The Food that Nourishes
God is feeding me and what I’m praying for is an appetite.”
– Flannery O’Connor
A few nights ago, our dog – Fergus – pulled a funny little stunt. He has a ritual that he performs each and every night: After dinner he goes scavenging under the table just hoping for some crumbs. (what a scriptural dog! – see Mt. 15:27)
Well, wouldn’t ya know it, low and behold, he found a little scrap had indeed fallen. What ensued next has kept me chuckling for days! When – to his utter horror – he realized it was KALE!, he spit it out with such fury. NO, I’m not kidding. I mean, not only did he spit it out, but he did so with a marked disgust. Shaking his head and doing all he could to get that green leafy grossness out of his mouth. He succeeded in doing that, as well as giving me such a laugh! Thanks, Ferg!
He also got me thinking about how often – on a different plane – we (rational human beings) do the same thing with the good food that can truly nourish us. Kale? Well, yes perhaps… But think about the food of suffering, of disappointment, of rejection, of sickness, of loss, and the list goes on and on. Um…I think I’ll take the kale, please!
“My food is to do the Will of My Father…”
Yes, at times Our Lord shares His Cross with us (either through His ordaining or permissive Will). Why? Well, – simply put – because He loves us and desires our eternal salvation! No doubt He is feeding us the type of food that will truly nourish our soul, will help us to reach our ‘fighting weight’ so to speak, and will keep us longing for more. He feeds us food that is uniquely ‘cooked’ for us. In each bite, even when bitter, we find His love. He feeds us food that is specialized to nourish the parts of our soul that are weak and flagging. God feeds us, as Flannery says. We can be sure of this. So what we ought to pray for is an appetite.
Think of a mother who practically has to force-feed her toddler everything except ice cream. She makes a home-cooked meal, only to have a little nose turned up at it…”I’m not hungry.” Then, a few minutes later, he is pleading for a cookie! Little ones! Ah…aren’t we all little ones to the Lord! And to what measure does our good Jesus not go to make sure we eat that which will nourish and sustain us!
This upcoming week we have some great examples of our brothers and sisters in the faith who ATE a heaping portion of the food that nourishes. I’m gonna take some time this week to meditate on the lives of the Saints whose feasts we will celebrate: St. Jerome, St. Therese, St. Francis, St. Faustina. I encourage you to join me in this pondering – to spend time looking at their lives, and how they encountered God (in good times and bad), and ate what was set before them! And how it nourished them…how gloriously it nourished them.
It will do the same for me and you.