Jack Sprat Devotional
Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
His wife could eat no lean,
And so between the two of them,
They licked the plate clean.
It's easy to envision Jack and his wife sitting at the table with a platter of food in front of them. Jack eats all the lean items, and his wife eats all the fatty items, until the platter is licked clean. Then I envision Jack and his wife at a flea market approaching a table of desirable items. Jack takes all his favorite items and his wife takes all her favorite items until there is nothing left on the table. The empty table would leave other customers angry and frustrated because of the missed opportunity to purchase what they need at an affordable price. Even when Jack and his wife hauled all the stuff home, where does it all fit? Mr. and Mrs. Prat would have contrary opinions of where to place it in the home, which adds stress and strain to the cohabitation. In our world today, there is concern about having too much fat in the diet as we are cautioned to eat lean to avoid adverse consequences in our health. Jack Sprat might be looked upon as complying with current social trends, while his wife would be the socially rebellious one. The conflict of interest between Jack and his wife accomplishes "licking the plate clean," and what was being licked clean from the plate are fruitful attitudes. In a nutshell, it's important to share common social values with those we relate to from day to day, lest we risk bankrupting the spiritual fruit from our inner life.
Our inner life is fed by the nutrition of the spiritual fruit that is on the "plate" of our soul. When that plate is licked clean, then our personal relationships and social demeanor incites friction. The nursery rhyme could be altered to say "Jack Sprat could have no joy, his wife could have no love, between the two of them they licked the plate clean of fruitful attitudes." The relationship is like a magnet that is turned to the sides that repel and divide instead of being turned to attract and bond. As soon as one person talks about loving thoughts, or kind occurrences, or good intentions, then the other person repels with references to hateful occurrences, recalls situations of bad intentions, and relays incidents of cruelty. The spiritual fruit are liked clean within interactions to cause turmoil by harsh and aggressive wedging of opposing viewpoints. That wedging is not from an agreeable spirit, but takes the fruit of a meek and gentle spirit of peace off the plate. Optimism in the process of interacting with one another begins to fade because the fruit of joy, goodness, and faith is licked clean from the platter. Instead, each person begins to feel despair, pessimism, and evilness when trying to connect which causes the stomach to churn with negative energy within thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. The back and forth squabbling spills over into the social environment with impatience towards opposing opinions, which leads to out of control behaviors, and terminally fatal results. Cohesion in domestic and social relationships come about by leaving patience, self-control, and perseverance on the plate as an offering of shared communication. There is patience with those intending to cause friction, self-control in our responses to contrary people, and perseverance in compassion as we relate with one another.
We know the importance of remaining open to the differences of others to keep the spiritual fruit of our inner life healthy; but what would a day be like at the house of Jack Prat and his wife? A day might go something like this; when we become inspired by fruitful inclination then one spouse would counter that with a deed or word that would terminate the blossom of that inspiration. Then again, if we said something negative then the other spouse might use a tone of rebuke for showing signs of an unfruitful spirit. The plate of our soul would be licked clean of fruitful openness, and we would be prone to closing our self to any form of open expression. Unhealthy emotions would creep in with urges of out of control outbursts, or our thoughts would be impatient to say what we really think about the Mr. and Mrs. Prat, or our behaviors would be tempted to cut the visit short in a storm of pent-up hostility. In the presence of people like Jack Prat and his wife, always maintain self-control and patience to persevere in fruitful blossoms of our inner life to open self with constructive attitudes and socially adaptable behaviors.
Having some sort of inner regulation while in the presence of people like Jack Prat and his wife is important to keep our spiritual life safe and secure. That's because one spouse would gingerly convey the terror stricken state of our good world, while the other spouse would sternly announce that the solution comes through personal involvement and retaliation. In other words, while you're praying for peace through a meek and gentle spirit of peace in our world, the essence of Jack's and his wife's response is that the world is getting worst, "God help us," and people should have weapons to meet violence with violence. The effect of the Mr. and Mrs. licking the plate clean of the serene spiritual fruit is to leave your inner life filled with harsh attitudes, turmoil, violent urges, and disruptive aggression. To interrupt the cycle of bodily harm, domestic violence, and chaotic living we need to allow a tranquil spirit to regulate us through a meek and gentle attitude of peace.
Our social life could be adversely affected by Jack Prat and his wife who licks the plate clean of community decency. One spouse might communicate a pool of memories of fruitful friends you once knew, while the other spouse insist that you can connect with a trickle of current people whose lifestyle skirts mainstream society. Their joint behavior insinuates flowing with a group of people you have no taste for, but are available to connect with you. In essence, while Jack Prat and his wife places the spirit of love, goodwill, and kindness in association with the past, they place attitudes of hatred and cruel intentions in the present. Mr. and Mrs. Prat licks the plate clean of tolerance, inclusion, belonging, and intimacy to leave you with reasons to be intolerant, exclusionary, without belonging in a civil community, and apt to be among sexual offenders. In this light, we need to keep our inner life soft and moist with loving kindness to be willing to show goodwill towards humanity.
Entertain the idea for just a moment of having an alien presence living inside you, and the name is Mr. and Mrs. Jack Prat. As the Mrs. devours your body fat Jack devours your lean muscles. As sickening as this is, you can comprehend how quickly your body could be destroyed. In the nursery rhyme, the essence of what Jack Prat and his wife are doing to your inner life by licking the plate clean of spiritual qualities is equivalent to that. The work of the living deity within our soul is under attack by the "Mr. and Mrs. Jack Prat's’ of the world. The living deity is all about making us warm and strong by being our source of spiritual fruitfulness, tranquility, respect for the sanctity of life, reverence for the infinite being, and positive energy. All those divine qualities are on the plate of our inner life, and licking the plate clean by refusing to focus on fruitful points of agreement will cause the desolation of fruitful attitudes. A desolate inner life leaves us with anguish, frustration, a sourness towards life, irreverent to supernatural topics, and pessimistic towards hope.
Jack Prat and his wife would have self-actualization difficulties because of what they identify with. Self-actualization refers to being able to be the image we have of self. This also includes having the partner we feel is exactly right for us. When one mate self-actualizes by eating lean, and the other mate self-actualizes by eating fat, then their independent beliefs, desired conversation, and mode of behavior would not bond the two in a civil and fruitful union. It would be refreshing to be optimistic about the person we live our life with, but it might be difficult if we don't agree with what they say, do, and believe. This would boil over to their personal social life as well as their community life. Because both are trying to self-actualize with the people they are around, the friction from their differing viewpoints would leave others with ugly and negative feelings. This would be like being forced fed sweet and sour sauce when you prefer to have honey mustard. The atmosphere would be full of negative energy from the despair, pessimism, and hints of evil that comes from unfruitful communication. In this event, we have to know that our self-actualization comes by allowing faith, joy, and goodness to be the core of our beliefs by which we communicate and behave with optimism.