Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC 
Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC

Satisfy your spiritual hunger

Most of us think of food in connection with the concept of hunger. Sometimes our stomachs growl and then all we can think about is supper or a trip to the closest McDonald’s or Taco Bell. My friends often joke that they can tell I am hungry when I start reading the names of the restaurants we pass while driving to our destination.

Each of us has been famished for food sometime or another, but eating does not satisfy all our hungers. We also have spiritual hungers that need to be satisfied if we are to become mature adults.

In the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father), we ask God to give us this day our daily bread. Jesus was not talking about food in this prayer but about satisfying the spiritual hungers or desires that every human being experiences in life.

One spiritual hunger or desire is to believe that life is meaningful and has a purpose. It is that deep, inner longing that cannot be fully satisfied with material goods, possessions or superficial relationships. How sad for those who never find meaning in their lives, who never discover God’s love, or who try to find happiness by acquiring more and more money or possessions. Even sadder are the people who think life is over at death, or the ones who commit suicide because they believe there is nothing to live for.

Another hunger, and which all people crave, is community. None of us is meant to be alone. We need others to help us become who God wants us to be. Human growth and maturity happen in an atmosphere of belonging and acceptance. We also see this in the church. Contrary to what some individualists may preach, it is impossible to be a Christian alone because the very nature of being a Christian is to be part of the community we call church. When we are baptized, we are baptized into the body of Christ. A person’s faith cannot grow without the support of other believers. That is why the church does not baptize infants if the parents are not practicing Catholics. There would be no Christian community to nurture the child’s faith.

Each person also hungers to be heard. We all have a need to share ourselves with others who will listen. We are affirmed when someone hears what we say and takes us seriously. When we sense we are not heard, we can feel discounted or that our words and even ourselves do not matter. On the other side, we, too, must learn how to be good listeners so we can help satisfy this hunger in others. It is a skill that is sorely needed in our world today. Unfortunately, too few people really know how to listen.

Prayer also can help alleviate this hunger to be heard. Christians believe in a personal God who is involved in each person’s life. We believe God cares about each of us individually and listens to us and knows the desires of our hearts.

Each person also longs to be appreciated and loved. Almost every day we see what happens when people have not experienced real love in their lives. Often they are the ones who get into trouble or cause harm to others. Many have difficulty loving others. Often those deprived of love cease to love themselves and suffer from low self-esteem.

As Christians who are called to love, we have the responsibility to help satisfy this deep hunger we all share. Christ’s mission was to reveal God’s love and he also gave that command to us. A helpful exercise each night is to ask ourselves if there is a little more love in the world that day because of our actions. It is a good way to reflect upon how well we are living our baptismal call.

Lastly, we all hunger for acceptance. It is a wonderful gift when we are accepted for who we are and not for what we do. We all need to matter to someone. People who are not accepted by others suffer a great deal. Maybe we have had the experience of not being invited to a school party or to an office function, or we know others who seem alone and always on the fringes — the ones who never seem to “fit in.” Perhaps we could be more mindful of these people and reach out to include them in our lives once in awhile.

At times it is helpful to look at our lives, reflect upon our own unsatisfied hungers and discover the deepest longing of our hearts. Let us go to God and ask for the daily bread we need and recognize how we can share our bread with others.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, browse our “Living the Faith” archive to read some of Sister Margie’s past reflections. 

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