Conversion of Mind, Body and Soul
God is always calling us to conversion. He wants us in heaven with Him, therefore, we need to adjust our ways. What do we mean by ways? A senior priest that says Mass at our parish often regularly uses the phrase: “is there some attitude of ours that needs changing” just before he begins the Confiteor.
We have to adjust our mindset, on everything. How do we view church and salvation? How do we view our relationships with other people? How do we view our relationship with ourselves? How do we view health and wellness? And so on.
Jesus told His followers, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Mt 22:37) In the Gospel of Luke (10:27) we read a similar command from Jesus: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Heart, soul and mind. Heart, being, strength, and mind. We need to employ all of our faculties to love the Lord, our God. ALL of them. But, our mind and the attitudes and ideas that it holds dictates how the rest of our faculties fare.
So what controls our mind? The culture is always trying to change our mindset. The culture includes everything worldly: government, media, Hollywood, advertisers, manufactures, special interest groups, and the list goes on and on. In this day and age, we consume a toxic slurry of processed foods that also affects our mind. (There is a scientifically proven connection between the gut and the brain!)
Back in the days of Samuel the people of Israel wanted a king to rule them, because they couldn’t rule themselves, and they wanted to be like the other nations. In the eighth chapter of First Samuel we see this story play out, and in verse seven the Lord says: “They are rejecting me as their king.” The Israelites rejected God thousands of years ago. They didn’t have processed food or Hollywood or a government. So why did they reject God?
The Lord, our God, wrote His word in our hearts, but our minds don’t want to listen to our hearts, part of that little problem called original sin. On the bright side, our wonderful God is still calling us to conversion. We CAN change our ways, with His help!
In order to change though, we have to be willing to let go of certain troublesome aspects in our mindset. Even in the world of business, the world of health, they have mastermind groups that help us to focus on a better way of thinking about a subject. We need to let Jesus be the Master of our mastermind group!
How often do we hear today – that can’t be true or I have trouble believing that. We have been caught up in somebody else’s mind control game. It may have been started centuries ago or it may be a recent mindset game. Regardless, it has control of our minds. We have bought “it”, hook, line and sinker. So now what? How do we change?
Prayer, effort, humility. Yes, humility; that one is a biggy. I have a morning prayer in which the second of three petitions goes like this: Dear Jesus, I love you, please help me to have the mind of Christ. Who do you want me to die for today?
For a long time, I said this phrase and I sort of got it, but I didn’t really. Now, thanks to a recent, fruitful confession, I believe I really get it. In our dying to others, we put them first. We humble ourselves to them, even if they are wrong! Even if we are right, it isn’t right to try to destroy the other.
So we have to let go. Let go of pride. Let go of useless stuff, like Hollywood gossip (really, why does anyone even care?) Let go of envy. Let go of greed. Let go of fast and easy, be it driving, food, living. Let go of selfishness. Let go of excessive pleasure mongering. Let go of fear (our culture of death loves to instill fear in our lives). Sure, none of this is easy, but just naming the “let go’s” helps us to see how often we cling to them.
Fill up on Jesus and all the wonderful gifts and graces He gives us. Acknowledging His gifts and graces on a daily basis helps us to see how truly blessed we are, even in the midst of all our struggles. Thank Him for our struggles too. A rainy day helps us to better appreciate the sun shine. Our struggles help us to better appreciate the God’s great gifts.
And one final word (with my health coach hat on), we have to offer it all up to God, we have to trust in God, we have to honor God’s will. But God doesn’t want blind faith either. He doesn’t want us to be stupid, make bad choices and then He will fix our mess (health problems) with a miracle! We need to make healthy choices. We need to forego some “comfort” foods to help our bodies heal. Just as we need to avoid the near occasion of sin, know that we can sin against the temple of our soul by being a couch potato, by eating too much fast food, by not eating our vegetables, by eating too much sugar! And in turn, healing our body can help heal our mind(set), hopefully.