Monday, December 28, 2015

GRACE BEFORE MEALS








Pic.: Shankar R.

Apart from Christmas and New-year, this entire month – particularly the last two weeks of the month – has been a heavily-loaded season of weddings and other social events like First Holy Communion, birthdays, anniversaries and re-unions. I had been attending, almost, one in the afternoon and one at night, yes, practically, for last full week!

Yesterday was a Sunday. In the afternoon, I attended the First Holly Communion celebrations of Alisha, my niece. At night, I had another niece Janice’s wedding reception to attend. A celebration is a celebration… It has to be grand, lavish. But, imagine my dilemma… There is a limit how much I can eat and digest. The hosts want me to feast on what has been so lovingly and generously arranged by them. They are delighted to see me indulge in it. But, how can I do so, at noon and night, day after day, for, almost, a week?

Yes, that has been my dilemma. At some places, I just skipped the food… Just offered my wishes and returned… At some places, I overate or just stuck to a spoon or two… And, at some places, I wasted the food even!

Last afternoon, at the hotel where Alisha’s First Holy Communion was celebrated, there were two other celebrations - a silver jubilee and a birthday… one on each floor! At night, too, in the vast grounds, where Janice’s wedding reception was celebrated, there were two more wedding receptions… Each one of them was grand, almost kingly… Music, dance and extra-ordinarily layout of food and beverages… The grounds were decorated and lit up with magical allure…  Yes, for the hosts, it was important… very, very important to hold it that way. For the guests, it was a heart-warming experience…

But, at night, when Fr. Reginald said the Grace before Meals, I, almost, froze with guilt. “Bless O Lord… this food which we are about to eat… Bless the ones who have prepared with so much love...” I was not moved at all by any of these routine lines during the Grace before Meals… What moved me the most was when Father asked us – almost pleaded – not to waste food. “What we waste on one night can feed some for a month out there,” Father reminded us, “So, be sensitive, be responsible my dear brother and sisters.”

I needed it badly, let me confess… This food for thought!

GERALD D’CUNHA

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