God knows what we need better than we do. I was reminded of this truth tonight when my plans unexpectedly changed.
I needed to bake prosphora. I was having a rough day; I was upset about things which made me irritable. I didn’t want to bake at home because I wanted to be alone and pray while I baked. To do that at home I would have to stay up late, and I was too tired for a late night. So I asked the monks if I could use their kitchen after they finished dinner and clean up.
In my mind what I needed was a quiet kitchen in which I could be alone with my prayers and thoughts. I planned on praying, processing what was upsetting me, and baking. Nothing else. Well, my plans changed. Father Paiisi heard I was going over to bake. When I arrived at the monastery, he asked if I was going to bake by myself. We had tried unsuccessfully to get together a few times before so he could show me how he makes communion bread. Since this was an unexpected but prime opportunity I said he could come and show me his way if he wanted. He did.
I’ve been baking prosphora for many years now but have not perfected the process. Father Paiisi is a deacon and makes prosphora differently than how I was taught. I knew he hoped I would make it the way he preferred, so I pushed my plan aside and went into the kitchen to observe Father Paiisi.
Thankfully, I had brought a journal which I planned to use to write down my thoughts while the bread was rising. Instead, I ended up writing down a bunch of notes, tips, and the beginning of a book I have been working on about prosphora baking. The entire process was prayerful, helpful, and even productive regarding my book. The discussion ended up being exactly what I needed.
The most important reminder of the evening for me was “…love covers a multitude of sins.”(1 Peter 4:8) When we bake the bread that will become the Eucharist, it is a symbol of us giving our life to Christ, all of our life–the good and the bad. He takes our offering and makes us holy. Just as the prosphora (which means “that which is offered”) is made into His Body so too are we who receive it. His love covers us, and those who bear His name are called to do the same. We have to accept the good and the bad in others too. Our love must cover a multitude of sins: so we forgive, we are patient, we trust, we hope, we persevere. Because love never fails.
God always knows what we need better than we do!