Our Lady and Sheen

Why does God not provide even lowly bread to the hungry?

Pope Benedict XVI, as a personal reflection, examines the temptation of Christ in the desert, as Satan tempts him to turn stones into bread and feed himself.  Jesus responds to this temptation by quoting Deut 8:3, “Man does not live by bread alone, but… by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”

Why then does God, who can do all things, not provide food for the hungry by casting down bread?  His Holiness quotes Alfred Delp: “Bread is important, freedom is more important, but most important of all is unbroken fidelity and faithful adoration.”  The Holy Father then continues:

When this ordering of goods is no longer respected, but turned on its head, the result is not justice or concern for human suffering.  The result is rather ruin and destruction even of material goods themselves.  When God is regarded as a secondary matter that can be set aside temporarily or permanently on account of more important things, it is precisely these supposedly more important things that come to nothing.  It is not just the negative outcome of the Marxist experiment that proves this.


The aid offered by the West to developing countries has been purely technically and materially based, and not only left God out of the picture, but has driven men away from God.  And this aid, proudly claiming to “know better,” is itself what first turned the “third world” into what we mean today by that term.  It has thrust aside indigenous religious, ethical, and social structures and filled the resulting vacuum with its technocratic mind-set.  The idea was that we could turn stones into bread; instead, our “aid” has only given stones in place of bread. (Ratzinger, J.  Jesus of Nazareth, 33)

I pondered this as a question of to what do we give the needy of the world?  Do we stop providing food, medical care, and education?  Of course not, and the Holy Father was not saying that we should.  His attempt to convict our hearts was instead, I believe, a call to do things in the proper order.  If we are giving men and women education, so that they can become free, and then adore God, is that good?  In a sense yes, we are providing the opportunity for the greater good to occur.  Is this not a wonderful thing?  I would say that helping someone suffer less is an amazingly wonderful thing, I hope you would agree.

But!  What about this thought: If instead of giving education (or bread, or any number of examples) to make men free I give them Christ.  Christ, crucified.  Christ, resurrected.  Christ, the Second Divine Person of the Holy Trinity.  Christ, crucified so that they can unite their sufferings with Him and look for Justice; and in doing so, gain freedom from the slavery of sin.  Christ, resurrected to give them Hope and Mercy; and in doing so, Love more purely.  Christ, the Son of the Living God, so they could be united with the Trinity, and use the power of God to change the hearts of men and configure them like unto Jesus’ own Sacred Heart.

When we see this order can we not see that men, capable of nothing by themselves, can do all things in Christ?  Instead of the “we know better” mentality that carved up Africa, Asia, the Americas, can’t we provide the, “I am in service to The One, Who does indeed know better.”  When men receive their God, does not true Freedom begin; Freedom of the heart and soul that no man can smother out.  When that Freedom exists in a society, is it not a plain to see that bread will be given, neighbor to neighbor, father to son, community to community?

Do we stop sending food?  No.  But we send food for the right reason!  We send food so that man may see Christ.  Which, as a person in the “first world” would you prefer?  Someone putting bread on your plate, or God forming our will to go and earn bread?  It is up to you, individually.

Also, keep in mind.  “We” have bread in abundance… which makes us then ask for soup… which makes us then ask for steak… which makes us then ask for phones… computers… cars… and so on… the real question is, “What are the ‘basics’ that need to be provided for.”  The only answer that is true is Salvation, because God cares more for you than I could ever love; He cares more for me than I could ever love myself.



March 5, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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