Simple Yet Profound
We’re all aware of the need to nourish our bodies. The right nourishment comes from eating the right foods in the right quantities at the right times. For example, a person can eat an entire chocolate cake right before he goes to bed. It may satisfy his hunger, but it will do little to nourish his body. A person who continues this practice for several weeks may start having difficulties with his physical health.
The same principle applies to spiritual nourishment. The key to proper spiritual nourishment is that we receive the right nourishment in the right quantities at the right time. For example, the living Word of God as found in Scripture offers nourishment, but if I try to read the entire Bible in one afternoon I probably won’t retain much information or gain proper understanding. I may actually damage my spiritual well-being because of personal biases, misunderstanding, and poor interpretation.
So, what is the best balance of spiritual nourishment for the most effective and healthy spiritual life? I can think of no better example than the one given in the celebration of the Eucharist. In this celebration we find two tables, the table of the Word and the table of the Eucharist. The living Word of God is proclaimed, and we receive instruction in its meaning. We don’t need a lot of Scripture in one setting; we need just enough to lead us to a spiritual insight for the day. The homily inspires and teaches us how the Word of God can transform our lives. Then we offer prayers and petitions, putting that Word into practice.
As we move to the table of the Eucharist, we bring forth gifts that symbolize our hopes, dreams, fears, thanksgivings, and memories. We give our lives to God, who through the power of the Holy Spirit transforms our gifts into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. A divine exchange has taken place.
Our life is given to God, and God gives us back the life of his son, Jesus Christ. We find our daily bread—spiritual nourishment—in him. We are filled with divine life that transforms us into the fullness of who God wants us to be. Here we find the source of strength to witness in faith, hope, and charity and to nourish the world with the love of God.
Each time we approach the eucharistic celebration, we are renewed, strengthened, enlightened, empowered, and transformed. It’s spiritual nourishment from true spiritual food.
The meal is simple and profound, but then again, that is how God always speaks to our hearts.