Skip to comments.Food Fight: A meditation on our struggle to see passed our worldly hunger.
Posted on 06/12/2014 1:38:47 AM PDT by markomalley
We live in times that tend to emphasize the physical and the material. And this even affects those of us who strive to have a spiritual life. Too easily we assess our blessings in ways that emphasize material things more than spiritual. We feel blessed if our income is good, and a physical health intact, but many seem to have little esteem for spiritual gifts like wisdom (which often comes from suffering) knowledge of the truth, and fortitude or courage.
Our prayers often skew heavily toward asking God to fix our finances, fix our health, or alleviate some discomfort in this world. While it is not wrong to pray for these sorts of things, at times it almost sounds as though we were saying to God, Make this world comfortable enough for me and Ill just stay here forever. Were a little bit like the second son and the prodigal son story who wants a kid goat to celebrate with his friends, rather than to go into the party and celebrate with his father (Luke 15).
But the true goal in life is not to celebrate with our friends, it is to celebrate with the Father! Yet youd never know it from the way many pray. King Jesus is a listening all day long just to hear some sinner pray asking for wisdom, greater love for God, deeper prayer, greater longing for spiritual things, chastity, generosity, proper priorities and so forth.
We also see something of this in the first temptation in the desert, where Satan temps Jesus, who is hungry, to turn stones into bread. The basic temptation is to distract Jesus from his fundamental mission as redeemer and to have him use his power to satisfy his own hunger, rather than to liberate souls.
Of itself, satisfying hunger is not evil. We all need to eat in moderation so as to have strength to do what God asks. But Jesus of course had gone into the desert to fast as a way to strengthen his soul and prepare for his mission.
There are simply things more important and critical and physical hunger, and physical needs. The needs of our soul are more important ultimately than the needs of our body. And thus, if food or drink or sex, while not evil in themselves, were to endanger our soul or hinder our spiritual mission, they should be refused.
Jesus refutes Satan by saying that man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Bread alone or the physical world alone do not supply our needs. Mans life does not consist in possessions (Lk 12:15). We are not only physical beings, we have a soul that it has its hungers, and the Word of God must answer these hungers.
This is balanced. But, Satan would have us off balance and have us overly concerned, even obsessed with the needs of the body and other daily, worldly concerns.
Parents for example will show great concern over the academic grades of their children many show little similar concern for the spiritual lives of their children or even important aspects of their moral lives. Our culture shows great concern to overcome physical maladies such as heart disease, AIDS, cancer, and so forth, but theres little similar concern for the spiritual and moral maladies that often underlie many of our social ills and even contribute to our physical illnesses.
Jesus does not deny that there is a place for bread and the physical needs and daily life that the bread symbolizes. He merely says man does not live by bread alone, and that the Word of God, the truth of God, the beauty, the holiness, and the glory of God, is also to be food for our soul.
Father Livio Fanzaga has well written:
With the cutting sword of the Word of God, Jesus removes the mask of one of the most current and devastating Satanic lies. Man is not an animal trapped in the short-term cycle of matter. He is a spiritual being who needs to find divine truth even before material food even before material food. Never before as in our time Satan has taken succeeded in promising happiness through material goods Man is reduced to the hungers of his body [And thus] the liar succeeds in depriving man of his dignity, his beauty, his greatness, and his immortal and divine destiny. (The Deceiver, p. 118-119)
For the Church too there are great temptations in this materialist time. Great esteem is given to the corporal works of mercy such as feeding the sick, clothing the naked and so forth. It is clear, these are important, necessary, and glorious works without which we cannot be saved (Matt 25:31ff) And yet, seldom are the Spiritual Works of Mercy mentioned today in Church settings. But they are essential and, frankly, foundational to the corporal works of mercy,
Here too, Father Fanzaga has much wisdom for us, stating that
Satans temptation to turn stones into bread quote is a permanent temptation for the Church until the end of time. The Church is certainly placed in this world and shares its joys and sufferings, hopes and defeats The Church has always promoted the human growth of society, but her ends the eternal salvation of souls.The temptation to secularize the Church, orienting her towards human promotion and removing her from her supernatural objectives, is among the most subtle and insidious. This temptation has led many parishes and religious communities to abandon prayer, catechesis, sacrifice, and the supernatural means of apostolate involving themselves and social activities that empty the Christian presence of its meaning. [It is an] earthly messianism, a Christianity reduced to humanitarian religion, a Church that becomes a sort of Red Cross of the world. (The Deceiver, p 117)
It is the subtle proposal of Satan, distracting the Church from her primary mission so Satan can continue to spiritually wreak havoc, while the Churchs attention is wholly directed elsewhere.
