Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Eat, or the Journey Will Be Too Long

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Eat, or the Journey Will Be Too Long

Article excerpt

I think a lot about food. I've carried around an imaginary 15 extra pounds most of my life. I'm 46 years old and I'd guess that six of those extra pounds are now real. I don't burn calories like I used to in spite of workouts supplemented by Friday nights devoted to Japanese sword fighting.

But I'm making peace with my metabolism. For one thing I love to cook. This fall I concocted a soup of squash, amaranth and Japanese seaweed. Cookbooks don't interest me as much as books that enumerate the healing properties of ingredients that go into the pot. Every time I lift the lid, I'm sure I've hit on the cure for cancer.

I'm not the only one who thinks about food.

In 1 Kings 19:4-8, we have Elijah fleeing for his life. He stops beneath a broom tree in the desert, begs God to end his life ("This is enough, oh Lord"), then falls asleep. An angel wakes him to deliver a hearth cake and water. Elijah eats and drinks then stretches out again. The angel returns, saying, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you." Elijah, "strengthened by the food," walks 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb.

That scripture story was read at St. Charles Borromeo Church before a procession honoring the Blessed Sacrament. Vietnamese parishioners in long silk tunics led the way carrying a gong, a candle and a crucifix. Blessed Sacrament Fr. John Thomas Lane of St. Charles and Dominican Fr. Michael Demkovich of St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center, our destination, took turns carrying the Blessed Sacrament beneath the canopy.

Eat, or the journey will be too long, the journey of life, I whispered to myself. I squinted, trying to see the host mounted in the gorgeous monstrance, its gold spokes seeming to reach beyond the canopy to eternity. I felt happy to belong to a church that believes in the real presence of God in food.

Some Jews are thinking about food, too. …

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