Keep Eating but Stay Hungry

The Holiness of the Here and Now – Part 12

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

–Luke 1:51-53 (ESV)

Oh, bread of angels! Heavenly manna! Gospel pearl! Sacrament of the present moment! You give us God under such menial forms as a manger, hay, and straw. And who is this God given to? To the hungry, as we are told, “He has filled the hungry with good things” (Luke 1:53).

–Jean Pierre de Caussade

The contradiction of a healthy spiritual life is that you are always filled yet always hungry. God still fills the hungry with good things; he satisfies them with spiritual blessings. But if such blessings were to remove your hunger, they would cease to be given.

Consider your physical life. If you could eat once and never be hungry again, would you do it? You would still need to eat to live, but you would not feel the hunger. Maybe you would be relieved never to hunger again. On the other hand, maybe eating would become another boring obligation. Maybe hunger is not worth sacrificing. Poverty and lack are a curse, no doubt, and we should do all we can to fight them. But hunger itself? It seems to be a part of a healthy, balanced life.

Now consider your spiritual life. There, the answer is clear. Spiritually, you are made to stay hungry. Even as God satisfies you, the desire for more is healthy. What is not healthy is to think that you have had enough of God—enough of his blessings, enough of his presence, enough of his love and grace.

The Holiness of the Here and Now is a daily devotional that I am currently working on. When I am finished, there will be 365 chapters like the one above. Meanwhile, I am sharing this work-in-progress. Like the Facebook page to see content like this in your feed.