Victor Frankl, in his book Man’s Search for Meaning, speaks of the “intensification of inner life” that occurred for him and other prisoners in their concentration camp experience. A sunset outside the window, lines of poems, and the most ordinary actions of the past such as riding a bus, answering the phone or turning on the lights became filled with beauty, longing and thanksgiving.
I experienced this in a small way just after I had bought a loaf of bread at a bakery in Amman, Jordan some years ago. The bag containing the warm and fragrant bread had various words on it: tak, tack, grazis, gracias, merci. One of the words stood out beyond the others – eucharisto – used on the streets of ancient Greece to say thank you.
Perhaps it was the warmth and aroma of the bread that had taken me to another place in my heart, but all of the sudden I was overwhelmed by a sense of deep gratefulness to be holding the bread, noticing my hands around it, being able to purchase it, the beauty of the people around me as I walked, the sun of the brilliant Jordanian sky, and the children in the orphanage where I was working with whom I would later share the bread. All was gift. God was as close as the bread in my hands and the scent that filled my nostrils. I was nearly giddy with joy.
To say a blessing or grace this day over our meals is to acknowledge the source from which it all comes, to be acutely aware that God is the source and beginning of all that is good. May your day be one in which you experience the intensification of inner life as it bursts forth in the generosity of love and intent of God’s great embrace of you, me and all that God has made. Eucharisto to all.