Holy Land Pilgrimage

Holy Grounds

February 24, 2019

I once came across a sign that read “The best kind of happiness is a habit you’re passionate about.”  As men called to the priesthood, we have acquired good and virtuous habits that include praying the Liturgy of the Hours, attending Mass every day, devoting a holy hour (or more) daily, and doing devotional practices like the Rosary — all of which bring us spiritual happiness. We certainly also share in our passion for God and the desire to serve His people. But there is one other commonality among my brothers and I that is hard to overlook during this pilgrimage — our passion for coffee. This intense desire for caffeine is evident every morning, when coffee aficionados gravitate like moths to a flame toward glorious (and obviously expensive) espresso makers before breakfast. Many wish their floor back at Mundelein had a machine like some of the ones we’ve seen here. The combination of the distinctive aroma, the pleasurable taste, and the gratifying jolt of java is undeniably euphoric.

Oh, the power and majesty of God’s little creation we call the coffee bean!  This precious seed of the coffee plant calls to mind Genesis 1:29 when God says, “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant upon the earth, and all the trees that have in themselves the ability to sow their own kind, to be food for you.” I never cease to be in awe of the wonders of nature, God’s gift to all of us on earth. It made me wonder: Did Jesus drink coffee? The answer is very likely a NO. Scripture does not even make a direct reference to coffee, although some sources say it is implied, particularly in 1st Samuel 17:17 which mentions of “roasted grain.” Because coffee is said to have been discovered in the 9th century (around 850 AD) it is highly unlikely that Jesus had the pleasure of sipping a nice clay cup of joe. Regardless, He is always present when I am enjoying my cappuccino or multiple shots of espresso. It was in His most gracious will that a beautiful creation called the coffee bean was discovered and could ignite such a passion among us. So, “whether you eat or drink, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

Larry Basbas

Archdiocese of Chicago

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