Have you ever noticed how hard it can be to convince a nursing baby to accept any substitute for his mother’s milk? He doesn’t know that the simple act of sucking helps him to grow; all he knows is that what he has tasted is good.
As the baby grows into a toddler, he reaches out to explore his environment. Often the objects he encounters wind up in his mouth, and he learns the difference between food and everything else. Some of the food he accepts because it tastes good, and other foods he accepts because they seem to be important to the adults who feed him. Eventually, he learns to select and prepare his own food. There is plenty of room for creativity here, but he has to respect his body’s needs and make good choices about what he will ingest.
Like newborn babies, we “have tasted that the Lord is good”—and we know not to be fooled by “worldly desires that wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). We know to keep away from things that lead to indigestion: entertainment that glorifies lust and selfishness, for example, relationships based on manipulation and deception. We know instinctively that there is no substitute for God’s grace, and over time we learn that he has given us some foods that will help us mature in the Christian life—prayer, good teaching, and the sacraments. One of the most privileged “foods” God has given us is Scripture. Not all Scripture passages slide down as easily as a baby’s rice cereal. Rather, like a good steak, it requires careful chewing so that we can get all the nutrition it has to offer. In these cases, it’s perfectly acceptable to bring our perplexities to God and to share them with one another. After all, this is one of the best ways we can let the Holy Spirit enlighten us!
How are you doing with Scripture? Is it a source of spiritual nourishment for you? Are you spending time each day pondering God’s word and asking his Spirit to nourish and strengthen you? That’s the only way we can move from milk to solid food—and grow into mature instruments of his grace and power!