Heaven Door Outreach -- VID 15
An extra place, a broken cup -- VID 15
Catholics often overlook two basic principles of Biblical life. First, fasting means decreasing (not eliminating) food intake, something which has atrophied into only two days a year: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. It seems to be a strange math lab-measuring: eating one full meal and two others which together cannot equal a second full meal.
Secondly, fasting is always practiced in relationship to a feast. Otherwise, fasting on its own, can be more like a weight-loss program than a spiritual exercise. There are times when our health requires us to lose weight. Lent, however, is primarily a time to fast before the great feast of the Resurrection. The Apostles, as recorded in Acts, first experienced the resurrected Jesus during fifty days of eating and drinking Him, a time we now call the Easter Season.
Fasting before the Feast does not mean making up for what we will gige up during the forty days of Lent. It is not “pigging out” at the feast on what we enjoy and gave up. However, when we share the Fruits of our Fast with needy families, we approach the feast lightened up in body and spirit and more appreciative of God’s bountiful gifts. Appreciation is expressed in the practice of sharing the "fruits of the fast" with needy families. Summing up what was saved on downsized meals, putting aside money when skipping restaurant dining, or adding up the monetary value of favorites we denied ourselves are all ways to share with those in need. Donating the above funds to a local food pantry is the way we recognize and serve Jesus in persons in need. Fasting for many of them is a lifestyle. For most of us it's a free choice. Some of their lives are broken, like the dish and/or cup of the empty place setting (note intro pic above).
A fully liberated person lightens their own burden, their food intake, recognize Jesus as true food, the Bread of Life, and serves Him freely in the corporal Works of Mercy (pic below of the terracotta lintel over the main or Social Justice Entrance to the Church of St Casimir, Prince of the Poor, Buffalo, NY. In order from l-r feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, welcome/shelter the homeless, bury the dead, visit the sick).
Gratitude in the Holy Spirit is first expressed as we end the fast at the Eucharistic Feast (the word Eucharist means thanksgiving), the bounty of which is so great it extends into the home. For this reason, some families bring Easter food for a blessing on Holy Saturday, in what is also called a food basket blessing. Having set aside favorites, snacks, candies, beer or other alcoholic beverages; the overflow of downsized Lenten meals become a gift to the needy. Needy families, therein, symbolically join in the Easter feast of the believer’s table.
Traditionally there is a four-fold dimension of a Catholic celebration fast: 1) Limiting food intake, 2) Giving up favorites, 3) Joyfully looking forward to the Easter “break-fast” or the Holy Eucharist, and 4) Sharing the “fruits of the fast” with the less fortunate. The interplay of these four elements gives a fuller, spiritual meaning to fasting in the Christian family.
For the Baptized, Holy Communion, breaks every faith fast, a true “Breakfast of Believers.” More so, this Communion extends into each Catholic home through a significant, holyday meal, once called a “love feast” or agapé. Rooted in Easter, Sunday’s weekly commemorations of the Resurrection were called the Lord’s Day and centered in the Lord’s Supper, the earliest name for Mass. This was the Sunday of a believer, even during the first four centuries when Sunday was a workday. In the Christian homes, the power of Lord’s Sunday Supper transformed daily meals.
St Paul in his Letter to the Corinthians elucidates the twofold dimension of “recognizing the Body" [of Jesus] at the Lord’s Supper and partaking worthily. He refers to active awareness of Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist itself (a communion in the Body and Blood of Christ) binding the Lord’s Supper with recognizing the Lord in the poor and needy (1Cor 10 and 11). A traditional and full experience of the Lord’s Supper must never overlook the place of the world’s needy. As St John Paul taught, “our mutual love and, in particular, by our concern for those in need, we will be recognized as true followers of Christ. This will be the criterion by which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations are judged.”
Jesus himself proclaimed the role needy, less fortunate, and homeless people have in the life of believers with words so powerful they were put to music: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.” The need of a stranger reveals God’s will to us. Page by page, Fr Dan Honan and Lonni Colling Pratt reveal this evangelical mystery in the multitude of experiences contained in their riveting book, Radical Hospitality (Paraclete Press: Brewster Massachusetts, 2002).
Fundamentally, the above authors expose how God is more fully present in the unexpected surprises or derailments of our life than in our well laid out personal plans. The radical nature of Christian hospitality is an ability to be attentive and respond, not necessarily to correct or fix all, such “upsets.” The book’s popularity spread in 2005 with an accompanying discussion guide with the same title.
Consult Heaven Door Outreach Vid 15 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5S7Ch6uuZeY
All video and textual content of St Casimir’s Series on the Domestic Church and Tandem Blog Articles © CzMKrysa, Buffalo, NY April-August 2020
Above photo: Social Justice Entrance. St Casimir, Prince of the Poor, distributes alms and bread to needy families, homebound seniors, and street kids. Church of St Casimir, Buffalo, NY.