Monday, April 16, 2012

On Fasting

Orthodox Easter has just finished.  This year it was a week later than the Unorthodox Easter of the Roman Catholics, of which I am a non practicing member.  I miss some of the pomp and ceremony of some of the great moments in the church year.  The holiest of days are always around Easter.  Easter is the time that we recognize the physical death of Jesus Christ.

Although, we are reminded of this at every mass where the transubstantiation of the host where the bread becomes the body of Christ...When we eat it. Yeah, I guess that makes us cannibals.

One of the other connections for me was the days of Lent where you fast.  Most religions have a fasting period where the person taking the fast is to prepare, spiritually and in some cases physically, for the holy days ahead. When I was younger, we chose something to give up in remembrance of Jesus' trials in the desert.  Also, no meat on Fridays.  Never mind that this was not something ordained by the church but rather done out of ritual.  I miss the weeks of mindful eating, being aware of what you are and are not putting in your body.  It was a forced cleanse.

Now, to mark these days, many people use March Break or the beginning of summer where they want to look their best in a bikini or <shiver> a speedo.  There are all these fads of different types of cleanses that mimic the type of starvation that happened naturally in the wild.  It seems that this quest for naturalism is something that can only be done by people of privilege.  Only a person who has too much has any need of pretending to have too little in order to ensure healthfulness.

I am not sure if the vanity on one hand or the false piety in the other really serves us well.  There is no doubt that after the weeks of denial, the first tastes of forbidden fruit taste great but the same experience can be had by eating in season.  The spiritual has been replaced by the personal.

Food and dining are important to me.  One of the most sacred rituals for our family is the supper meal where we sit down and share.  If I can stop myself long enough from popping up and getting another drink or serving for the children then we ask each other about our days and enjoy each other's company.  It is a resting spot that separates our work and school days from our regular home life.  In some ways, I suppose it stands in for the special fast days that separate regular time from feast times, making the experiences greater.

When our children eventually leave our house, I hope that they will find those special rituals that enhance their days and that they can reflect fondly around our daily rituals.

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