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"Feed the hungry"

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For I was hungry and you gave me food…Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you?”  (Matthew 25:35-37)

"Feeding the hungry" is the first work of corporal mercy that the Church recommends. Feeding a hungry means to provide a natural need for man, contributing to his physical sustenance so that he may not perish.

With the multiplication of loaves and fishes, the only miracle, apart from Jesus' resurrection which is recorded in all four Gospels, Jesus fed a multitude of men, besides women and children. This is a sign that the consumption of food is not a requirement to be neglected, even if we know very well what Jesus meant through that gesture.

Unfortunately, even today there are people who experience this drama.  The problem of hunger, despite technological advances, remains unresolved and apparently impossible to solve, since it does not arise from a lack of food production, but from an unequal distribution of the food.

We are thus faced with a paradoxical situation: people who waste for excessive production and people who have a high mortality rate for malnutrition or poor nutrition  Much has been done in the past years and perhaps too much was wrong. So much food was collected for the needy and then it got wasted, destined to deterioration.

When God created man, He had already provided for his food: everything was available to him so that he could use it "  Behold I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food" (Gen1:29). After the original sin man also knew the suffering of hunger.

In the desert, the Jewish people was miraculously sustained by God who daily provided him the manna. Jesus, Man Himself was tried by hunger " He ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry " (Lk 4,2).

Feeding the hungry, supplying food to those who are unable to fend for themselves is not only a material gesture, but first and foremost it is an act of love.

During the breastfeeding, the baby through the physical contact with his mother, satisfies the need to feel himself accepted and protected, the need of finding again the reassuring environment that is the womb in which he lived in total dependence on her. And his mother also receives wellness, she is gratified, she feels fulfilled.

The act of feeding, therefore, assumes a special meaning for both. They instill each other confidence that is the basis of a good personal development and satisfy the need to feel loved, accepted for who they are.

As well as the volunteers, who give their service in the shelters where there are sick or disabled elderly who need to be "helped to eat", can assert the bond of affection and tenderness which gradually develops: the sweet sense of dependency on the part of the assisted person and the inexplicable spiritual fulfillment, which "supports" the volunteer.

"The poor you will always have with you" (Mk 14:7). Although the images of the hungry poor along the road or the beggar in front the temple seem to be part of history, many associations of assistance today arise in favor of the "new poor". Many are those who, for lack of work or who have lost it, turn to Caritas for a meal.

In this service the Church has always been “on the front lines”, we need only think of many poor priests, and others, who spent and are spending their life in this work of mercy. It reveals her maternal character, because it is always ready to intervene where there are children in difficulty, her poor children, her beloved because so God did, so Jesus did, "Jesus Christ: he was rich, became poor for you, because it might become rich by his poverty" (2 Cor 8: 9).

And Pope Francis shows this preference of the Church for the poor, the preference that he has always had for our brothers, through tangible examples: the lunch that he shared with the Caritas soup kitchens, the hugs that he dispense to them, his visit to the most destitute places  during his apostolic journeys.

The poor will continue to exist because they are in God's heart. "The entire history of our redemption is marked by the presence of the poor" (Evangelii gaudium). They are in the Beloved Son, they are "the suffering flesh of Christ", who welcomes the Will of the Father and became a meek and lowly Lamb, submitted to the will of other people.

In Luisa this submission to the will of other people, as an evidence of her path in the Divine Will, is also shown by taking or not the food. Her life "upside down", as she herself repeated to explain her existential condition, tests her significantly, making her go hungry, not for economic reasons, just as a hungry poor that nothing can by himself and undergoes the disposal of the other person.

Under obedience to her confessor, Luisa is forced to eat even after having vomited the food several times and, paradoxically, she is forced to fast when she feels hungry, waiting for someone would bring to her perhaps some food.

The Divine Volition imposes Itself and calls her to live a perfect poverty in imitation of Jesus. He, who was poor, wants her to be poor and to subject, with holy indifference, to everything she is given. The poor are happy with the little they have, or they receive. They do not wonder about what is good or what is bad, but just they thank God and their benefactors.

Luisa has to be for mankind a model of perfect imitation of the suffering humanity of Jesus. This is her evangelization to show the world the Kingdom of God, which becomes visible only through the works. " What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works??" (James 2:14). As,  for our salvation everything comes from God and returns to God, this first work of mercy, even if it satisfies a bodily need, it shows its evangelical sense, its spiritual side.

In the prayer of the Our Father on which the spirituality of the Divine Will, -as in Heaven so on earth -  is founded,  Jesus with the words "Give us this day our daily bread" teaches us to ask the Father:

First, the Bread of the Divine Will. The bread that doesn’t perish. It is the eternal nourishment for man and is present in him since the creation,  so that he was the image and likeness of God. Jesus teaches us to ask for it for us and for all,  so that nourished from it, we can go back to the Father. "My food is to do the Will of My Father." It is a food that strengthens and elevates the soul to the likeness of her Creator;

"The Sacramental Bread", the nourishment par excellence, the Bread of salvation, in which Jesus hides Himself to enter the creature, and to work a transformation where there are the necessary dispositions, to make the creature be reborn in Him. It is a food which contains and gives graces, also the extraordinary one that is to feed themselves only with the Eucharist, a grace granted to a few rare souls whose Luisa is an exemplary,

Finally, the material bread, the bread that nourishes and supports the body. It is God’s  gift to man so that through this bread, he can go back to the first bread and give thanks to his Creator, sharing it with those who are lacking it.

The true disciples of Christ are those who act in His name and are called to feed, without distinction, those who "shout" their overt or hidden poverty, that of the suburbs that nobody sees or wants to see, but we can’t ignore it. That’s where Christ lives and calls everyone to live with "zeal the Gospel of fraternity and justice."


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