The Cultivation of Interior Devotion

The parable Christ tells in today’s Gospel would have been difficult for the people of His time. There were strict laws on what constituted clean food and unclean food but now Jesus is telling them that all foods are clean. In doing so, He seemingly contradicts or defies the law. Even the apostles wonder at His words. His explanation to the apostles helps us understand the purpose of the law in relation to our interior disposition. 

Laws do not exist for their own sake. That is to say that the reason for the law regarding clean and unclean foods is not simply to limit the food that the people could eat. Rather, they exist to cultivate the interior spiritual dispositions of the people. Therefore, what seems to be Christ’s abandonment of the law regarding clean and unclean food, is really a fulfillment of that law. He fulfills this law by focusing on what it is meant for. Namely, their interior devotion, not their exterior display of piety. 

The idea was that whatever we allow into our bodies is also what we produce. The same thing is true for our minds and hearts. If we allow “evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly” into our minds and hearts, we will produce all those evil things. 

Are there evil things we allow to infiltrate our peace of mind and our hearts of charity? The spirit of gossip or selfishness or judgment? Are there times when we get caught up in the distractions of our world that we forget that we are meant to be the light of Christ to others? 

May we always remember that we are meant to show Christ to others through our example of living a virtue-driven life. May we always strive to live intentionally and cultivate virtue in our relationships, vocations, jobs, and all other interactions.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at

Feature Image Credit: Luis Angel Espinosa, LC,