Catchy title, I know…But I also know you’re probably saying “she’s putting faith and food in the same category?” In a way, faith is a lot like food—-Especially Italian food…..because when you think comfort food, usually your mind goes to anything with lots of carbs (pasta), cheese (Lasagna anyone?) and that home made filled with love dish that Grandma used to make. But Faith works in the same way! When you think of how much love Jesus had for you—–he loved you so much, he DIED for you, so that you would not have to suffer such a tormented death as he did, only do live forever in a grave. No, he died, so that when your body itself passes onward, your soul lives on, your soul raises to be with Jesus for ever, surrounded by all the loved ones you’ve missed—-sort of like an Italian Sunday!
If you come from an Italian family (or married into one, or had an Italian friend…or just like Italian food), you will quickly notice that Italians LOVE greatly. And they show their love through food. They slave themselves in the kitchen, like Martha, and create gorgeous and delicious meals to show their love for you. Jesus does the same for us. But I’m sure many of us treat this as nothing, and continue on our own lives slaving like Martha. We feel we must do everything, we have to have everything, and we have to be everything, in order to feel worth something. Let’s break these down a bit:
- We must do everything—-how many of us wake up in the morning and groan as we look over our to do list, as we sip our morning coffee. Meetings, PTO, sports, for some of us an 8-12 hour job, plus cook dinner, make lunches…..It just never ends, does it? We tell our friends we need a break, a night out, even a date night with our husbands——-but when we look at our calendars, what’s the first thing that we easily erase and back out of? Our social plans! Bunco night? no, I can’t make it. Date night? Can we just order pizza and watch a movie, even though I’ll have to get up in the middle of it to put the kids to bed? But GOD reminds us—-we don’t have to do it all. We can’t pour from an empty cup. So next time you feel like you’re tempted to erase that bunco night, or drop date night….even if it’s with YOURSELF…….DON’T DO IT.
- We need to have everything. A new running gadget comes out, we instantly NEED it. A new kitchen appliance comes out, we must get it, for our family dinners will never be the same if we don’t. The sales people know how to sell a product. The sad part is that we are gullible enough to fall for it. We make ourselves believe life will never go on without this product. We justify buying it, saying it might be tight for bills, but it’s worth it. We buy that $1500 Bowflex, or the subscription to Sonobello, because we see the results on those models, and tell ourselves we will look the same in 6, 9, 12 months. Do you truly ever end up looking like the models? No. Gee, I wonder why! Because each person’s body is different. Some can be the fittest people in the universe but still have a heart attack and die. If we would just focus on what we do have, and stop looking at what we don’t, God reminds us gently that he is the provider of all we TRULY need—–his truth, his love, his mercy, and he provides the necessities. All of these material things will perish, when you die, who is going to get that treadmill? You can’t be buried with it!
- We need to be everything. Similar to point #1, we feel we have to do and be everything for everyone. We all wear many hats—-some of us balance teacher, wife, mother, aunt, sister, caregiver, friend, PTO member, RCIA team, choir, lector, CCD teacher—–we all wear hats. And there’s nothing wrong with being a part of so many activities. But a point raised in #1, comes back to help us here. We CANNOT FILL FROM AN EMPTY CUP. You need to make YOU a priority, before you can minister to all these hats you wear. JOY (Jesus first, others second, yourself last) is true to a degree, and a great metaphor to live by. But you need to ensure that your body is being taken care of, as well as your soul. If all you do is feed others, but yourself is left exhausted, what good is that? Shouldn’t your children have a mother who is fully present at all their games and concerts, versus a mother who is just physically there, but mentally exhausted, or watching her phone for another engagement waiting in the wings? Be everything you can be, but don’t forget most importantly to be Present.
Another point I want to mention in this blog is the importance of sharing. Again, we return to the scene of the Italian family dinner. The base of that is sharing. You rarely go to an Italian meal without hearing about everybody’s life, everybody’s day, even joys and sorrows. As Christians, our job is to share our faith, similar to how an Italian family shares their food. We easily make an excuse….oh, my faith story isn’t that important. it’s pretty basic believed since I was a kid, never stopped. That won’t help anybody. Or, we say we could never “get up in front of a group and share…it’s too personal.” Who said you had to? Do you know how simple it is to plant a seed of faith in somebody who may not have any left? It’s a simple as “I’ll pray for you”, or “I’m sorry you have to go through this.” But, I know I sure have, and know many of you, have gone through something in your life where your faith kept you strong—–a failed marriage that turned around, a drug addicted child who found sobriety. A miscarriage and years of difficulty that finally ended in a beautiful baby. Perhaps your faith kept you strong while watching a parent die, or watching a disease such as Cancer or Alzheimer’s steal and rob you of your loved one. Perhaps your faith kept your bills paid, despite not knowing where the money would come from every month. Perhaps your faith, and belief in prayer found you the job you’ve always wanted. My friends……..this is your Italian masterpiece. Dish your faith story to your friends, in simple ways, as if you were serving a delicious meal. For someone could find faith, in just watching or listening to how you respond.
What event in your life did your faith help you through? Start there—-start by simple discussion at dinner, or over coffee with a friend…..and watch how that first ingredient can create the most delicious and beautiful Lasagna ala Faith you’ve ever dreamed of.
XO & Prayers,