As I read today’s Gospel, one that is so familiar to us, I wondered if there was anything to be said about the story that hasn’t already been said. The foreshadowing of the Eucharist, the importance of Jesus’ “table ministry”—entire books have been written on this passage. Then a wise coworker suggested I try the true Ignatian prayer of placing myself into the scene. She said that she imagined herself as one of the people being fed.
In praying with the Scripture in this way, I found myself wondering if the people who ate even realized that it was going on. With the exception of the disciples, and perhaps those who were very nearby, did people realize that 5,000 were fed with five loaves and two fish? Did they realize that they were the recipients of a miracle? If someone could miss the significance of what has become such a “famous” event in Jesus’ ministry, how easy it is for us to miss the significance of smaller moments in our own lives.
In this new year, is God inviting me to be more attentive to the “miracles” around me? How can I be more mindful of God’s presence each day? For me, it is a recommitment to praying the Examen every day, to take note of God active and working in the routine aspects of my life. For others, it might be a pledge to spend a few minutes in silence at the beginning of the day. Regardless of the method we choose, how can we be sure to not miss out on God’s miracles, both big and small, in our own lives?
—Lauren Gaffey is Director of Programs and Administration at Charis Ministries. Founded in 2000, Charis Ministries reaches those in their 20s and 30s nationwide, nurturing their faith through retreats based in Ignatian spirituality.www.charisministries.org