Fr. Terry Ryan, CSP
Matthew 17: 1-9
August 6, 2017
One day when I was about 5 years old, my big sister, Maureen, said to me, “Terry, our relationship reminds me of a donut.” Since she was my first theologian and moral ethicist, I requested some explanation. “Why do you say that?” I asked. She explained, “I am like the part of the donut that is sweet and everyone wants me. You are the hole in the middle. You are nothing.” I thought for a moment, and then said, “But a donut cannot be a donut without the hole in the middle.” “Yes,” Maureen answered, “This is true. So your purpose in life, so far, is to be nothing.” “Will I ever be something?” I asked. She thought for a moment and then gave me hope. “Yes, when you receive First Holy Communion you will be something.” A few years later when I received my First Holy Communion, I was probably the only one at the communion rail who was thinking of donuts!
Because Maureen was mean to me, as in the above situation, she is most likely in purgatory. But she did have a good point that I discovered as the years went on. We all have donut days in our donut spirituality. Some days we feel like nothing. No one cares about me. My prayer life is a mess. God has abandoned me. My life is in ruins. And so on. It is those days when we are living focused on the middle of the donut. It is the empty hole and we feel just like that. But the hole is part of the donut, just as we are part of God, the outside sweetness of divine light. The donut is not a donut without the hole. We are part of God with our empty feeling moments. God is never away from us. The Light is always part of us.
Though we look and feel quite ordinary, we are always quite divine as Children of God in Jesus Christ. Jesus became human and people could not see his Light, his transfigured brilliance. We miss that same brilliance in ourselves and in others when we get into our dark moments. Yet we are transfigured persons looking in the wrong place. Sometimes, when I go to receive communion I still think of donuts, but also of receiving Sweet Jesus.