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A Trip to the Cardiologist … and Our Spiritual Health

A Trip to the Cardiologist … and Our Spiritual Health

 

I just left the doctor’s office for my annual check-up. Per the norm, I was given the results of my blood test that was taken the day before. As I skimmed over my for post on A Trip to the Cardiologist ... and Our Spiritual Healthcomprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) (electrolytes, kidney function, liver function and such) I noticed my glucose levels were running a little high. Sure, I thought to myself, I have certainly been pushing the sweets. Then I continued to run down the numbers, to find each number is as expected based on what I was putting into my blood system.

The more I thought about it, the more I was made to reflect upon this visit (and doctor visits in general) as a kind of “judgment.”  It would be silly for me to try to tell my cardiologist that I haven’t been eating sweets when my glucose levels were showing otherwise. There was no dodging the truth—I was eating too many sweets, and if I do not cut down on sweets, I will suffer the consequences. If I want to be in the best possible physical health, it was time I listened to what my cardiologist had to say. So by the grace of God go I, and fewer sweets it is!

By the time I parked my car in the driveway, I was thinking less about my physical health and more about my spiritual health. I imagine my final judgment might be something like my trip to the doctor. The results of my life lived will be in. I will see the good and the bad, the right from the wrong. My final judgment will not be a time for negotiation or excuses, but a conversation that will reflect how I lived my life.

The difference between my trip to the doctor’s office and final judgment is that I won’t be able to go back and go on a “spiritual diet.” For this reason, we have to be honest with ourselves and begin the process of taking inventory into what we “put into” our souls (spiritual health). If we fail to do so, the consequences will be far greater than high blood pressure, but spiritual death. So what are we to do?

Among other things, we ought to start asking important questions as it relates to our appetite for such things as power, prestige, and pleasure. Do we crave control or domination in our relationships? Do we seek honorific titles? Are we yearning for the next television program after we have already watched one (this includes Netflix, Amazon and any other kind of streaming)?  Such intemperate desires are “bad food” for our spiritual health and can easily lead to spiritual exhaustion that is void of saintly vigor and energy.

Whatever it may be, we have to start accounting for what we put into our hearts. Just as we carefully watch from hand to mouth the food we digest so should we with equal intensity watch what we put into our hearts. In other words, we ought to start discerning the importance of our spiritual health with the same vitality that we do with our physical health. To do so, is to not only live with the end in mind, but to place a priority on our final trip to the office of the Divine Physician.


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Art for this post on A Trip to the Cardiologist … and Our Spiritual Health: Cupcakes decorados (Decorated Cupcakes), Joanai64, 5 February 2014 own work, CCA-SA 4.0 International; Heart beat, Nevit Dilmen, 1998 own work, CCA-SA 3.0 Unported; Raising of Lazarus by Jesus, Carl Heinrich Bloch, 1870s, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less; all Wikimedia Commons.

 

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About Joseph Hollcraft

Over the past thirteen years, Dr. Joseph Hollcraft has taught at the Middle School, High School, and University level. Founder of Seeds of Truth Ministries, Joseph is an Adjunct Professor to the Avila Institute and host to the Seeds of Truth Radio program. Seeds of Truth airs daily to the north state of California and can be found as an iTunes Podcast where it reaches thousands of listeners in over 40 countries. In his first book with Emmaus Road, A Heart for Evangelizing, Dr. Hollcraft reflects into the principles of spiritual and pastoral theology, and its impact upon the new evangelization. Joseph has also been published with the likes of The Catechetical Review and the Homiletic and Pastoral Review. Joseph earned his B.A. and M.A. from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and received his Ph.D. from Graduate Theological Foundation with studies being completed at Oxford University. Most importantly, Joseph is a devoted husband and father. He lives in Chico, California with his beautiful wife Jackie, and their four children: Kolbe, Avila, Isaac, and Siena.

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  • Judy Silhan

    Thank you for this great reflection, Dr. Hollcraft, especially as we are preparing to enter into the season of Lent. Over doing with the dietary sweets, and similarly overdoing with negative worldly “sweets” like greed, following cultural trends, spending time watching movies or TV that certainly do not draw us closer to Christ, will, as you said, have consequences at our final judgement. When that happens, it is too late, and the damage has been done. Thank you for this wake-up call to change our spiritual habits now, to take advantage of Lent in the upcoming weeks.

  • Patricia

    Spiritual Health – Eat this:

    Enjoy Copious Sweets:
    Eat this: “Lord our God, you have given us the True Bread from Heaven – Having all sweetness within it”– Benediction Prayer.
    “As delicate palates accustomed to choice foods cab no longer enjoy ordinary dishes, so the things of earth cannot be appreciates and enjoyed when one has had an intimate experience of things divine. The Divine world is filled with supreme riches, with a sweetness beyond all dreams, and for this we were created,” Archbishop Lous Martinez

    Consume the Word:
    Eat this: Scripture: “Solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

    Protect your heart:
    Eat this: Prayer: “With all vigilance guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life” (Ps. 4:23). Give everything to Him in prayer: The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

    Cleans and Purify the Mind and Heart:
    Do this – “We offer Thee our heart; receive it and possess it wholly. Purify it. Enlighten it. Sanctify it. In my heart I treasure your promise that I may not sin against you.” “I the LORD, search the heart and examine the mind” Jeremiah 17:10. Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on worldly things. Colossians 3:1-2. . “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”(Matt 5:8).

  • Patricia

    Three Ways to Improve Our Spiritual Health

    Enjoy Copious Sweets:
    “Lord our God, you have given us the True Bread from Heaven – Having all sweetness within it”– Benediction Prayer.
    “As delicate palates accustomed to choice foods cab no longer enjoy ordinary dishes, so the things of earth cannot be appreciates and enjoyed when one has had an intimate experience of things divine. The Divine world is filled with supreme riches, with a sweetness beyond all dreams, and for this we were created,” Archbishop Luis Martinez

    Consume the Word:
    Scripture: “Solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

    Protect your heart:
    Prayer: “With all vigilance guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life” (Ps. 4:23). “Give everything to Him in prayer: The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

    Cleanse and Purify the Mind and Heart:
    “We offer Thee our heart; receive it and possess it wholly. Purify it. Enlighten it. Sanctify it.” “In my heart I treasure your promise that I may not sin against you.” “I the LORD, search the heart and examine the mind” (Jeremiah 17:10). “Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on worldly things”. (Colossians 3:1-2). “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”(Matt 5:8).

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