Earlier this month one of my co-workers brought Rosca de Reyes (the Mexican version of King Cake) to the Pauline book store where I work. The three of us who were there that morning shared a piece before we opened up the day. As I bit into my slice, my tooth glanced off a hard plastic surface. The Mexicans, like the French descendants in New Orleans, hide a small “Christ child” figurine in the loaf. I got the baby, which means that I get to host the next feast day. Fine by me—let the cooking begin!
Oh the many layered connections between food and faith. Whether it is a home cooked meal, a bit of store-bought pastry, or the ritual elements of bread and wine—food is often the setting for faith conversations. Think of all of the Gospel stories about Jesus eating with disciples, the sinners, multiplying loaves and fishes, etc. Even today’s Gospel from Mark centers around fasting, food, and wine.
Sometimes I feel that those of us who work in religious publishing and communications are like chefs who curate a magnificent banquet. At its core this feast is the fruit of God’s gracious abundance. Our Father is the master chef. As each person joins the table, they enter into fellowship with God as well as with everyone else who is there. Both food and faith provide nourishment, occasion celebration, build community, and sustain life.
Let the feasting continue!
Photo by Thelmadatter (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
When I entered the convent in 1980, my religious community had the practice of reciting a chaplet immediately following the Benedicamos Domino wake up call. The designated postulant (we took turns by room) was supposed to spring out of bed, stand in the hallway, and lead a prayer which consisted of five decades of a call: “Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus—” to which we all responded: “—make us saints;” each decade was separated by the traditional “Glory be… .” The whole prayer wrapped up with a few more invocations for vocations, and by this point everyone in that dorm area was supposed to be ready to head down to chapel together. Practically speaking it was bedlam, with everyone vying with each other for time in the common bathroom area, and trying to master the art of rapid but perfect bed-making. In the chaos, the voice of the prayer leader would get muffled, and inevitably someone would respond “make us saints” at the same time that everyone else was saying “as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.”
Over time I grew to appreciate that ‘prayer’: make us saints—as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be. Christian community is like that. We make each other saints. We always have.
Of course it is more theologically accurate to say that community is a privileged place for us to actively participate in the faithful love of God which marks our life as holy.
Baptism brings each member of the church into a relationship with God as a member of God’s people. We enter, as it were, into a grand conversation with God, and with others about a God who reveals God’s self to us.
Conversation only comes about when someone dares to cross the open spaces that separate one person from another. The miracle of divine revelation is that God crosses infinite boundaries in order communicate with us. As each one of us and all of us together reciprocate this communication (and in so doing, live into the reality of our Baptism) the Word becomes en-fleshed in our choices, words and gestures, pauses, etc. It is the mystery of grace at work in and through our life.
photo credit: Greg Becker
Hello I’m Sean.
@srseanm on WordPress, Twitter, and Instagram.
I’m a member of the North American province of the Daughters of St. Paul, a group of religious sisters who work with the media. On various social media sites my sisters and I use the hashtag #MediaNun. (So I’m a bit cheeky in swiping that phrase for my blog address.)
My mission-field right now is in the heart of the city – New York City to be exact. I’m the local superior of our convent here, and I work in our Pauline Book and Media book store in midtown. It’s an adventure!
Why this blog?
The Good News is just that—good news. God’s grand story of salvation makes a difference in life. In a sense, the experience of faith is a conversation we have with God and about God. And like all good conversations, it often takes place in the context of a meal. So here’s to good news, good food, and good conversation!