Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On Feasting

It is Advent, but Christmas is coming. Here is an article (by a Protestant!) about making merry. It laments, as I do myself, the Puritanical attitude of many devout Christians to anything of beauty, which ends up being labeled as "vanity." I hate to say it, but there are even some Catholics with this attitude. The article says:
I am convinced that more than a few serious Christians have so allowed their negative attitude toward "the world" to influence them that in the realm of eating, as in so many other realms (such as entertain­ment, dress, art, literature), they cut themselves off from God's creative gifts. I would go so far as to argue that gas­tronomy is not to be classed among the materialistic "lower immediacies" at the bottom of the axiological ladder of values (to use the expression of the late Edward John Carnell of Fuller Seminary), but deserves transcen­dental status! The deadly sin of gluttony is not the equivalent of gourmandism, but its misuse.

Many pietistic souls will be surprised to learn that throughout Scripture eating and drinking are regularly associated with events of the highest theological and spiritual importance. The Bible opens with man's fall -- described in terms of choosing to eat not what God had provided but what he had forbidden; it ends with the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, eschatologically re­storing Eden and ushering in the new Heaven and new earth (Rev. 19:9). The prime representation of grace under the Old Covenant was the Passover meal, and it foreshadowed the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which our Lord expressly connects with the eternal Marriage Supper (Mt. 26:29 and parallels). The centrality of feasting in the early Church is evidenced by her agapes or love feasts, and the observance of the "feasts" or "festivals" of the saints has been a vital part of Christian worship in all the historic confessional traditions.
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5 comments:

alaughland said...

The difference between gluttony and gourmandism is certainly the key as to the increase of overweight people in this country. People stuff themselves with all kinds of garbage food and do not really sit down to well planned meals and dinner as a special time with food and conversation as the primary focus.

elena maria vidal said...

True. And people have forgotten how to converse at the table.

elena maria vidal said...

NOTE: I have edited this post; the original mention of graphic NFP lessons at Mass did not really go with the topic. Perhaps I will discuss it some other time. Stay tuned.....

Terry Nelson said...

Good point - the celebration of Chritmas has always allowed for wholesome merriment and rejoicing.

elena maria vidal said...

Thanks, Terry!