In the beginning …
From the very beginning of the world, food and Faith have been interwoven by the creative and loving hand of God, making food the meeting point between this world and the heavenly kingdom. Not only did God intentionally create us in such a way that food was required to sustain natural bodily life, but he also made food the avenue by which we would receive the gift of supernatural life.
In paradise God planted fruit trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. From the tree of life, Adam and eve were to receive the gift of eternal life – god’s life. But from the tree of knowledge of good and evil man was not to eat, lest, through disobedience, he discover life apart from God – death. We might say that with the creation of the tree of life, god invited man to the first great feast. And with the creation of the tree of knowledge, god introduced man to the first great fast.
In his Hymns on Paradise, St. Ephraim the Syrian explains that the tree of knowledge, and the fast that God set around it, was the gateway through which Adam and eve were to walk so as to discover the banquet of God. From this first encounter with food in the book of Genesis, we discover something important about God’s plan for us: that through food and Faith filled self control, we were meant to find the path that leads to eternal life.
We can say, then that food is meant to be the bearer of the life of the one who gives it. When food is prepared as a gift by one who loves, the one who receives the gift receives more than food: he receives the food charged with love, charged with the life of the one who lovingly prepares it.
And when one gives in love and one receives I love, the original plan of God for the communion of His people is restored.
Fr. Hezekiah (Sabatino) Carnazzo
Founding Executive Director
Institute of Catholic Culture Pastor
St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church
From the cookbook “Cooking with the Saints” by by Alexandra Greeley (Author), Fernando Flores (Author)