Putting Meaning into Your Meals

Written By Fr. Michael Friedel

As we’ve been living the challenge of these past weeks, the light and joy of spring and the graces of the Resurrection hopefully have helped us put some things in perspective in our lives. One thing is for certain: God has not stopped acting just because much of our activity has ceased.

One of the graces of this time—in fact, what I would point to as perhaps the premier grace that our Lord is holding out for us at this otherwise difficult time—is the chance to reinvest in the truly important things in life: a relationship with God expressed in heartfelt prayer, the opportunity to lay aside appointments and errands to call a dear old friend, talking to neighbors as you pass them on your evening walk, even sharing a meal as a family.

In these crucial moments, we have the opportunity to choose again what truly matters.

For years now, the world has waged war on the family, what the Second Vatican Council called the “Domestic Church.” And I would argue, in many ways, the world has been winning the battle. Perhaps now is our chance to recover a bit of what we have lost, to reinvest ourselves whole-heartedly in our families. In these moments when many of our distractions have subsided, make the resolve to pray more often with your children. It doesn’t have to be complicated; chain-praying rosaries if it’s not your thing will not engender a steady routine of prayer.

Instead, after you watch your favorite live-streamed Mass, take a moment as a family to reflect on what graces were offered to you, what “struck” you in Father’s message or in the readings. Pray before your evening meal together. Go around the table and speak one thing you have been thankful for today. As you sit around in the evening, before you turn on Netflix, ask your kids about what makes them feel most truly fulfilled, truly joyful. A vocation, after all, is born out of the ways that God draws our hearts to Himself.

Share with your children the ways that God brought you together as a family, invited you and your spouse into the Sacrament of Matrimony, or guided you to the work that you currently do. Rediscover the flame of grace that burns at the heart of your Domestic Church. Invite your children to consider that God might be calling them to something great. Invite them to consider priesthood or religious life, even if you never did. Share with them that nothing will fulfill them or give them joy like pursuing God’s call for their lives, whatever that might be.

Have the important conversations. There is no time like the present; and if we are ever to look upon these days as more than just a glim and dreary period of self-isolation, then we must hear God’s call to us now to make this a time of intentional discipleship. Raise your battle cries against the indifference of the world; reclaim yourselves and your families for God; sing out your “Alleluias,” and bathe yourselves anew in the light of Easter. The glory of our God has shown forth in Christ’s Resurrection, and darkness has not—and will not ever—overcome us.