(The Appointed Food of Man’s Soul)
“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” John 6:33
The body of man was created in such a way as to always need food and drink. These may come in various shapes and forms, but, just the same, they are nourishment that the body needs to continue to live.
It is the same with the human soul.
The soul of every man naturally starves and thirsts. By nature, we turn to our own abilities, our own hard work in order to find something – anything that satisfies. We look to relationships. We look to achievements. We look to fame. We look to wealth. We even turn to vices and every fleshly enjoyment conceivable. And although there is a certain amount of pleasure derived from all these, we find that there is something quite indefinable that seems to elude us, that we seem to never quite catch, that we seem to entirely miss every time, all the time. What is that something? Who: Jesus.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) Simply put, our souls hunger and thirst, and the only nourishment that can fill that painful emptiness is, yes, Jesus. As St. Augustine wrote in one of the most original and famous works in religious literature, Confessions, “You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can rest in You.” He, himself, had sought to feed the hunger and quench the thirst of his own soul through various pleasures and intellectual pursuits only to find himself crying out those immortalized words, echoed in every human soul, “How long, O Lord, how long?” How long must I chase after every remedy this world recommends so that this emptiness may be filled, so that this heart may find rest?
We have this assurance: “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37) We, at last finding that we cannot save ourselves, that we cannot fill our own emptiness, need only… COME. We need only come to the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. “I will never drive away” or, in other translations: “I will never reject them,” “I will never cast out,” “I will never send away.” What does that really mean? It means that, however great my past sins are, if I come to Jesus by faith, He promises to look upon me with mercy. It means that, however great my present binding vices and wretchedness, He promises to look upon me with compassion. It means that, however great my cursed doubts may be, He promises to take what tiny kernel of faith there is and stoke that kernel into saving grace.
In satisfying the hunger and thirst of our souls, there is only one food that satisfies, only one appointed food – bread from heaven. That bread is the BREAD OF LIFE: JESUS. Taste and see… and… be satisfied.