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Remembering our first love

Reunion des Gastronomes Parade Service

24 December 2011 11:00 | Fr. Roderick Leece

Even with the broadsheet papers, I remain on-guard for lazy journalism, …and for anything that gratuitously sets off a war between the sexes. But I was interested to read reports this week…that just over half of mothers think their relationship moves to platonic parents…as opposed to carnal couple after childbirth. How husbands see them as mothers rather than lovers…and almost half of respondents feel their partner has forgotten the sensual woman they originally fell in love with. Being pushed by their partner into being just a mum has led to mothers developing mumnesia…there’s a new word for me…mumnesia…with 40 per cent forgetting who they were …before they had children. The suggested remedy was to try to guarantee some me time to spend on hobbies and appearance…trying to keep hold of the real me.

Trying to keep hold of the real me is an appropriate agenda for all of us…especially during Advent at the start of the new year…remembering our first love…our true identity…our final destiny…the real joy and excitement that we know life offers…above all when we are generous to God and to neighbour.

It is a always a pleasure to welcome back to St George’s for their annual parade service, the Reunion des Gastronomes…representing senior management of the hospitality industry from the best hotels…clubs and restaurants. It was clear to me when our Gastronomes President spoke on Thursday at the Annual Banquet, that he has not forgotten his first love…nor neglected what he sees to be at the heart of the hospitality industry…namely the food and beverage operation.

We too in Church of course have a food and beverage operation at the heart the Christian life - fed as we are…both by God’s word and the holy scriptures (as we are reminded on this Bible Sunday)…and the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood here at this sacred meal. Next week the newly confirmed…8 candidates will for the first time partake of this holy food and beverage.

Food and beverage is of course at the centre of your work…and therefore… I was very surprised to learn from Adrian Bannister, as was he, that food and drink is outsourced at such a prominent place as The Savoy.

Outsourcing is usually a way of saving money…of employing people who are forced to re-apply for their jobs (provided the jobs have not gone to India) on less favourable terms and conditions. And as a customer, it is frustrating not being able to deal with the boss. I don’t know how it works now at the Savoy, although sadly cannot pretend I have been there in the past either, and so could not compare!

Mercifully, as far as the Christian faith is concerned…outsourcing is an unknown concept. You could say that other religions outsource the revelation of divine love…to prophets…sages…and gurus…and also that this is part of the Christian tradition.

But God does not engage in outsourcing. Everything remains in-house. So that God spends more…not less. In fact…as we discover when the Crib ends up at the Cross…he spends it all. He both gives all of his divinity in becoming flesh…as a child born in poverty and humility…and spends all that love can accomplish…on the Cross.

This divine generosity is what we celebrate at this time of year…and gives us confidence to look at ourselves more deeply…and re-examine our priorities. Confidence to re-claim the real me…rediscovering our true identity…and finding our own particular place in the story of divine love…in short what God’s plan is for each one of us.

And how meagre our plans might be for Him. How we might perhaps have outsourced what should be the centre of our lives and being…to just the odd hour…and just occasionally.
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