One of the monks tells us this story. One day when he was a four or five, he was playing in his backyard when he noticed, of all things, scraps of chocolate cake on the lawn. A neighbor had thrown bits of stale cake onto the grass for the birds to eat. Without thinking twice he picked up some cake and started munching. It was definitely a bad move. His mother happened to be looking out the window and saw what he was doing. She roared, “Stop. What will the neighbors think! If you’re hungry just ask, and I'll give you something to eat, anything you want.” And he admits after all that the cake definitely quite dry, quite stale and not very tasty.
Christ Jesus wants more for us. What the more is, each of us probably knows somewhere, way down in the depth of our own heart. Like our friend’s mom, he wants us to come to him for everything we need. His loving regard is healing, drawing us, calling us away from all the stuff that distracts us, all the things that we think might be nourishing but are just stale, dry and not at all life-giving.
In the Eucharist he gives us everything - his very Self as our Food. He is the living Bread; his flesh real Food, his Blood real Drink. He is our hope, our fulfillment, well worth hungering after. Riches, accomplishments - whether spiritual or material - are nothing in comparison with him. And so he sets the table for us and cries out to us, “Come, eat and drink.”
Photograph by Brother Brian.