Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.
You know those commercials for Snickers bars where the tagline is: “you’re not you when you’re hungry”? I feel that deeply. Coming out of the pandemic, I started to pay more attention to my body: eating healthier, exercising, trying to get a sufficient amount of sleep.
What that attentiveness has taught me is that I don’t deal with hunger well. I get grumpy, my mind gets foggy, and I have trouble making decisions. There’s not a lot of point in talking with me when I’m hungry. About the only conversation I’m interested in is when and where we can get something to eat. It’s all I can think about.
Now, imagine having this attitude toward the life of faith. That’s what Jesus is calling us to in this Beatitude. Imagine pursuing God with the same desire and intensity that you pursue dinner after a long day where you skipped lunch. Imagine not being able to rest without knowing that before you went to bed, you had done your level best to carry out God’s work and God’s will – that your belly was full with God’s presence.
Ignatian spirituality provides some excellent tools for doing this work. For example, St. Ignatius’ Examen of Conscience provides a process for reviewing each day’s actions, seeking to discern instances we may have gone astray and likewise places where we felt God very near.
Of course, we are not always going to get it right. Sometimes, we’ll fail to meet the standard of Christ’s righteousness.
But in my estimation, the daily pursuit of righteousness is itself a sign of righteousness. It’s not our failing to reach the standard that’s the problem; instead it’s when complacency sets in and we stop reaching toward it.
What’s important is that we continue to pursue God’s righteousness, and that we do it from a place of hunger to know and serve God to the very best of our ability.
by Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Do you have a process for reviewing your day with God? How can you build in moments to reflect on where you saw God in your day? Is there someone who can help you be honest about ways you may have fallen short?
Prayer: God, we thank you that each day you give us new opportunities to love and serve you. By your Spirit, guide us into your righteousness. Grant us daily new strength and commitment to reach for it. Keep alive our hunger and thirst for you. Amen.