Blessed are those who hunger and thirst to see right prevail, they shall be satisfied.
Perhaps this one is a lesson in desire and need. To use the words hunger and thirst is a reminder of the very real physiological needs as living beings, but then it’s linked to seeing right prevail. Although, in Luke, the passage is only about hunger and not about “right” or “justice” at all. The scripture asks us: how do we feed our bodies and how do we feed our ways of being and perhaps even our souls?
Justice brings balance. Injustice brings chaos. Perhaps our work is to find balance, in all things. Like the clocks that settle into a mutual rhythm, in all the places we find balance, we encourage balance around us and beyond. So that the pendulum does not swing wildly to the opposite pole, but that it settles into a place of balance and equality.
Balance is not easy. Even in our own small and ordinary lives. We have very real desires. We have very real feelings of loneliness and fear and worry. We are often fed, or feed, our emotions and they need to be nourished, not just fed. How do we fill the voids and nourish our lives?
And also, “right” is hard work. What is “right”? Justice and injustice are an imbalance on the scales. It’s easy to think we’re bringing balance by overweighing the other side, so the scales tip and crash. But that is not balance. That does not bring balance. That brings chaos. The pendulum swings wildly back and forth and the scales tip loudly on one side and then back to the other with the loud clang of disorder. We must find balance.
Where do our desires, hungers and thirsts, distract us from this real work? How easy it is for this to happen? How easy it is to hold back forgiveness and love? How easy is it to turn away from hurts? Kindness balances hate. Courage balances in to right and Good.
It is easy to find ourselves wasting energy on things we want and then feed the desire for more. We easily begin filling voids of physical desires and real loneliness in ways that, instead of nourishing us, distract us. Then, there is the desire more of those things. Even as a small example, how often do we get distracted from our paid jobs when no one’s looking? What is our distraction? Amazon, shopping or perusing our desires for more? The break room donuts? Social media? What are we feeding that’s distracting us from our job? The work we’ve chosen to be a part of.
Harder to see, what are you feeding that’s distracting you from seeing right and Good prevail in your own life? When are we unkind, often by mistake. A favorite quote of mine is: Clear is Kind, UnClear is UnKind (B. Brown). How often do we not say what we mean for fear of hurting someone or fear of committing to a change we’re unsure of? More often than not, that lack of clarity causes more harm than good. Those we interact with must make assumptions based on “unclear” and then it harbors confusion, resentment, and misunderstanding.
How are we filling our lives? This is what this Beatitude asks and Jesus is asking us to dig deep with this one. Are we distracted by the desires of the senses? Pursuing more stuff and pursuing other people’s dreams? Doing what we’re “supposed” to do? Collecting money and security? Or are we living our honest truth? Are we seeking the God Light within that leads us to desire to fill loneliness with Grace and fill our desires, not for security or “shoulds” but to be our best presence in the world? To be Good and Kind. To have the Courage to do the right thing.
Do we know the real desire beneath the call of hunger and thirst? Many of us no longer even know the call of real physical hunger or thirst anymore. We don’t even seek food and water to nourish our bodies, but seek food and wine to pleasure the senses. Are we spending our energy seeking pleasures that are fleeting? Or do we seek those hungers and thirsts that sustain us and the world around us?
Do we hunger for personal independence or worldly independence? Are hungering and thirsting for, desiring for and working for, goodness and right in the world? How can we do better?
What we hunger and thirst for gives us clues into the ways in which we spend our energy. Sometimes, our true hunger and thirst is found by stepping out of the busy world for a moment to reflect. Balancing the scales of rest and work in our own lives to see clearly.
How could we be called to better use our energy? Where are we wasting our energy? Are we caught in the narrows and have forgotten to find the deep waters of spirit. Have we have lost sight of the wellspring of Grace from within for the desires that call us to seek fulfillment from without?
Desires send us chasing after dreams and adventures. It was Augustine who said that “God is home and we’re off traveling.”
Our attention drawn outward, when what we seek is at home. What we seek is right before us. We allow distractions to pull us from the truth and from the needs around us.
Desire is a lesson. Hunger and thirst are a lesson. Everyone suffers from unfulfilled desires, but not everyone learns. Often, this unfulfilled desire is a source of pain. Sometimes, unnecessarily. Sometimes, we cling to it more strongly than we need to. Sometimes, we cling so strongly that it destroys us. Can we come to a day when we say: blessed be the day I suffered so much, for it forced me to seek God?
Jesus teaches us that anyone can seek God. In fact, we are all meant to. That void of loneliness is only filled by seeking the Divine. God is not for the priests alone. God is not for the mystics alone. God is not for the “special” people. God is available to each one of us, if only we begin to seek the Divine in our own lives. If only we are not distracted by worldly pleasures that we believe will fill the void. If only we hunger and thirst for right, for Goodness.
If we trust and listen. If we open our hearts and Be Still enough to hear, we will find what we seek. We will find the deep waters of Grace that fills our own wellspring. We will no longer hunger. We will no longer thirst. We will see right prevail. If we only work to create balance in the midsts of chaos and allow it to ripple forth. If we trust that it will ripple forth. This hard, but nourishing, work is ours, the ripples….those belong to God.
We could spend a lifetime on each of the Beatitudes and still there would be wisdom to attain. The Beatitudes teach us to learn, explore, and live our lives as practice. They teach us that we are meant to work hard, and not become distracted, to become better versions of ourselves. They aren’t easy and each of us will have a uniquely different balance for each one. Life is not about our individual beings, but our collective Goodness, our collective story. We each are unique so that we can play our part in the story.