Reflecting on the Rule of Benedict Joan Chittister writes “Choosing God means having to concentrate on nourishing the soul rather than on sating the flesh, not because the flesh is bad but because the flesh is not enough to make the human fully human. To give ourselves entirely to the pleasures of the body may close us to beauties known only to the soul.”

What are you really hungry for?

For me, body and soul are intricately connected. I experience the beauties known “only to my soul” in and through my body. I feel the power of God’s love when the sun warms my skin, when the breeze blows through my hair, when I sweat profusely, when I make love with my husband.

Prayer, worship, even reading the Bible are embodied practices. I pray with my heart, worship with my arms stretched out or my head bowed down, read the Bible with what one saint (whose name always forget) called the ears of my inner spirit. Body and soul are one.

Many of us may not even know we hunger for spiritual practices that connect body and soul. Yet when that need isn’t met our soul hungers may manifest in compulsive eating or sexual activity–the most readily available “pleasures of the body” and the only embodied pleasure many of us ever even think about.

I sometimes wonder if the lettuce and tomato on a hamburger is some peoples last connection to nature. So busy working, engaging with media, connecting with people, many of us in urban areas may not even know we hunger for connection to nature–to sun, wind, trees, and sky.

Are you hungry for beauties known only by your soul but that are experienced in and through your body? What of the following physical hungers might your embodied soul be longing for?

One of my favorite artists - Marc Chagall's Song of Songs

Nature

Movement

Open space

Water (drink, soak, play)

Sensual touch

Beauty to see with your eyes

Beauty to hear with your ears

Beauty to feel with your skin

Beauty to smell with your nose

What will you do to feed your hungry soul today or this week? What will you choose?