Live + Jesus
Hungry for God
Thirty-six years ago, give or take a month, my very articulate three-and-a-half-year-old nephew announced that he was going to Sunday Mass with me. And so we--Charlie and I--ceremoniously boarded my old Gremlin and headed off to Church. Once at St. Agnes, we marched up the main aisle and close to the front so he would be able to see what was happening on the altar.
By Communion time he was a bit restive, so I picked him up and took him with me to receive a blessing when I received the Eucharist. He was looking very attentively over my shoulder.
Suddenly he lurched to escape my arms. He had noticed that some folks still remained in the pews. He gave a penetrating screech: "Why aren't those people coming to get Jesus?" Then he twisted and let it out full force: "What's the matter with you people? Aren't you hungry for God?"
(We left right after Communion. I don't think I have been in that Church since.)
But the moment never left me. What does it mean to be hungry for God? Why am I not more fervent in my reception of the Eucharist?
Francis de Sales once wrote to Jane de Chantal:
You tell me that you feel more than usually starved for Holy Communion . . . Humble yourself as much as you can, my daughter, and warm yourself with the holy love of Christ crucified, so that you can spiritually digest that heavenly food as you should.But what do you think this means, digesting Jesus Christ spiritually? People with good spiritual digestion feel that Jesus Christ, their food, penetrates to every part of their soul and their body. They have Jesus Christ in their head, heart, breast, eyes, hands, tongue, ears and feet. He loves in our hearts, understands with our heads, inspires our actions; he sees through our eyes, he speaks with our tongues. He does everything in us, and then we live, not we ourselves. but Jesus Christ lives in us. . .
If only we long for our Savior, then I have every hope that our digestion will be good.So--two things I try to remember: put all my distractions away when I approach the sacrament, and to trust that even if I am not aware of it, my body and soul are hungry for God and need to be hungry for God if I want to allow Jesus to live in me, and use my eyes, my heart, my entire body--to live in me.
(Francis de Sales, Selected Letters)
May God be Praised!
Mada-anne Gell, VHM