The Feeding of the Four Thousand.*

1In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat,a he summoned the disciples and said,

2“My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.

3If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.”

4His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”

5Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied.

6* He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd.

7They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also.

8They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets.

9There were about four thousand people.

He dismissed them


In my most recent Lectio Divina meditation, I thought about the fragments left over after they ate and were satisfied (verse 8); there were seven loaves with seven baskets of fragments left over. 4000 people were fed and satisfied, and there were many as leftovers as when they began the distribution of loaves. The neverending food that satisfies. Eucharist.

I have many fragments of my Lectio Divina. When I did my Lectio Divina meditation, my awareness of “baskets of fragments” was like the feeding of 4000 people (Do you know how many loaves it would take to feed four thousand?) One or two days later, there are pop-ups when I am at Trader Joe’s or Walmart that seem to be leftovers from the day before. Here are some of the pop-up fragments that I have gathered.

  • Jesus Christ could not die on the cross, and he did not. Because Christ was uniquely human but also of divine nature, his divinity could not be born or die. Sacred Scriptures tell us that Jesus gave up his spirit freely and willingly as a gift of atonement to the Father for the sins of many. Who has the power to give up his life? Jesus.
  • After multiple listening sessions on the theme for Shindler’s List, I am moved to the depths of the totality of whom I am as a human being. I also have the sense that you must be Jewish to truly appreciate the emotions that are stirred by this piece by John Williams.
  • It is strange but exhilarating that Jesus did not say YES to becoming human in the Incarnation. Mary, only possessing human nature, said YES to the invitation to become the Mother of God, reversing the NO of Adam and Eve with Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of many.
  • A Lay Cistercian seeks God each day in their own unique way. Each human is different. Each Lay Cistercian approaches The Christ Principle using the totality of who they were in the past, where they are in the present, and who they will become with the grace of God.
  • Christ is always new wine, and each of us must convert (conversio morae) our old wineskins to new ones. We do this through Faith in Christ by practicing Cistercian prayer and denying oneself to take on Christ as our new white garment. Some who only drink old wine in old skins because they don’t want to change risk total spiritual incumbency, stuck in the past instead of living in the NOW with a nudge towards the future. Penance is the mindset that allows us to get rid of the old wineskins, not to throw out Christ, but to allow new ideas and practices to address new challenges in each age.
  • The Christ Principle is a mustard seed, the one center where nothing makes sense if you take it away. If you don’t protect your center, it will wander away, seduced by the inexorable pull of original sin on our resolve to seek God each day.
  • Each day is a different opportunity to meet Christ in the events that come our way. Yesterday’s victories do not ensure today’s success. What is true is that I am different yesterday from today because Christ has grown in me, and I have tried to get rid of my false self.
  • There is only one Christ, and each of us signed with the cross on our forehead accepts Jesus as our Lord and Savior, different from each other. This is so because we lift up the totality of our lives (the good, the bad, and the ugly) as a gift of praise and thanksgiving to the Father, through, with, and in Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • Once I receive Baptism, I am a pilgrim in a foreign land (the world) and use the way, the truth, and the life to walk through the minefields set by Satan to seduce me.
  • I can’t buy my way to Heaven by good works, but ironically, it takes work to be good. I need to resupply my dwindling energies with the living bread coming down from Heaven.
  • Pray as you can.
  • Don’t compare yourself or your faith to any other human being. Christ alone is my center. As there is only one Christ, there is only one me. Contemplation means going into that inner room (Matthew 6:5), locking the door, and sitting down with Christ for whatever He wants to talk about.
  • Eucharist is unbelievable, yet the key to making all things new.

I take these out of Christ’s basket occasionally and munch on them.


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