The next question to consider during this Virtual Retreat:

Food on a TableAre you eating all right?

I'm not talking about nutrition, although I will say it helps to eat the right foods. But enough people tell you that today. Like sleeping, eating has its spiritual side.

When Jesus took bread, "he said the blessing," the New Testament says. He thanked God, not just for the food before him, but for every gift connected to it. A litany of created things - earth, water, the slow turn of day to night, the life-giving sun, and a procession of people- produced that nourishing gift. Jesus thanked God for all, when he took the bread.

Do you thank God for all? Are you thankful for the life you have? the world around you?

When the writer, C.S.Lewis, began to think seriously about his faith, he wondered why so many prayers. especially the psalms, were prayers of thanks and praise. Here's what he discovered:

"I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise unless (sometimes even if) shyness or the fear of boring others is deliberately brought in to check it. The world rings with praise- lovers praising their beloved, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite games- praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages children,flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians and scholars.

I had not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time the most balanced and capacious minds praised most, while the cranks, misfits and malcontents praised least. The good critics found something to praise in many imperfect works; the bad ones continually narrowed the list of books we might be allowed to read. The healthy and unaffected man, even if luxuriously brought up on good cooking, could praise a very modest meal: the snob found fault in all...

I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise what they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: "Isn't she lovely? Wasn't it glorious? Don't you think that was magnificent.?

The psalmist in telling everyone to praise God is doing what all do when they speak of what they care about. My whole, more general difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can't help doing, about everything else we value." C.S.Lewis, Praying the Psalms

It is good to give thanks and praise. The simple act of giving thanks before a meal calls us to thank God and all the world for the gift of life.

Are you happy here?

Email questions or comments about this page to Fr Victor Hoagland, C.P.

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