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What are you Hungry For?

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Imagine for a moment that you are Satan. You’re the master deceiver, the father of lies, diabolical, and you’re fully set on stealing as many souls from God as possible.

How would you do it? I’m sure we could imagine a thousand different ideas, but let me propose one strategy we can witness at play in today’s world. First, let’s consider how the Church has grown and spread throughout history. A primary mode of growth for Christianity has been through acts of love and service. This should be no surprise as it’s the model Jesus established.

In the Gospels, we see that Jesus almost always addresses a human need before addressing a spiritual need. He heals and drives out demons, then He preaches the beatitudes. He feeds thousands, then He gives the Bread of Life discourse. He stops a crowd from stoning an adulteress to death, then tells her to go and sin no more. He calms the storm, then challenges His disciples to have greater faith.

Through a similar model, the Church has grown throughout history. Faithful disciples cared for the poor and lowly. Missionaries traveled to new lands where they built hospitals and schools. Immigrants found welcome and family in small faith communities. And while addressing these human needs, the disciples preached the Good News of Jesus Christ. Wherever you find Christianity spreading, you find missionary disciples clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, teaching the ignorant, visiting the imprisoned and sheltering the homeless.

So, what diabolical plan would stop Christianity’s spread in its tracks? Build a world where nobody needs anything.

Of course, I am painting with broad strokes, but many in our communities don’t want for life’s necessities. Maybe we can’t afford that Corvette we’ve always dreamed of, but most of us have food, clothing and shelter. We have access to education. We can show up at a hospital and someone will care for us. We have seemingly limitless access to entertainment and comfort right at our fingertips. It’s a truly diabolical plan. It leaves many people asking, “Why would I ever need Church?” And that question is only a short step from, “Why would I ever need God?”

The Eucharist is God’s gift of Himself for our salvation, but notice how Jesus spoke about the Eucharist in Scripture. He told people that if only they would eat this bread, they’d never be hungry again! If only they would drink this wine they’d never be thirsty again. These were people who experienced hunger and thirst in a way most of us never have, and likely never will! Today, Jesus’ promise often falls on deaf ears: I’m never hungry anyways, so why do I need your Living Bread?

If you ever struggled with your belief in the Eucharist or your personal relationship with the Eucharist, try this: Allow yourself to go hungry and see how that changes things for you. You can focus on fasting for one hour before Mass, but you could also try other ways to make yourself “hungry.”

• Try eating or drinking nothing but water from bedtime on Saturday night until after Mass on Sunday morning.
• Try giving a little more financially than you normally do—a 1% increase is a good place to start.
• Try setting the thermostat two degrees colder.
• Make one small sacrifice every day, like drinking one less cup of coffee, eating the salad instead of the cheeseburger, or foregoing the radio while driving in the car.

Our modern culture feels like we don’t really need anything— including God. It’s a diabolical plan. And so, it might just be that the best way to grow closer to the Eucharist is to remember what it feels like to hunger.

Dominick Albano is The Catholic Telegraph’s director of digital engagement, an author and national speaker. He and his wife have been married for 15 years and have four sons. [email protected]

This article appeared in the February 2023 edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.

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