…and Rod Dreher has started a crunchy new blog at the Dallas Morning News’ site about fasting, food, and God. Fr. Schmemann opened “For the Life of the World” with the familiar saying “You are what you eat”, but in the spirit of the rest of the book it might also be said that you are “why you eat what you eat.”
Eating has everything to do with what it means to be human in the world. And this is just further emphasised by the Blessed Sacrament. Any Sacrament (or to be more accurate, mysterion) has its meaning in Christ – it is completely about being rooted in Christ. Abiding in Christ is abiding in the Sacramental Life.
Every Sacrament has a physical element, because every Sacrament has a fullness to it that the merely “spiritual” cannot. Better said, every Sacrament has a physical element because every Sacrament is purely Christian, and since Christ is divinity without the exclusion of any human characteristic it is necessary physical.
He who has eyes to see will not see the mysteria as being only physical – they are “for the life of the world and for our salvation” and it would hard to see “life” as a purely physical phenomenon. (The way even naturalistic philosophers talk about life testifies to this.)
So part of the point of Great Lent is to remind us that what we do, we do physically. We rely on things for life, physically. And we need to rely on Christ completely, which is not divorced from wine and from water. What Christ is doing – even today! – is complete and mysterious, and if it doesn’t run into us physically than we are not truly abiding in Him. And since this criticism has great purchase in my life, I am going to run to Christ by being Vegan tomorrow, and repenting of my scandalous selfish consumption of the first fruits of the earth and my self-reliance.