Food, Flesh, and God's Grace

When I was 18, I saw Hamlet for the first time. While Hamlet tossed around Yorick's skull, the words about death wormed under my skin, and I stared at the heads and the cheeks and the hair of the people all around me -- someday, we would all take this skull form.  There was a skull in each of us, a bit less chipper than the thin person inside the fat person, but nonetheless waiting to get out.

I don't mean this in a terrifying morbid way, though I have my share of morbid terror.  I mean, again, that this one body thing goes beyond any particular creed, any particular experience of physical or spiritual existence.  We are all connected, through the flesh, in the flesh, though we are all separated by the same token.  We are in this together.  And that, itself, is holy truth.

That's what food is, too.  At some point as a kid, I was asked to say grace, and I got very excited about tracing the food back to its source, thanking everyone from the farmer who grew the food to the cashier who rang it up at the store (I was not often invited to say grace twice in the same venue).  But food connects us, deeply, intimately, to the whole of this planet, to each other, to the bodies of what we consume, and what, eventually, will consume our bodies too (though they be -- or perhaps inasmuch as they are -- destined for resurrection).

And food tastes good.  Food tastes so good!  So that makes it a little easier to believe that God is good, that we are held in a mystery that is good, and deep, and delicious.


Take a nice big bite.  And even if you don't say grace, there it is inside you.


Rebecca Lynne Fullan is a contributor to From the Pews in the Back: Young Women and Catholicism, and to the corresponding blog: www.fromthepewsintheback.comShe is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Harvard Divinity School.  She loves food, and God, and bodies. 

1/11/2010 5:00:00 AM