“ ‘I am the living bread, which came down from heaven.’ For that reason living, because I came down from heaven. The manna also came down from heaven; but the manna was only a shadow, this is the truth.”

Saint Augustine

The Israelites were given manna from heaven to sustain them during their wanderings in the desert. Yet they soon tired of this wonderful food from God which saved them! They began to complain against it, murmuring, wishing for the foods they had in Egypt (see Nm 11:4-6). The writer J.R.R. Tolkien once recognized the same movements of heart in himself. He writes, “I am the one who came out of Egypt…. Out of wickedness and sloth I almost ceased to practice my religion…. Not for me, the Hound of Heaven, but the never ceasing silent appeal of Tabernacle, and the sense of starving hunger.” We, too, might be tempted to complain about the food. We doubt its efficacy, falling prey to a kind of consuming spiritual sorrow (the Desert Fathers called this acedia). Are we tempted to lament the Eucharist? Do we turn away, seeking satisfaction in other foods?

Lord Jesus, you are the true manna, the spiritual food that nourishes and sustains. May my heart long for you and never tire of the refreshment you offer. Keep me always hungry for you in the desert of this life. Amen.

Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, OP, Eucharist
© 2022 by Our Sunday Visitor (with permission)