Fermenting Faith

After staying at the monastery, I visited Saint Benedict’s Brew Works. When I first heard of beer described as liquid bread, I thought deeply about the bread I bake. I even thought, “Could it be possible that Jesus’ miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 involved liquid bread?” When bread is created or a substance is brewed, the ingredients mingle and ruminate together, and over a period of time, transformation occurs. We may hear and speak God’s Word, but unless we are willing to change, we only hear and see. When we ruminate on God’s Word and live God’s Word, we open ourselves to the miracle of transformation.

“The Eucharist is an encounter of the heart, knowing Presence through our available presence. In the Eucharist, we move beyond mere words or rational thought and go to that place where we don’t talk about the Mystery; we begin to chew on it.

We must move our knowing to the bodily, cellular, participative, and unitive level. Then we keep eating and drinking the Mystery until one day it dawns on us, in an undefended moment, ‘My God, I really am what I eat!’ Henceforth we can trust and allow what has been true since the first moment of our existence: We are the very Body of Christ. We have dignity and power flowing through us in our naked existence—and everybody else does too, even though most of us do not know it. This is enough to guide and empower our entire faith journey. If Christians did not already have Eucharist as our central ritual, we would have to create something very similar.

You choose to break your life and death wide open. You let your life be broken, used up, and you don’t spend your life protecting yourself. In handing over the small self you discover your True Self in God. ‘Unless the single grain of wheat dies, it remains just a grain of wheat’ (John 12:24). The crushed grain and grapes become the broken bread and the intoxicating wine. There is no other way for the transformation to happen.

You then chew on this mystery for all the rest of your days! Divine truth is known by participation with and practice of, not by more thinking or discussing or even believing. You eventually have to ‘eat’ the truth more than ever understand it.” ~Richard Rohr

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