A hungry person does not inquire as to the recipe of the soup, nor does the thirsty person question the molecular composition of the water that slakes thirst. Rather the hungry know their hunger, the thirsty know their thirst. They gratefully receive what is offered – soup, bread, water, the sustenance of life…
Currently I am, and have been for a while, working toward a theology degree. My second, in fact. But my hunger is not for theology. It is for God. However study and information and ideas and analysis can sometimes cause one to forget one’s hunger. One begins asking about ingredients, and recipes, and things of the mind rather than the real spiritual hunger that leads us to God, and that draws us together around a hearth in a community of those who hunger.
The ingredients of the soup, the composition of the water can be a refuge for those who have forgotten their hunger, who no longer feel their thirst. Then the “recipes” – whether Christological, Eucharistic, Biblical, or other – can become recipes for criticism and comparison.
They can also distract us from our true hunger, and thus our true poverty. And yet our own emptiness is the birthplace of true knowledge, of true compassion, of true community.
I hope that in addition to sitting at the living room hearth with a book in hand, that I always sit even longer at the kitchen hearth – aware of my emptiness, receiving God’s fullness, and sharing God’s bounty with others – understanding that the ‘recipe’ is one I will never understand. Because true grace, true gift, is beyond understanding. My limited understanding, my words, cannot capture or contain the height and breadth of the Eternal Word. Nor can the understanding or words of the person next to me at the hearth. Our shared spiritual hunger brings us together to the hearth of blessing. May other, lesser, hungers not pull us apart.