First, Body Second

This is the third of a three-part series to build you up in your quest for stewardship of all God’s resources.

Part One: Trust in the Promise of your Meal Blessing
Part Two: Baby Steps

Sometimes I feel guilty writing Food for Thoughts for you all. I hate that frequently I’m sharing bad news, facts about something dangerous in our world that I want you to look out for. Wouldn’t it be simpler just to let you remain ignorant? Unfortunately, what you don’t know, in this case, CAN hurt you. So I write. I share. And I hope I’m not giving anyone fodder for a nervous breakdown!

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.

Especially during this Holy Week and Triduum, concentrate on the soul, on prayer, on making your time spent with kids and spouse count for eternity. Enter into the fasting of Good Friday to connect with Jesus’ sacrifice and remind yourself, as your hunger pangs strike:  Soul first, Body Second.

Note:  As hard as it will be for me (the computer can be an addiction, can’t it?) I will be signing off from blogging for the Triduum…be back Monday for yogurt!

The next (and last) Mary and Martha Moment in this series will give practical advice and help put into perspective our fears about food safety, nutrition, and the evils of the world.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

About The Author

7 thoughts on “Mary and Martha Moment: Soul First, Body Second”

  1. Read this link after reading “Does Being Too Strict on Food Take the Joy out of Family Life?” I love how you keep everything in perspective. I try to think along those same lines-just not so eloquently as you! I send your links and many “real food” sites as I can to educate people, but all the while remembering to keep it balanced-that with all the ailments people can have with their health, they do have a God that is a healer and restorer! and to turn to Him first! but like you said being good stewards of our body in the mean time, we can still bring honor to Him too.
    Thank you for your upfront, real and Godly perspective on everything-I know you take a lot of time to blog and research! Thank you for sharing! God Bless you! 🙂

  2. thanks for this link! Well done and thankful for your heart behind your blog-it’s encouraging for sure. Amen to soul first, body second-great phrase. I think I will link this to my personal blog so that a few of my girls can read it and hopefully be challenged to continue thinking well within this sphere of life.

  3. I read this post even later! Here is how it spoke to me; even when we are concerned about giving our families the very best in all ways, we must be practical…when I first read about traditional foods and healthier ways of eating, I wanted to throw everything out and cook from scratch for my 5 kids still at home. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and through nearly 30 years I’ve worked at providing nutritious meals according to what I learned was best. Now, although I know that fresh, unprocessed food is best, I am unable to make absolutely everything from scratch due to health issues common to middle age and the fact that we sometimes have to supplement the budget with donated foods. So…I do the best I can with what we can afford, occasionally remembering to pray St. Benedict’s blessing over those foods which don’t measure up but still fill hungry stomachs.
    having recently found your website also, I am inspired by your posts and encouraged by your Catholic charism. And yes, the old can learn from the young!

    1. I’m so glad you found KS! Thank you for the compliment.
      What is St. Benedict’s blessing? I don’t know that I’m familiar with it…

      1. Hi, Katie,
        St. Benedict was saved from poisoned wine as related by St. Gregory here:
        His exorcism prayer is recalled by initials on the back of his medal. Really what I do is ask God ‘s blessing on the food through the intercession of St. Benedict.

  4. Hi,

    I just read this post, I know it is late to read it, however, I loved that phrase. Soul first, body second. It says so much. It puts the priority in the right place, however, it doesn’t deny the fact that God created us with a body and wants us to treat it well. When the choice has to be made between the two, I will choose Soul. Great, great post!!

    1. It’s never too late! That’s the great thing about the Internet; the info is always available. Thanks for visiting; hope you’ll be back!!

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