Spiritual Reflection – Lent 2018

Something New for Lent

In 2015, a World Exposition took place in Milan, Italy on the theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Caritas, the important Catholic Aid Organization, assisted a group of Chefs, led by Massimo Bottura to establish a refettorio (dining hall) in an abandoned theatre. The idea was that some 40 various Chefs from across Europe would come and cook the left-overs from all the Fair food establishments and for six months provide a daily nourishing meal for the homeless.

The project was a resounding success and has had the following legacy: an international group, Food for Soul dedicated to establishing refettorio throughout the world; a continuation in Milan of refettorio five times a week; and an interesting cookbook, published by Phaidon, entitled Bread is Gold, Extraordinary Meals with Ordinary Ingredients.

What has all this to do with Lent? In short, trying to live consciously aware that food should not be wasted would be a good way to always keep Lent in mind. I would submit that we spend more time eating than in vocal prayer. Indeed, we should examine how we see food. By the way the word refettorio comes from the Latin, meaning to restore and rebuild. God has given us an abundance of food and the intelligence to do the extraordinary with the ordinary.

Here are a few examples of what I mean. One of my cooking habits concerns potatoes. I usually buy potatoes for oven baking. Once they are baked I use their inside to make mashed potatoes; the skins are cut up, mixed with onions and fried. Later they are pulsed in the food processor, and presto I have two separate potato dishes, giving variety to my meals. To get rid of small quantities of cooked vegetables, meat and cheese, simply make a pizza

In our world, 1/3 of all food is wasted. There are many reasons for this waste and our efforts are small, but they can make a difference. Why not use Lent to make the necessary way of life changes so that our eating habits are healthy, tasty and not wasteful

Msgr. Peter Schonenbach, Spiritual Advisor
National Council