Archive for the ‘advent’ Category

By Charles W. Sidoti, BCC

The phrase food for the journey is traditionally associated, in Catholicism, with reception of the Eucharist by the dying and their final journey from this life to eternal life through death. This concept can be traced back to the days of Roman temple worship to the belief that the final meal of a dying person provided them with strength to cross over the River Styx, an ancient mythological river that is believed to separate the living from the dead. With Jesus having left us the Eucharistic meal in his memory, the early Christians adapted a similar custom in regard to Holy Communion. The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist was seen as the ideal food to strengthen a dying person. By the year 325 it was a recommendation that Communion be given to the dying as Viaticum, a Latin word that means “food for the journey.” It is something that we do to this very day.

Fr. Richard Leonard, S.J. wrote about the phrase in a July 2009 America Magazine article titled, Food for the Journey. In the article Leonard discusses the phrase in a way that expands its meaning, making it relevant to our daily life. The following is an excerpt:

In recent years this ancient phrase in relation to the Eucharist has reappeared and become popular. Rather than exclusively refer to the last Holy Communion we might take in this life, “food for the journey” (as used in the 21st Century) has come to mean the spiritual nourishment that the Eucharist gives us to live out our faith each day.

Whether we are nearing death or pursuing our normal daily activities we will always need this spiritual food to sustain us as material food is needed to sustain our bodies.

Vatican II tells us that the Holy Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen gentium, no. 11; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1324). However, many of us can recall from our Catholic religious formation that the Eucharistic meal within the Sacrament of Holy Communion is not the only place in which God is present and available to us. We are taught that God’s presence is also revealed in the written word (Sacred Scripture) and in the other Sacraments. In addition to these traditional teachings it is important to realize that God is present to us, is revealed to us, in the created world, in the ordinariness of our daily activity. It is true to say that our daily lives are, in reality, not ordinary at all. This is true because of the mystical presence of God that each individual moment contains.   In referring to the way in which God is present in our daily life, famous Catholic writer Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen often used the phrase, “The grace of the present moment.”

The reflections in “Simple Contemplative Spirituality” will help you to develop a contemplative awareness of God’s presence in the world. Simply stated, a contemplative is one who acknowledges God in all of creation and strives to develop the awareness of God’s presence in daily living, in the created world, in addition to the written word and in the Sacraments. As Christians each one of us are called to approach life with a contemplative mindset. Spiritual growth is about becoming increasingly aware of the many ways in which God is always, everywhere, and in all things, present to nurture us with food for our daily journey from within the very circumstances of our life.


This article is an excerpt from my newest book “Simple Contemplative spirituality.”  This is a traditionally published book.  Click below to view and / or purchase on the publishers website:


By Charles W. Sidoti, BCC

The Holiday Season, for many of us, holds deep religious meaning. Much of that meaning is centered around the need for hope in our personal lives, and in our world. During this time we may participate in religious observances in which we seek enlightenment. The following words are from Anthony DeMello’s book, “One-Minute Wisdom,” they speak about how enlightenment comes to us:

Novice: “Is there anything I can do to make myself enlightened ?”  Abbot:  “As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.” Novice:   “Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?” Abbot:   “To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.” (Anthony DeMello, One Minute Wisdom)

In this Holiday Season our world represents many faith traditions. In the spirit of love, light and peace that our various traditions represent let us wait together in the hope that our inner eyes will be open as the sun begins to rise.


Please take a moment to check out my Home Page for meaningful Holiday Gift Ideas!

Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time

A book by Charles W. Sidoti, BCC

An excerpt: No one likes to wait.  We often find it difficult to accept, and yet so much of our life’s journey seems to involve waiting for God to reveal the hidden meaning behind the changes that take place in our lives.  It is important to realize that not all waiting is the same.  Waiting on God is not like waiting for a red light to turn green, where nothing really changes except the color of the light.  As we wait on the Lord, there are significant and purposeful things occurring behind the scenes.  These “things”  are God’s work taking place within the changes that occur in our lives.  The reason you and I have to wait is because God’s work is accomplished and revealed to us in the daily unfolding of our lives, slowly and over time.


This is the perfect book to read during Advent and great gift idea for someone that you care about.  In, Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Timeyou will find insights that can help you to face the times in which you are forced to wait out a situation, and do so with hope in your heart.  It is my prayer in writing this book that it help you to see the time that you spend waiting on the Lord as a time that is full of promise – God’s promise.

Read the Introduction, Table of Contents and a Sample Chapter on the Twenty-Third Publications website:

Buy it on Amazon:

By Charles W. Sidoti, BCC

One of the greatest influences in my spiritual life is an audiotaped lecture called “A Spirituality of Waiting” by the late Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen. Over the years I have returned to this wonderful lesson during Advent, always finding its message fresh and meaningful. I have come to realize that having “a waiting heart,” as Fr. Nouwen suggests, not only fits well with the Advent theme of waiting; it also describes a very basic, central stance of the spiritual life.

Fr. Nouwen begins by stating the obvious, that waiting is “something that goes against our grain.” Few people look forward to a situation in which they know they will have to wait. Being told that we have to wait seems to force us into passivity. Our society looks at waiting as a “kind of desert between where we are and where we want to be, and we don’t like that place.  We want to get going.”

However, the waiting attitude that Sacred Scripture invites us to embrace is not passive but rather “active waiting — waiting on God’s promise to be fulfilled,” which is much different from how we usually think of waiting. The people we meet in the first pages of St. Luke’s gospel are all waiting: Zechariah, Elizabeth, and Mary. All of them hear, in one way or another, the words, “do not be afraid, I have something good to tell you.” It is then that they are able to wait for something new to happen. The psalms are full of this attitude of waiting: “My soul is waiting on the Lord … more than the watchman for daybreak.” This message reverberates throughout the Hebrew and New Testament Scriptures.

During Advent, the community of the faithful wait, as did the waiting Israel, anticipating the coming of Christ into our hearts bringing peace, healing, and wholeness. We will not be disappointed. Some ways we can help nurture the attitude of waiting upon the Lord include participation in special Advent liturgies; songs and opportunities for community prayer; silent reflection; prayerful reading of scripture; simply having conversations with God; faith sharing opportunities; and the practice of spiritual reading. No matter what we do, we should remember these words from Anthony DeMello’s  book, “One-Minute Wisdom,” about how the light of Christ comes to us:

Novice:  “Is there anything I can do to make myself enlightened?”  

Abbot:  “As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning.”

Novice:  “Then of what use are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?”

Abbot:  “To make sure you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise.”

As stewards reflecting Christ, let us wait, watch, and wonder, as the light of Christ born anew begins to rise in our hearts during the holy season of Advent.


By Charles W. Sidotiauthor of these two inspirational books!


NEW BOOK!!  Click to view and / or learn more about “SIMPLE CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY” on the publisher’s website:


“Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time” – on Amazon