I just read a quote from Mahatma Gandhi where he expresses his amazement over the fact that with millions of people starving in the world, God, quite naturally, comes to us as food. Certainly, we as Roman Catholics should be able to relate to his “amazement” considering that we consume God continually in the Eucharist. We take Him in our mouth, chew and then we swallow. Reflecting a bit more on Catholic Spirituality, we easily learn that God also “feeds” us with His Word in the Bible. Continuing with just one more thought, the author who wrote the article in which Gandhi was quoted also went so far as to say that God feeds us more than teaches us.
I feel that the last statement is more on the rhetorical side, but who knows? Let’s allow for that statement to stand on its own. The overall implication is that we are all starving for spiritual food, much like people globally are starving for physical food. And that means all of us! Ever notice that every priest-celebrant eats the Eucharist right along everyone else? So, I guess that implies God needs to feed the priests and deacons too. And he does!
There should be no surprise here on our part. A simple reflection on our every day lives easily reveals the obvious, in that all of us -no exception- eat many times a day. Why would this reality not be as true in spiritual as it is in the physical?
Reflecting further, how can hungry people feed hungry people? Well, it is done I admit. Hungry parents will eat last to ensure their hungry children are fed first. But at some point, they do have to feed themselves. The Church had a sense of this. The Church would insist that the ordained pray the Breviary several times a day. My religious order, the Congregation of Marians will insist on more. Each Marian must pray a third of the Rosary every day as well. There are also prayers of the Congregation, daily Mass of course, a one-week yearly retreat, frequent confession, and the encouragement from the Congregation for its members to get a spiritual director.
One cannot just eat junk. How often do doctors tell us to eat nourishing food as opposed to just about everything else, such as fast foods, chemically treated foods, and so on. Same concept is true in the spiritual realm. The spiritual food that an ordained person eats, along with everyone else, should be of high quality – not junk.
Finally, one needs to eat, or ought to eat, with a family. This is just as true in the spiritual realm as it is on the physical. The very notion of a family that never eats dinner together is depressing. Eating a good quality meal frequently with the whole family is the ideal, don’t you agree? And as a “quality” ideal, the dinner conversation should strive to be encouraging and supportive.
The same ideal is held for the spiritual. We do not only eat the Eucharist together, but we should also be an encouraging and supportive family too. Either everyone eats, or everyone learns the reality of hunger. There should be nobody starving! We belong to Church to learn how to feed each other. When Christ gave us the command to go throughout the world, He was saying that we all need to take the initiative. Once we were baptized, and later confirmed, we found out that we were all cooks. The ingredients, called Graces, were given to us. The Church gives us the recipes.
We have everything we need. All that really is left is the initiative part. We need to eat, and we find that we eat best -good, quality food- when we also feed others!