It is a kind of food fight: Bread for the body rather than the Bread of life unto eternal salvation. Matter is all that matters. Satan does not trap us with evil, but with what is good yet out of proportion. Bread .bread .bread! Bread is all that matters. Meanwhile the soul is neglected an famished.
Jesus rebuked the men of his day who sought him out for another free meal of multiplied loaves: Jesus answered them and said, Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs [to have faith], but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal. (Jn 6:27)
The bread had become their idol, for they valued it more than the very God who stood before them and provided it in the first place. No faith for Jesus, but only desire for bread. Properly understood their desire could have led them to Jesus, but they could not see passed the bread to the Bread of Life who stood before them. Indeed, not by bread alone, but by every Word from the mouth of God, by the Word made flesh, are we to live.
Yet another one of these posts that the USCCB and Msgr’s own Ordinary should read.
A “not holding my breath” Msgr Pope ping.
Shouldn’t that be “see past” not “see passed?”
You'll just have to ask Msgr Pope that question. I just copied and pasted his title:
(I put a screenshot in here now in case he fixes it once somebody points it out to him LOL)
I continue to pray the the Monseigneur will find a proof reader.
See my post #6. There are multiple errors. It’s distracting. I love his wisdom but he needs someone to read it before it is posted on his blog.
I have always maintained that 99% of the clergy were totally out of touch with the realities of life, and this confirms my suspicion. Here is a local pastor (and from a few snide remarks he's let slip about republicans I suspect an 0bama supporter) who wants to spend other peoples' money for a grandiose and unnecessary vision. Like all liberals the sky is the limit when other people are paying for it. Also there wasn't a single hard number projection for either the cost or the benefits of the new taj mahal that has been shared with the parishoners. I think the cost is being kept secret because he's afraid of the negative reaction, and I'm pretty sure the hard number benefits simply don't exist.
Which brings me to the next point. This proposed spending program is being presented without any reference to actual costs because in the mind of our esteemed pastor we're simply immature children who don't know how best to spend the hard earned money we work for, and if we'd just give him enough of it he could put it to so much better use than we who earned it could. Pompous condescending jerk. I think the church has 1800 families (not sure on this) and if the the proposed expansion costs less than $20,000,000 I'll be greatly surprised.. so doing the math, this works out to $11,111 per family "But wait there's more" most of the families don't have a few thousand they want to get rid of just sitting under ths sofa cushions (I know I don't.) so say 1/4 of the families are fiscally ABLE to support his travesty. That works out to $45,000 per family that Msgr Grab-a-dollar expects to be coughed up to support his pipe dream.
Clergy = NO GRASP OF FISCAL REALITIES
Looks like somebody should have had their knuckles rapped with a ruler for not paying attention in spelling and grammar class.
Rely on spellcheck and this what happens. passed. past.
Not often that I see grammatical errors in Monsignor’s writings. Let alone the title. Maybe someone else wrote the title?
The spiritual works of mercy are:
To instruct the ignorant;
To counsel the doubtful;
To admonish sinners;
To bear wrongs patiently;
To forgive offences willingly;
To comfort the afflicted;
To pray for the living and the dead.
I think we are more familiar with these —
the corporal works of mercy is as follows:
To feed the hungry;
To give drink to the thirsty;
To clothe the naked;
To harbour the harbourless;
To visit the sick;
To ransom the captive;
To bury the dead.
Sometimes it is reassuring to know that one gifted with wisdom and eloquence can also be so beautifully human too!
Spelling errors aside, this was a timely article. I enjoyed it, thank you.