Given our fickle and fragile human condition here on earth, we have to feel the need to feed our desire for God. We know all too well that such desire, when we have it, would not last long unless we do something to keep it burning. We are notorious for being easily carried away by merely worldly and temporal interests.
We are reminded of this need in that gospel episode where a crowd, after Christ fed them with loaves of bread and then left, felt the need to look for Christ. (cfr. Jn 6,22-29) They were surprised that they met Christ in the other side of the sea when they did not see him take a boat. They did not know, of course, that Christ walked on the water to be with his apostles on the boat to cross the sea.
When they asked how Christ got there, Christ replied: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
This reply of Christ is crucial for us to understand. It gives us the way of how we can keep our desire for God burning as it should. It is when we properly receive Christ himself through the Bread of Life that he gives us. This Bread of Life is now freely and abundantly given to us through the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
It’s important that we receive Christ properly. That means that when we receive him in Holy Communion, we should not just do it out of a sense of mere compliance and formality. We should receive him with a living faith, and not just professed faith.
In that gospel episode cited above, the crowd asked how they, as a consequence of receiving Christ as the Bread of Life, can do the works of God. Christ simply told them: “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
In other words, we really should have a strong, deep and abiding faith in Christ. Thus, we need to avail of certain relevant means to keep that faith and the life of piety going, whatever the situation of our life.
We should avail of certain spiritual exercises, like prayer, sacrifices and mortifications, recourse to the sacraments, continuing spiritual and doctrinal formation, etc., to develop in us a true and deep devotion, sharpening our attraction always to Christ.
It’s important to realize that the net effect of all these should be a strong and abiding feeling of intimacy with God, a strong attraction to him. We should not allow our attractions to stop at the level of some earthly and temporal goods only. It should be God and his will and ways that should attract us most.
Let’s always remember that if it is not God who attracts us, then it is something else. And that something else can be none other than what is opposed to God. Remember Christ saying, “Whoever is not with me is against me…” (Mt 12,30)
We should be always mindful of our need to have the proper focus in our life. We should do everything to be able to have that focus, given the fact that in our earthly life, we cannot help but get immersed in so many earthly and temporal things.*