By: Rick Hernandez
Not too long ago, I found myself gazing at a bowl of soup. I know that it sounds odd to use the word “gazing” here, but that is what it was. It was no mere “looking” at my bowl but a deep contemplative inspection of the meaning of this food placed in front of me. This was just an ordinary bowl of soup, yet for me, in those few minutes, it contained both the strength of a thousand memories and an awakened power of recognition.
In a flash, I remembered the times when my grandmother fed me as a child. This beautiful and faithful woman cared so much for me. I could not name it at the time, but I can see how much love she put into making those dishes. Now I can see that being included in her thoughts about what to make validated my dignity, especially as a child.
I now remembered the countless times my mother and father fed me, caring so much for me and how much effort they put into making sure I was appropriately nourished. They wanted me to thrive, to grow into a good and healthy man. For a moment, I felt a deep sadness because, at the time, I could not look beyond the regularity of the mundane to acknowledge their efforts. This day, looking at my soup, I recognized their love, and I was moved to offer a prayer of thanks for them from the deepest part of my heart. So much was given and given freely.
Then I remembered the many times when I was sick or lonely and the many who went out of their way to bring me a simple bowl of soup. Oh Lord, there was so much love there too!
I remembered all the times we, my wife and I, have fed our children and how we aimed to nourish them. Soup is not their thing, but we tried to provide them food that would help them thrive. Yes, there was real thought and intent, a beautiful mindfulness behind the actions.
Remembering all this, I could not help but shed a few tears at the table… for I recognized the true love present there.
Our Lord Jesus loves us so much that He left nourishment for us along our way to Heaven. He has left us the recipe for love, which is to share in His bread and wine, the true Flesh and Blood of the Lamb of God. We are to share this with our brothers and sisters. When we share of this simple yet majestic banquet, we are united in love to all of His body, the members of the Church.
After so many times of doing this, it is true that in our minds, Mass may become part of the regularity of the mundane. We must fight this! Every time we receive our Lord, we are precisely what we are called to be, one with Him who loves us. Each time we receive Him must become a landmark moment in our lives, a memory to cherish, a treasure of grace to go back to. It is worth of shedding a tear or two.
What a grace that is! The gift of tears speaks of our deep recognition of Him who loves us. He nourishes us because He loves us! And He is there, ever-present, door always open, food always on the table, ready for creating memories of shared time in relationship. Should we not take Him up on the offer?
That day at the table, I re-lived so many loving memories that my heart became mush. With tearful eyes, I looked at my wife and my children and was overwhelmed with the thought of how many more meals I will get to cook for them or how many more times we will be sharing together at the table. Any table that we share is now in my heart a table of love, a table of plenty.
I remember that just after that experience, I became rabidly hungry, yet I ate mindfully and purposely slow, for I wanted to taste the love that we were sharing for as long as possible. Oh, my precious Lord, please do not ever let me forget the taste of your Love!
Let us pray: Our most loving Lord, you are the God of Plenty, the God of Love. Let us share of your banquet and satiate our hunger for You. Helps us to share You with everyone at our table. Amen.
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We are Ivonne J. Hernandez, Rick Hernandez and Laura Worhacz, Lay Associates of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, and brothers and sisters in Christ.
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