“Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns; she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table. She has sent out her maidens; she calls from the heights out over the city: ‘Let whoever is simple turn in here; To the one who lacks understanding, she says, Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.’” Proverbs 9:1-6


It’s interesting that the explanation of wisdom, one of the highest virtue any of us can attain is defined by, not a high definition that no one understands nor by a profound quote from an erudite writer but, of all things, eating. Wisdom is described as, “She has spread her table.” (Please also note its feminine tinge.) It’s not revealed through the great authors or playwrights nor your next neighbor who seems to know everything about everything – it’s in the food.

You can only digest what you ingest

I’ve said before that you can only digest what you ingest; whether that be bread for the body, morsels for the mind or sustenance for the soul. Our faith’s job is the soul. When the soul is satisfied, then the body and mind are pleased as well. It’s funny because when we’re outside of the church, we think the opposite. Satisfy the body, and the mind and soul will follow, but that’s not what discipleship and sacrifice are all about. Faith begins and ends with the soul. When you’re hungry, your body may growl for steak and your mind waters for cheesecake, but your soul is also howling and watering. “Give me something substantial,” your soul tells you.

In the Catholic Church, we too often believe that redundancy is food for our souls. I guess it’s a personal preference. If you keep repeating something, then your soul is filled up so you can treat yourself to a bratwurst afterward. That takes care of both the soul and body. Or, does it?

My perfect body-food is meatloaf with ketchup, mashed potatoes with gravy and creamed corn. (My mouth watered as I typed those delicious words.) Yours may be a surf ’n turf combo.

My mind’s food is reading any legitimate news story that is as balanced as possible in this hugely over-media age. (You quickly learn if you’re reading a “prime rib” or a “hamburger” news story.) My soul-food is each and every one of you. You fill my soul with your stories of success and setbacks but always with a firm resolve to live life as best you can. In other words, I get my meatloaf, potatoes and cream corn by listening, hearing and responding to your moments of life – lived to the best of your abilities.

So perhaps my mind and soul’s food is filling enough with all of you surrounding and knowing me. Our diverse media opportunities for news is left for each of us to decide. But please choose carefully – for our mind is the weakest part of us. So, strengthen your bodies and your souls to help your mind figure out, “What’s what?” Follow Proverbs’ advice, dress up our meat and mix our wine to fill both body and soul. It very well may strengthen that weak mind of ours in the ways of our Christian faith.

You’ll be surprised with the results. I think it’s called “Church,” or “community.” But remember, you can only digest what you ingest.

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. are all available on
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of humorous and reflective letters written by my cats over twenty years
                                                          “Soulful Muse,”

inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
                                                  “Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
                                        “Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture

                         “Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up


About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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2 Responses to Soul-Food

  1. David B. Goehner says:

    Fascinating post, Fr. Joe. I very much appreciate the concept of only digesting what I ingest…which has given rise to quite a bit of pondering about the various ways and things I ingest…including ingesting what I imagine. I can likely make quite a few improvements in my holistic digestion by altering what and how and why I ingest. Thanks.

    I would be interested in your thoughts about something I’ve thought about from time to time: the story in Genesis 22: 1-19 about God’s call to Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac. That story is always told from the perspective of Abraham, responding to God’s request…of how faithful Abraham was and the blessing that he received by having such faith. It would be interesting to know the story from Isaac’s perspective…what he was thinking while bound and on the sacrificial altar…and how that experience impacted the way Isaac thought about and perceived both his father and his Father.

    See you about.


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