The Journey to Resurrection
(Lent, Holy Week and Easter in a Monastery) Day 11 “Hunger”
“Your hunger for God should never be satiated. God can never satiate you: the more you possess God, the more you desire him.” Meister Eckhart
It is Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday). I got to sleep in till 6 am since Laudes was an hour latter. Today we begin the Great three days (The Pascal Triduum). There is quiet and expectation in the Monastery. In the morning everyone was reviewing their duties over the coming days at the many liturgies to follow.
Confessions, Readers, Acolytes, Celebrants…etc.
The Three days are a time of timelessness. The betrayal, passion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is bound up in one sacred action that takes place between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday. They are days of stillness, silence, fasting, watching and waiting.
It is here where one gets most in touch with one of humanities greatest desires and needs “hunger for God.” How easy it is for us to knows when we feel physical hunger. But spiritual hunger? How and When? I think I have always been hungry for God. I am a God foodie! This goes back into my early childhood. My early memories are around prayer and lifting my heart and voice to God as a child. I was fascinated by the “Mass” as a child. I would play mass with my neighbors and even gave communion to protestant children to the distress of their parents. This was before Ecumenism. I used to walk to the mailbox at my grandparents farm which was about a half mile walk, singing all the hymns and mass propers we had sung at church on Sunday.
Sometimes I wish I still had that childlike sense of play when it comes to prayer as an adult. It is hard to rescue. Prayer was so natural to me. I still enjoy so much singing the psalms aloud daily with the Monastic Office. I also sing the phos hilaron (Radiant Light) every time I get to see a Sunset in Action. There is still a song in my heart even at 60.
My time here in the Monastery helps me to get in touch with my hunger for God. Also my real hunger for food since daily I am fed with fresh food from the Monastery, cheese, bread, meats, sausage, vegetables, apples, and beer. Integrating both spiritual and physical hungers is the challenge ever before me.
These are the final hours of the Lenten journey. They are final hours with Christ himself as we “remember”. And “relive” (Anamnesis) those final acts of love and self offering. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamnesis_(Christianity))
“ those who eat of me will still be hungry”. Meister Eckhart.
“The soul becomes larger”, says Benedictine Andre Gozier, “ through an expansion of its capacity to receive. Each new intervention by God makes it grow. It is always fulfilled by God. Always in a state of wanting him even more,”
We start the Triduum with a Paschal meal with Jesus at his last Supper. “This is my body given for you, this is my blood shed for you.” It is at the Eucharist where our physical and spiritual hungers are integrated into one. The Lutheran concept that the eucharist is both food and the Body and Blood of Christ (real food and real presence) somehow points to this mystery of sharing in both sacred meal and mystical union. What matters is that we Hunger for him and are satisfied only by Him. Then, as with our daily routine, begin to hunger again.
May we always hunger. Or even better may we always know that we are hungry.
Pic The side altar at St Ottilien. The Germanic Christ 19c offers himself in Body and Blood.