Tag Archives: Bishop of Utrecht

“Sole Provision for the Unknown Way”

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, October 7, 2015

path in Ireland

“Sole Provision for the Unknown Way”

Today’s prayer is about Longing. I chose it for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer, and this brief prayer concerns “Thy Kingdom Come” (Prayer 176, page 65) [1]

The prayer I chose for today was written by a Bishop of Utrecht, in what is now the Netherlands, about the year 900. (Thanks to the editor George Appleton for making sure it was translated and readable.) St. Radbod (also known as Radboud) wrote this heartfelt prayer.

Each line is compact, and brimming full of meaning and earnestness.

“Hunger and thirst, O Christ, for sight of Thee/Came between me and all the feasts of earth./Give thou Thyself the Bread, thyself the Wine,/Thou, sole provision for the unknown way./Long hunger wasted the world wanderer,/With sight of thee may he be satisfied.”

Just think. Radbod said sight of Christ came between him and—everything to eat or drink on earth. That doesn’t mean simply a common meal. No, the Bishop mentioned “feasts.” Those are special, sumptuous meals, full of uncommon, fine dishes. And I assume special drinks, as well. So, Christ means more to him than eating and drinking really special foods and drinks.

Could I say that? Does Christ mean more to me than feasting? Usually, yes. But—special, sumptuous meals? Extra-special food and drink? I realize I have a weakness for food and drink. (Yes, gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins I need to be particularly concerned about.) Some of it comes from my upbringing. I know food is deeply, significantly associated with comfort for me. From a very early age.

Moreover, Radbod calls Christ “sole provision for the unknown way.” I am assuming the Bishop was thinking of mendicants or pilgrims wandering through the land. They need no extra provisions, because Christ is enough for them. Christ fills them, satisfies them. With Christ as their Provision, their Companion, they are content.

Am I content with Christ as my Provision? Is He enough for me, or do I need more? And more, and more after that? I know I don’t wander the world very much. I’m pretty much a homebody, in fact. But—I ask again—am I satisfied with Christ, my Sole Provision? Dear Lord, such a penetrating question. And, I have no firm answer.

Gracious God, help me to be content. Satisfied. My “Sole Provision for the unknown way” ahead of me. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear my heartfelt prayer.


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[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 65.