"If you hunger
for holiness, God will satisfy your longing, good measure, and flowing
(LH, vol. III, p. 935, antiphon for EP)
Jesus desires to continue to live his
holy, spiritual hunger and thirst in the world through the hearts of
intercessors: A driven hunger to do the Father's will, and an insatiable thirst
for the salvation of souls. In order for this to happen, our inordinate,
worldly "appetites and cravings" need to be purified. Then, desire will be
awakened within us to our vital need for God. In John 6:27, Jesus exhorts us,
"Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for
eternal life, which the Son of man will give you." Jesus promises to give us
the "essential food and drink" that will satisfy our spiritual senses
(faculties): "Whoever comes to me will never hunger" (John 6:35); and,
"Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink" (John 7:37B).
We hear this awakened heart desire in
the words of the psalm writer:
"As the deer
longs for streams of water,
So my soul
longs for you, O God.
thirsts for God, the living God"
"O God, you
are my God--for you I long!
For you my body
yearns, for you my soul thirsts…
For your love
is better than life…"
(Ps. 63:2, 4)
note the repetitive phrase, "For you". When our healed and purified
hearts are "for God" we begin to love God more deeply. A heart that is for
God seeks to please him in every way.In TheSong of Songs the beloved speaks to her lover, "How
much more delightful is your love than wine" (Songs 1:2). When one is in
love with God, one begins to be fed and satisfied at a deeper heart level:
found your words, I devoured them;
my joy and the happiness of my heart,
bore your name,
O LORD,God of hosts"
one desires to obey God more readily: "How you loved me as a bride, following
me in the desert, in a land unsown" (Jer. 2:2). This love manifests in
one's obedience to God through his word.
In the desert Jesus demonstrates his
immense love of the Father. After his baptism at the Jordan River, Jesus is
driven by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. In this
scene we note the disciplined interiority of "mature love". Jesus fasts for
forty days and forty nights. We are told in Mt. 4:2 that "afterwards he was
hungry." It isprecisely at this time
that the tempter approaches him. In the ensuing spiritual battle--for true love
often proves itself in the midst of spiritual combat--Jesus rebukes the devil
"One does not
live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the
mouth of God"
words contrast bodily hunger with a deep, interior, spiritually-vital need. We
recall that in the Garden of Eden, the "fall" of humanity involved food and the
disobedience of God. The word of God is truly "soul food" for the prayer
In the above passage we are told that
the word comes from the "mouth" of God. The Father speaks forth His life-giving
word through the breath of the Holy Spirit. The word of God is meant to be
necessary "nutrition" from God's mouth to our hearts. We are told in Is. 55:11:
"So shall my
word be that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not
return to me void,
But shall do
end for which I sent it."
word and his will are very closely related. His word fulfills his will in the
world through a loving, obedient heart. This is true in a pre-eminent way in
the life of Jesus, who is the Word himself.
What might be one or more of my own inordinate, worldly "appetites"?
Where do I struggle to obey God's word in my life?
23:1-3A; Ps. 84:1-3; John 4:34; John 6:32-33; Rev. 21:6; Rev. 22:17