How many times have you found yourself wandering over to the fridge, opening it up, leaning in and slowly staring at its contents, hoping that something will yell, "EAT ME"? The gleam in your eye quickly fades as once again you have failed to spot anything worthy of consumption. Then you go over to the couch and start flipping through TV channels with the same result. The funny thing is that twenty minutes later you go back to the fridge and repeat this fruitless exercise.
While most of us can identify with the above scenario, how many of us realize that we do the same thing when it comes to the restlessness of our hearts? Saint Augustine commented on this inner agitation of the soul when he said, "Our hearts our restless until they rest in you." There is a hunger in the heart, a hunger for something substantial that sends us foraging into society seeking some level of satisfaction, something in which we can truly delight.
If parents were to give their children two hundred dollars at the beginning of the month and instruct them to provide sustenance for themselves, I think we all know what the result would be. Their diet would consist of candy, pizza and ice cream, leaving them undernourished. Well, the more things change, the more things stay the same. As adults we face the same problem. Left to ourselves we have a tendency to feed the hunger of the heart with hobbies, pop psychology, or trendy New Age gimmicks. While all of these things have elements of truth, they will always fall short of what the soul really needs, the grace that comes only from union with Christ.
Jesus is the "way, the truth and life." In the current Gospel readings, Jesus clearly spells out how He wants to feed our hearts so we truly can experience life to the fullest. He points out that no one can come to Him unless the Father who sent Him draws him. Theologians call this drawing of the heart, this wooing of the soul, prevenient grace. It is the bridegroom drawing his beloved into intimacy.
Not only is the Father drawing our hearts to Christ, but He actually invites us to commune with Him. Grumbling broke out among the Jews when Jesus stated that He was the "bread of life" that came down out of heaven. The idea was odd, to be sure, but Jesus explained to them that their ancestors ate the manna God provided in the wilderness but died. This new bread that Jesus speaks of will result in eternal life. As the Lord continued to teach, He revealed that this new bread was nothing less than His body and blood.
Jesus went on to say, "for My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." In other words, the body and blood of Jesus is what the human heart really needs. What is so tragic today is that many people who are experiencing a deep hunger of the heart don't believe that the Eucharist is the literal body and blood of Jesus. Rather, they believe that it is merely a symbol.
The Catechism teaches us what the Church has always understood. "In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist 'the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained. It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ's body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament" (No. 1374).
In a world of many choices and many voices, Jesus cuts through it all and invites you to commune with Him. Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Don't settle for junk food when you can have the real meal. Eat, drink, and pray to Mary.
A couple of things to do:
1. Take some time this week to read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church (No. 1373-1390) says about the Eucharist. After reading it, take some time to pray and ask the Lord to reveal this great mystery to you.
2. Find a parish near you that has adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. When you feel restless in your heart take some time to go and spend time with the Lord.