Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fasting and Feasting

Mother Abbess and Sister Mary Christine
cutting the jubilee cake

In our Franciscan tradition, food is very important in the spiritual life.  Our Poor Clare perpetual fast in no way negates our appreciation for the culinary arts.  Rather, I would say that the fast enhances it!  Fasting is the best appetizer; only the abstemious really know how to eat.  In the liturgical calendar, we have what are called “feastdays”.  These are celebrations of our Lord or the saints or an event in salvation history.  The original meaning of the word, however, is that this was a day on which you had a feast:  Good food and plenty of it.  Without violating the fast (one meal a day with two light refections), the quality of our meals is determined by the rank of the liturgical day or by whatever we happen to be celebrating on the family/community level.  On Sister Mary Christine’s diamond jubilee of religious profession, we had a three tiered cake, decorated by our creative cooks to uniquely express our joy in her 60 years of consecrated life.  Not only the taste and smell, but also the visual presentation of our meals is important.  The body can share in the joy of the soul on a special day just as it will at the resurrection.  But these special days must be spaced out during our mortal life, lest our still sinful inclinations take advantage of us.  So whether feasting or fasting we do all in the name of Jesus our Lord!

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