The solitary life… is the life of one drawn by the Father into the wilderness there to be nourished by no other spiritual food than Jesus. For in Jesus the Father gives Himself to us and nourishes us with His own inexhaustible life.

The life of solitude therefore must be a continual communion and thanksgiving in which we behold by faith all that goes on in the depths of God, and lose our taste for any other life or any other spiritual food. 121

I may not want to acknowledge it, but the truth is there is nowhere that is not “the wilderness.” There is nowhere I am utterly self-sufficient. I cannot feed myself.

My life is a summons to acknowledge that I can be “nourished by no other spiritual food than Jesus.” This is not pious platitude. It is a fundamental truth of the human condition. Without love, beauty, truth, light, and goodness, I will die of malnutrition. Jesus is the essential nourishment that sustains my life.

Deprived of love, my body may carry on for a long time giving the appearance that I am alive. But it is entirely possible to be “alive” without in fact having true life.

Jesus is reported in John’s Gospel to have said,

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)

So, I can have life, but not “abundantly.” It is possible to live as a person not-fully-alive. When I seek to nourish myself with that which is not truly food, my spirit grows dull; my “spiritual body” (I Corinthians 15:44) starts to atrophy. A malnourished “spiritual body” is as unhealthy and life-threatening as a malnourished physical body.

As I find nourishment through “continual communion and thanksgiving” I “lose my taste for any other life or any other spiritual food.” The more I am nourished by the living presence of God the less inclination I experience to return to the stale bread of the world’s accolades, distractions and trinkets. I begin to discover how much I can live without. It is no longer a matter of self-discipline; the needs, wants and desires of my life are reduced by the nourishment of that true food called “Jesus”.

Where am I seeking false nourishment that destroys my awareness of the Divine Presence in all of life?

What sources of true food am I consuming to nourish my “spiritual body”?

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