Saturday, March 31, 2012

Where to Start?

At my local supermarket, which is stocking products for the upcoming celebration of Easter, I spotted, next to the wide variety of Chocolate Bunnies, a Chocolate Cross:

(I cropped off the name of the company that produced this confection.) Maybe this style of candy has been on the market for years and I just never noticed it. But when I saw the item, I had a visceral reaction against this development. Now, thank God this company had the sensibility to not issue a Chocolate Crucifix, though that must certainly be next.

People to whom I have described this product have normally at first expressed the view that there is nothing at all wrong with such a thing. That is, until I ask them one important question. "What's your strategy for eating it?"

I remember as a child invariably thinking, as I ate my annual Chocolate Bunny, things along the line of, "Hmm, I guess I'll start with your ears this year. Next I'll eat your tail."

And there's just no escaping the fact that, if you eat a Chocolate Cross, you'll have to immediately make that crucial decision of where to start.

Shall I just start at the top, eat the branch that would have hosted the sign INRI (Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum/Jesus the Nazarean, King of the Jews)? Next perhaps I will eat the base, the Milk Chocolate plank symbolizing that prototype onto which the feet of my Savior were nailed. As for the top branches, where the hands of my Lord were pierced, I'll maybe save those and enjoy their sweetness later.

When I ask people how they would eat a Chocolate Cross, they are suddenly more circumspect and express the view that, after all, there's just something not right with consuming this thing.

To eat and to drink are ultimately at the root of our very being. And in the Orthodox/Catholic Tradition, we experience, through the gift of the Sacrament, union with the Divine by means of this basic and vital process. Sadly, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ sojourning in the more radical Protestant communities do not experience this. However much they talk of "feasting on the Word (meaning, read the Bible)," their spiritual hunger remains. And eating a Chocolate Cross is a tragic substitution for that which Christ instituted.

I avoid foods with processed sugar. But if I splurge, it will be with a Chocolate Bunny or a Cadbury Egg. And before the Cross of Christ I bow down in worship and his Holy Resurrection I glorify.

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