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    The 40 days prior to Easter, known as Lent, are often filled with fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. Fasting takes many forms: Some choose to abstain from a favorite food; others give up activities like watching television or gossiping.

    We fast so that, every time we reach for that piece of candy or begin to say something uncharitable, we are reminded of Christ’s great sacrifice for us, and we attempt to be more and more like Him.

    It is tradition in many places for families to bring baskets of the food they will be enjoying on Easter Sunday to church the day before for a blessing. It’s a short, joyful rite; all of the goodies we’ve been avoiding for weeks will now be part of the Easter feast.

    The foods in the baskets are all ordinary things: meats and breads, vegetables and fruits, a few sweets. It is Easter that makes them special—this celebration of the triumph of life over death.

    John Donne, the masterful English poet of the 14th and 15th centuries, wrote about this in his “Holy Sonnets”:

    Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
    Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
    For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
    Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
    From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
    Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
    And soonest our best men with thee do go,
    Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
    Thou’art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
    And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
    And poppy’or charms can make us sleep as well
    And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
    One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
    And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

    The act of bringing food to church to be blessed is a human way of acknowledging that death has no place in our faith lives.

    For those who are not believers, there is still joy in sharing a common meal, especially when those sharing the meal have toiled for the food being offered. Even in the dullest of souls, there is a shimmer of Heaven. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow, we live.

    Rev. Robert Sirico, President

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