“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody,
I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty
than the person who has nothing to eat.” – Mother Teresa
Maybe it’s because I’m a Southerner. We believe in hospitality—in large portions and second helpings. Maybe it’s because I’m Catholic. We believe that we are called to be a Eucharistic people–“bread for the life of the world” by our relationships to one another in Christ. It may be any number of things, but I like to cook and bake. I especially enjoy people gathering around a table enjoying each another’s company while enjoying what I’ve made.
My latest accomplishment was learning to bake bread. Under the tutelage of a senpecta* with an oatmeal bread recipe passed on from Sister to Sister, I created something wholesome and wonderful-smelling that gave others the opportunity to “break the bread” of community, conversation, and laughter while enjoying a slice or two. For my part, a Sister and I got to spend time together and get to know one another a little better. This Sister had the opportunity to shine at something she excelled at and pass her wisdom on to me. Somehow, a deeper hunger was satisfied—for both of us.
When Jesus called Himself “bread for the life of the world” (John 6:51), He was pointing beyond basic human physical hunger to heart-hunger. Every human heart longs for meaning, purpose, connection, and acceptance. We become bread for another’s life journey whenever we spend time with someone who is lonely, anxious, or sad; when we teach another some skill at which we excel; whenever we make someone laugh or smile; when we sit silently with someone who is sick, dying, or grieving; when we allow someone to give us, before it is lost and forgotten, some gift that is special to them.
In the process, our greatest hunger is satisfied as well: the longing for love.
*sempectae—JM Latin English Dictionary: senior monks| of fifty years’ standing| in the Benedictine order.
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges. See all of Sister Ann Marie’s blogs.