If you don’t want to, you don’t have to excuse the image above – but it is a stark reminder of what we know to be true. You may have known it personally, or have been around people who appear to live in the chaos of fabricated drama, bad news, and negativity. And how does a diet like this get ingested? We will have to admit eventually that we make these dietary decisions; we chose to eat the bad fruit of decay; we let social media scramble our minds and degrade our soul.
Thomas Merton put it another way:
Your life is shaped by the end you live for;
You are made in the image of what you desire.
It begs us to face the questions:
What is the end you live for?
What is it you desire?
What sources do you go to in order to feed your soul?
Here is a bit of wisdom from the 17th century, well before social media and the frenetic pace of distraction we now endure. This is from a collection of “spiritual letters” written by Francois Fenelon. See if this doesn’t strike a chord with you now:
You should redeem some time from the world for reading and prayer. Try to rescue half an hour morning and evening. You must learn, too, to make good use of chance moments – when waiting for someone, or when going from place to place… seize every chance moment.
Take half an hour in the morning, and another half-hour in the afternoon, to repair the inroads which the world has made. And in the course of the day, make use of such thoughts as touch you most, to renew yourself in the presence of God…
Francois Fenelon, Spiritual Letters, 17th C
Redeem, rescue, repair, and renew are all ways of saying we need to be intentional against the destructive currents of our time. As it is written:
Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
In the mean time, do the work of soul repair, and renew yourself in the presence of God.
Francois Fenelon was born merely one of 15 children in 1651. He survived internal political antagonism of the Catholic Church in France at the time and wrote these spiritual letters with “discreet reserve and extreme hesitation.” His understanding of redemption runs through many of his letters.
For more see “Overfed and Undernourished?“