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Life of Christ Book Club: God of More than a Full Stomach

June 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Book Club, Sarah Reinhard

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Life of Christ Book Club (Week 9 of 27)

Over the weekend, I went to a Trades of Hope party. I missed the official sales part, but the friend hosting it had filled me in.

A few years ago, I read a book that shook the foundations of how I approached the seemingly simple act of purchasing my coffee. It was eye-opening for me to realize that my passion for coffee could be hurting children and families.

And I could no longer approach it the way I had.

It really was a conversion, and it has impacted me in many ways.

I’m always glad when I see the missionary priests at Mass—not because I know tears will leak from my eyes and maybe even sniffle into my sleeve, but because they keep me from being too comfortable. They remind me that there’s a greater purpose here.

But Our Lord would have no kingship based on the economics of plenty. To make Him King was His Father’s business, not theirs; His Kingship would be of hearts and souls, not digestive tracts. So the Gospel tells us he fled into the mountains Himself alone, to escape their tinsel crown and tin sword.

How close the masses were to salvation! They wanted life; He wanted to give life. The difference was in their interpretation of life. Is it the business of Christ to win followers by elaborate social programs? This is one form of life. Or is it the business of Christ to be willing to lose all the stomach-minded at the cost of reaching the few with faith, to whom will be given the Bread of Life and the Wine that germinates virgins?

Life of Christ, Chapter 15, Paragraphs 7-8
(Life of Christ Book Club)

It’s easy to believe in God when you’re feeling comfortable.

But it’s easier to let it slide. It’s easier to not be worried. It’s easier to remain fat and full and foolish.

Sheen continues from the passage above: “Christ cannot keep everybody united with Him: it is His fault; He is too Divine, too interested in souls, too spiritual for most men.”

How many times have I heard a child (usually the resident five-year-old) tell me, in tones of great drama and volume, that I’m ruining their life?

How often have I used that same expression toward God?

And do you think that, like I do, he sighs and considers how soon bedtime is?

I have a vision and an expectation of how life should be: of what is Good and Praiseworthy. On my bad days, I walk around thinking I have it mostly figured out.

Until I realize, usually after a long trial, that I don’t.

Can the death of a loved one ever be good? Can hardship and suffering bear fruit? Can granite hearts be molded and shaped and made into the soft and pliable organs open to God’s will?

Life’s about more than being comfortable, but the journey to being able to believe that can be arduous and difficult. God loves us too much to walk away and leave us to our appetites.

Reading Assignment for the Life of Christ Book Club:

Chapters 18-19

Discussion Questions:

1. Who needs your compassion today? How can you serve that person with the hands of Christ and the love of God?

2. What’s one way in which you are comfortable? Is it making you “stomach-minded” instead of focused on hearts and souls? What can you do about it?

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at and is the author of a number of books for families.

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  • Mary Therese

    Sarah, thanks for sharing your story! The section this week that hit me upside the head was in Ch. 16, “The Cross would demand that souls give up what they loved most and be content with the treasure in God’s hands.” It was just after the discussion about the rich young man who went away “sad at heart”. I think that too ties in with what you’re talking about–“It’s easy to believe in God when you’re feeling comfortable.” So much in all of that for me to contemplate–and take action. It does me no good to just think about it, if I don’t make a resolution. Yes, there are several things I’m “comfortable” with that I think God is asking me to relinquish. Why don’t I?

    Oh, and I also was struck by the insight of, ” ‘Persecution’ was thrown into the account of the rewards, not as if it were a loss, but a gain.” (from Mk, 10:31). And yet, how often do we run, shy, hide and show great fear of persecution? Need to think about that one too.

    I also wanted to say that I’m finding this book to be the best “Bible Study” that I have ever gone through. Thanks so much for selecting the book, and sticking with it for so long–I do appreciate it!

    • Maureen

      I so agree with you comment – ‘ this book to be the best “Bible Study” that I have ever gone through.’

    • Sarah Reinhard

      Mary, my experience with this book is that way too: lots of food for thought and it sometimes seems to hit me after I’ve read it (and often upside the head!).

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