Sunday, October 21, 2007

Faith, Hope, Love and Good Pasta

This is the weekly, Food and Faith segment. If that sounds about as exciting as watching grass grow, move to the next post, I understand.

The interconnectedness of faith and food is as old as man -- or woman, since it was Eve who first bit into the apple. One can hardly turn a page in the Bible without finding a reference to food and drink: Jehovah rained manna from heaven on hungry, Jewish refugees, Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, and Psalm Twenty-three’s, “he leads me beside still cup runneth over” are some of the Good Book’s most familiar passages.

In the Christian era, the first recorded miracle of Christ was at a wedding, occasioned by a shortage of wine. One of Jesus’ sermons required loaves and fishes to be distributed before he could begin, and the Last Supper was, well, a supper.

The literary world is no different. My literary friends tell me that a characteristic of the comic genre is that the comedy ends in a wedding or celebration. Something like, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I think. Imagine that without food and wine.

Find a love story and you are soon to find dinner. It’s just the way we are, food and love are complementary. Which reminds me that, charity, the highest form of love, is often expressed by feeding someone who is hungry. “If you do this for the least of my brethren you are doing it to me.” Just preparing a meal for loved ones is an act of charity.

All of this to say that I hope the materialists never win the battle for the American soul, where food is sustenance and pleasure without faith, charity and community. As Leon Kass puts it in his book, The Hungry Soul, men don't feed at troughs they dine at tables. Something is different here.

Man is not just a complicated collection of molecules. Nor is he an embodied soul. He is body and soul in a mysterious union, and the daily activities of charitable men are holy simply by their doing them. That is, it is not just turning water into wine that is good, but also drinking the wine made from water.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to say I agree. 100%. I grew up in a family where anything of any importance had a meal connected to it. My mother still loves preparing meals, talking about what she's making, how everyone liked it, etc etc. and I know that her love is expressed in a particular way through every little detail of the meal. Lovely insights! Sr. Julia