Vital signs- Monday, January 4th, 2021

Matthew 5 :6-

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness For they shall be satisfied.

As hunger and thirst are the keenest of our appetites, this refer to "those whose deepest cravings are after spiritual blessings."

Just as physical craving is urgent, pressing and calls to be instantly gratified, there is a spiritual craving equally, if not more intense.

We see this longing expressed by David (Ps 119:20) and Jacob (Gen 49:18. What triggers this craving? Once we taste an exotic dish, we crave for it again. Once we taste God, His Word, spirit and presence, life, we can never live without it. We do get into phases where one conflicts the other. Sometimes our physical appetites get the better of us and we go overboard. As moral standards in the world are rapidly declining, boundary lines of Christians are shifting. We allow more into our lives believing they cannot get the better of us, that we are in control. Then, like David, when we get the bitter aftertaste of sin, followed by the absence of the warm, glowing presence of Jesus, we long to get back. We crave for that inspiration, the leading, the guidance and love we so freely enjoyed. We never want to lose it again and cry as David did “do not take the Holy Spirit from me”. We reach out to God and turn away from that which bewitched and trapped us. We experience hunger and thirst for righteousness.

In ancient Judaism, righteousness meant “to acquit, vindicate, restore to a right relationship.” It does not refer to the external piety as Jews demonstrated but the sanctifying righteousness that comes from Christ alone through faith. External piety is one of the most dangerous enemies for the deep soul connection. It hampers transparency before God and others. It blinds us to our true condition. It also is a dangerous target for evil spirits. An empty, swept house is the best one for Satan’s minions to occupy. 

We have to let go one to achieve the other. Physical craving or spiritual satisfaction? External piety or deep soul cleansing? That is a clear choice. God can only fill empty vessels. In overflowing measure God fills to saturation. 'They were very full, because they were very empty’ – St Austin says of the apostles. 

Have we emptied ourselves of materialism and sensuality so that we can be filled with Christ’s righteousness? Are we ensuring, that once empty, we are now filling and refilling ourselves with the Word and the spirit so that we are always deeply and truly satisfied?

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