Can you recall a time when you looked at your life and thought, “There must be something more than this”? Have you ever longed to experience something more? Something better? Something greater?
The Hunger of the Soul
What is it that you want most in life? For most people, happiness is high on the list. I know it is high on my list! All I really want from life is peace, love, and joy—happiness—for everyone. You know, for life to “work,” not only for myself but also for others. (And, if I am being really honest, I would also like a fabulous pair of shoes, preferably on sale.)
Over the years, I have tried different formulas for achieving this state of bliss, but again and again, I have had to face one important truth: Unless I am connected to God, who invented the happiness I’m seeking, I come up frustrated, angry, and disappointed by life—empty instead of full. When I feel disconnected from God, I feel restless—not at peace with myself, with my God, or with others.
Have you ever experienced this kind of restlessness, this kind of hunger for happiness?
If so, there is a reason for it: When he created us, God placed inside us the desire to know him and to be united to him. Just as we experience physical hunger pangs when we need to fuel our bodies, we experience spiritual hunger pangs—angst that nothing in this world can satisfy— when we need to fill our souls.
Sadly, our culture has done its very best to numb us to the ravenous cries of our souls, so much so that we may not even recognize that our longing for happiness is a spiritual longing. We look with envy at our neighbors and friends and think that we will find happiness if we just acquire something more—a bigger house, a higher-paying job, better-behaved children, a more illustrious education, or a more attentive spouse—more, bigger, or better of just about anything.
We keep looking for something that will satisfy this gnawing hunger. But try as we may, we cannot find the right something to satisfy us. It is as if our life is a puzzle and we have found all of the right pieces, save the one in the very center that makes the entire picture come together and work. We need something else, something greater than this world can provide.
The good news is that God the Father, in ancient Holy Scripture, promised us Something Greater: food for our souls that brings with it lasting peace, unconditional love, and unending joy that far exceed anything this world has to offer. And God kept his promise.
The Something Greater God promised turned out to be an encounter with God himself: the one, true, triune God is the food our souls crave. God was born into the world through Mary as God the Son, Jesus Christ; after Jesus died for us and returned to the Father, he left us the Eucharist and also sent God the Holy Spirit to remain with us always. And God does not want us just to know about him; he wants us to know him as we know our closest friends, to have an intimate union with him that will satisfy the longing of our hearts.
Are you ready to seek that close union with God and feel your heart filled and transformed by his grace?
One of the most important ways God makes himself known to each of us is through the Bible. The book we call the Bible is really a library of divinely inspired manuscripts covering the history of thousands of years of God’s relationship with his people, all knit together by a single golden strand of truth that runs from beginning to end. In our study, we will use this holy text to lead us to the source of our much-longed-for “soul food”—our “bread from heaven” (Exodus 16:4; John 6:51) that satisfies the hunger of our souls.
The Bible is broken into different parts. We learn in the New Testament about the life, works, and effects of Jesus, the promised Messiah (savior) who was prophesied in the Hebrew Old Testament. The first four books of the New Testament, the Gospels (Gospel means “good news”), are histories of Jesus’s life, teachings, death, and resurrection. The Gospels are named after the four men who wrote them: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
In the Gospels, Jesus introduces us to God the Father and invites us into his heavenly realm right here on earth, the kingdom of God. He opens our eyes to see that there are two kingdoms: the kingdom of this world, which we can touch, taste, see, hear, and smell (our physical world), and God’s kingdom, which is unseen but just as real—in fact, even more so.
By getting to know Jesus Christ and learning how to connect with him spiritually, we can become “kingdom-of-God dwellers.” But because we have been given the gift of free will, each of us must decide, every minute of each day, in which kingdom we will choose to place our hope and trust. Saint Paul, one of Jesus’s most passionate followers, urges us to “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).
When we learn to tap into God’s kingdom, connect with God, and fill our hungry souls with him, the aching, longing, and emptiness are at last satisfied. The growling hunger is satiated, and life begins to work. When we open our hearts and say yes to God, asking him to reveal himself to us, Jesus always answers that prayer by pouring out his grace, making us stronger and more sensitive to his guiding presence.
Come, embark on a lifelong spiritual journey that will allow you to spread your wings and take you to the heart of Something Greater.
You will experience a true metamorphosis of your soul, a satisfying of your spiritual hunger. By learning about and experiencing friendship and union with Jesus Christ through prayer and meditation, receiving the sacraments, studying the Scriptures, and embracing the spirituality of the Catholic Church, you can at last be filled to overflowing.
Come find out what the apostle John, the best friend and beloved disciple of Jesus, meant when he told the first Christians that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).