Tuesday, February 08, 2005


"There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink and find enjoyment, for these are from the hand of God."--Ecclesiastes 2:24

"CARNIVAL celebrates the unity of our human race as mortal creatures, who come into this world and depart from it without our consent, who must eat, drink, defecate, belch, and break wind in order to live, and procreate if our species is to survive. Our feelings about this are ambiguous. To us as individuals, it is a cause for rejoicing that we are not alone, that all of us, irrespective of age or sex or rank or talent, are in the same boat."--W.H. Auden

"O LORD, refresh our sensibilities. Give us this day our daily taste. Restore to us soups that spoons will not sink in, and sauces which are never the same twice. Raise up among us stews with more gravy than we have bread to blot it with, and casseroles that put starch and substance in our limp modernity. Take away our fear of fat, and make us glad of the oil which ran upon Aaron's beard. Give us pasta with a hundred fillings, and rice in a thousand variations. Above all, give us grace to live as true folk-to fast till we come to a refreshed sense of what we have and then to dine gratefully on all that comes to hand. Drive far from us, 0 Most Bountiful, all creatures of air and darkness; cast out the demons that possess us; deliver us from the fear of calories and the bondage of nutrition; and set us free once more in our own land, where we shall serve thee as thou hast blessed us-with the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine."--Robert Farrar Capon

"SEVERAL thousand years ago, King David was bringing the Ark of God into a city. This was a serious and awesome responsibility. Only a few months before a man had died at the hand of the Lord for absent-mindedly touching the Ark. Yet it is recorded that David played before the Lord. With much shouting and leaping, he displayed his melodious voice and grace of movement before the Holy. His wife, and probably most of those who observed him, knew him to be irreverent and so disapproved. But the Lord approved. She was made barren for the rest of her days and David was blessed.
Two hundred years ago, when the church still sponsored the education of children, the following rule was created:

We prohibit play in the strongest terms. . . . The students shall rise at five o'clock in the morning, summer and winter. . . . The student shall be indulged with nothing which the world calls play. Let this rule be observed with strictest nicety; for those who play when they are young will play when they are old.
Unfortunately, the church and school were successful, and the children could not play when they grew into maturity. They could not permit themselves to be irreverent. And like David's wife, their lives were made barren by the Lord."--Robert Edward Neale

"ONE will have to give account in the judgment day of every good thing which one might have enjoyed and did not."--The Talmud

WE shall have mead,
We shall have wine,
We shall have feast.
We shall have sweetness and milk,
Honey and milk,
Wholesome ambrosia,
Abundance of that,
Abundance of that.

We shall have harp,
We shall have lute,
We shall have horn.
We shall have sweet psaltery
Of the melodious strings
And the regal lyre,
Of the songs we shall have,
Of the songs we shall have.

And the King of kings,
And Jesus Christ,
And the Spirit of peace
And of grace be with us,
Of grace be with us.--Celtic Blessing on Ash Eve

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