Analogy of Being: Consume at your own Risk.
Whenever I am down I refer to this short video. This innocent looking animal is captured here revealing that crucial moment between uncertainty and trust, and receives a nourishment beyond the body. It is a junction of great magnitude and though, from what I have researched online this animal in the wild is equipped with frightening attributes to defend itself from a threat, here the Slow Loris is seen with, to me, a rather worried expression. To me, his/her demeanor and timidity is thoroughly aware of his/hers limitations and that he/she stands before another animal equipped with greater potentially to incur a fatal blow. But since he/she hungers, he/she takes that risk, as he/she dons his/hers earnest expression, to asks please do not tempt me out of my safe walls only to hurt me. What he/she finds on the other side of that risk, to me, appears to be hope which was given before it was asked for. This type of gratitude can offer true affection and a grace like no other.
C.S. Lewis said there are two ways to transcend the flesh, 1. To make love [this does, and equally, does not mean to imply physical sexuality] 2. And, Eating. This transcendence is meant to imply that which is consuming as we consume, that in the midst of our hunger we long for nourishment and it seems that true nourishment [one that satisfies the body and soul] can be found by facing certain elements of a risk. Not a risk formulated in ‘thrill-seeking’ which re-fits a natural risk with man-made difficulties to increase the danger. A risk such as this, is only taken in honor of ego, and though it can provide a temporary high with which to feel alive, since the risk is man-made the thrill will fade in favor of a higher-high until it is an addition. Self-perpetuated, the addition, itself, is an endless cycle of the starvation enabling the need for a higher-high until the higher-higher-high reduces a person’s identity to a “burnt out”; consumed physically, emotionally and thereby spiritually. However, a natural risk, like one demonstrated in his little creature have the potentiality to test our sanity, identity and will, as we stand before something that clearly has more potentiality to incur a fatal blow and alternately reveals a hope that was given before we even ask for it. We can find a fullness and richness incomparable to any extreme that humanity can imagine as real because a risk found in nature is the closest we can approach something that is sacred without our sanity, identity, or will being consumed. Rather it reveals a consuming light which enriches in a way that ‘we can know more than we can tell’ where alternately the slavery of additions burn out/consume individuality; defined by the addition alone. Such repetitive thrills are only masks for an empty, shallow life.
But, in this small creature, it seems possible for us to extract an idea about faith, hope and love. I agree with Lewis, that there is perhaps nothing more communionially intimate and sacred then the act of taking food from the hand of someone with greater potentiality to do harm to you. The fear can create the holiness when it is revealed that this larger creature does not harm but rather nourishes, comforts your hunger and establishes trust with affection. Within the expression of this creature, I see, that he/she knows this other creature [the human being] can kill him/her, with no regrets and without fear of being held accountable. But he hungers, in the same way we all hunger to know something we can only say we know as expressing a longing to communion with something so beautiful it can harm body, mind and soul but alternately feeds, nourishes and bring joy. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” [Mat 25:40]
Let this be an open prayer, that I will always approach the Eucharist in the same humility this small animal respects the awesome hand and finds comfort. I ask this through our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, the host, the bread of life, the light for all nations, who is consuming as we consume.