“May the Holy Eucharist – the Bread of life – become the essential, the integral and the most fundamental constituent of our ‘Spiritual Diet!’”
(Based on Acts 7:51-8:1 and Jn 6:30-35)
Our generation is a much trendier and health-conscious one….
People, especially, in the urban areas, do spend a great deal of time and energy in seeking to be more fashionable, better-looking and being healthier.
As part of this inclination, the modern trend is being highly conscious of the “diet” that one takes…
One is keen to know which food will help one’s body to remain fit and healthy
One is conscious to supplement foods that will keep one stronger and also appeal to the taste buds, at the same time.
One is also eager to plan out one’s meals and food-eating habits that suits one’s lifestyle, in order to promote good health, shape and wellbeing.
But it would be nice and good to also check what is the condition and state of our “spiritual diet”.
We do tend to give a lot of importance to our “physical diet” in terms of the food to be eaten and that which are to be avoided.
But what is the importance that we accord to our “spiritual diet”?
Is my “spiritual diet” nourishing – my soul, my spiritual wellbeing?
Is my “spiritual diet” leading me to good health – of holy thoughts and purity of heart?
The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, the Spiritual Dietician, exhorting the most important element that is to be part of the “spiritual diet” of everyone who follows Him – the Holy Eucharist – through the “Bread of Life” discourses.
After the feeding of the large multitude of people by the multiplication of the loaves, the people sought Jesus.
Jesus, knew their hearts longed not for Him, but for the bread-giver!
Jesus knew they were following not Him, but the food-provider!
So Jesus sought to put the matters in the right perspective and teaches them about the real food that they should be longing.
It is in this context that Jesus declares, “I am the bread of life; He who comes to me shall not hunger and He who believes in me, shall never thirst” (Jn 6: 35)
Jesus declares Himself as the Bread of Life.
The Greek word that is used here for “bread” is “artos”.
… refers to food composed of flour mixed with water, and baked.
… also refers to food of any kind or food in general.
As “bread” or “food” is essential for the physical life
… Jesus as “the bread of life” is required for the spiritual life!
Without bread, physical life would perish….
… Without Jesus, the bread, spiritual life would perish!
St Stephen wholly adopted Jesus to be the “Bread of his life” and thus could heroically offer his life as a martyr!
While being stoned, Stephen would imitate our Blessed Lord in reaching our forgiveness to his persecutors: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60)
When Jesus becomes the Bread of our Life…
… we learn from Him
… we imitate Him
In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus offers this “Bread of Life” for us…
… to be our nourishment and strength
… to be our sustenance and energy
… to be our life and forte
What is our disposition and attitude towards Jesus, the “Bread of Life” in the Holy Eucharist?
History is a witness, that through centuries, there have been many saints, both men and women, who have lived for major chunks of their lives, just on the Holy Eucharist.
They would take no food or drink, but ONLY received the Holy Communion, everyday.
A few notable among these saints are…
…. St Catherine of Siena (in the 1350’s….. prior to her death, for seven years, she took no food into her body, except the Holy Eucharist)
… St Nicholas of Flue (lived in Switzerland as a hermit, in the 1400’s… for nearly 19 years, lived without any food, except the Holy Eucharist)
… Blessed Alexandrina da Costa of Portugal (of the 20th century… for the last thirteen years of her life, lived on the Holy Eucharist alone)
Our Lord himself explained to Blessed Alexandrina why He gives this grace to his some of His saints:
“You are to live by the Eucharist alone,” Jesus told her, “because I want to prove to the world the power of the Eucharist and the power of my life in souls.”
This greatest Treasure of Lives – the Holy Eucharist – the Bread of Life…
… eagerly longs for our reception
… keenly awaits for our adoration
As Pope Benedict XVI says,
“In the Sacrament of the Altar, the Lord meets us, men and women created in God’s image and likeness, and becomes our companion along the way.
In this Sacrament, the Lord truly becomes food for us, to satisfy our hunger for truth and freedom.
Since only the truth can make us free, Christ becomes for us the food of truth.”
During this time of the lockdown, when we are unable to “physically” access the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist…
… we are to patiently grow – in hope – with a deeper and a renewed love for the Holy Eucharist.
We are invited, to have an intense longing for Him Spiritually
We need to frequent the Sacrament through an Act of Spiritual Communion.
Yes, let us renew our love and commitment in receiving the “Bread of Life” more frequently, more devoutly, more passionately and with greater preparedness!
Let us revive our affection and dedication to spend more time with the “Bread of Life” in the Blessed Sacrament, to gain strength, to atone for sins and to offer the world for its sanctification and healing?
May the Holy Eucharist – the Bread of life – become the essential, the integral and the most fundamental constituent of our “Spiritual Diet”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “I often speak with my Teacher – Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament – because I can learn from Him.
Jesus is the Teacher of the Science of Holiness.