‘Epic Food Fight’ gives us a taste of God’s recipe for eternal salvation

By Jerry Circelli

Correspondent

9/8/2014

EpicFoodFight-Cover-WEB.jpg 
Image courtesy of Servant Books.

Epic Food Fight: A bite-sized history of Salvation by Father Leo Patalinghug
Servant Books (Cincinnati, Ohio, 2014)
176 pp., $17.99

In his latest book, Epic Food Fight, Father Leo Patalinghug invites us along to feast with some of the most prominent figures in the Bible. Unlike his previous two books, Grace Before Meals and Spicing Up Married Life, Fr. Leo’s latest work contains no recipes. Instead, it takes us on a fascinating, spiritual journey through the pages of Scripture to witness how food was an integral part of God’s design to show love for his children.

Fr. Leo refers to this study of Scripture in relation to nourishment as a “theology of food,” and it begins with a battle of biblical proportions involving Satan, Adam, Eve, and God.

When Satan, for example, convinces Eve to eat and share with Adam the fruit from the tree of good and evil, we first discover the intentions of this fallen angel. While God has literally given Adam and Eve the freedom to eat anything in the Garden of Eden, with the exception of the fruit from the forbidden tree, they fall victim to the temptation of the devil.

As Fr. Leo writes in Epic Food Fight, “The Evil One has an objective to feed us with the food that destroys the soul, while God has the food for eternal life.”

Fr. Leo provides food for thought throughout the book in order to help us grow in faith and appreciate the gifts God has so freely given.

The priest reminds us that eating is important, crucial to our very survival, and we will certainly face many temptations in life that may whet our appetites. Our mission, however, is to feast on God’s teachings. “Be careful,” writes Fr. Leo. “Remember, you are what you eat.”

Father Leo takes us through the Old Testament, showing us that food was used to celebrate covenants. It was also used to break covenants through gluttony and drunkenness.

Understanding the Old Testament through a study of food, Fr. Leo explains, prepares us for a deeper understanding of spiritual nourishment in the form of the Eucharist in the New Testament.

In Salvation History, for example, Fr. Leo says God redirects us back to his original plan for Adam and Eve, and his intent to feed them. But this time he gives us Jesus and Mary. Mary faithfully follows God’s plan and carries the blessed fruit in her womb. She nourishes Jesus, who becomes “The Tree of Life for all to eat and drink.”

This blessed fruit from the Tree of Life, Fr. Leo writes, “will be God’s ultimate weapon to reverse the destructive tendency that comes from the poison of the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.”

Throughout the book, Fr. Leo reminds us that the Good News is that God wants to feed us. The cooking priest explains to us that we can become closer to God by following the example of Jesus, who although he was master, served his disciples at the table. He freely gave of himself and fed others.

As Fr. Leo deepens our understanding of faith through food, he points out some interesting facts of which we may not be aware. For example, did you know that Bethlehem means “House of Bread”? Certainly, you know that Jesus was born in a manger, but did you know the word is linked to the same Latin-influenced Italian word, “mangiare,” meaning “to eat”?

“Already, before Jesus can even utter his first words,” writes Fr. Leo, “profound connections to food are established.”

Later in Jesus’ life, we see the meaningful and spiritual connections of the Lord’s turning water into wine, the miracle of multiplying loaves and fishes, and so much more.

Near the end of Epic Food Fight, Fr. Leo leaves us with “Ten Commandments of Personal Dieting” that are directly related to salvation history and filled with practical suggestions for how we deal with food in our personal lives, including the obvious, such as praying before every meal, and the not so obvious like avoiding “the temptation to turn a diet plan into an organized religion.”

Fr. Leo’s Epic Food Fight can help satisfy an inner hunger we all have to grow closer to our faith and will help us to develop renewed appreciation for the food God provides to strengthen us every day.

See Also

A theology of food: ‘Cooking priest” Fr. Leo is on a mission to bring families together with Christ

Fr.-Leo-Fire-BUTTON.jpgHaving earned the distinction as the “Cooking Priest,” Father Leo Patalinghug has discovered the right recipe for teaching the word of God in a most palatable way. If you were to write it on your recipe file index card, it might go something like this: “Directions — Start with two parts Gospel, mix in delicious meal ingredients, sprinkle on some humor, and bring the entire mixture up to high heat with the help of the Holy Spirit.”

EpicFoodFight-Cover-BUTTON.jpgIn his latest book, Epic Food Fight, Father Leo Patalinghug invites us along to feast with some of the most prominent figures in the Bible. Unlike his previous two books, Grace Before Meals and Spicing Up Married Life, Fr. Leo’s latest work contains no recipes. Instead, it takes us on a fascinating, spiritual journey through the pages of Scripture to witness how food was an integral part of God’s design to show love for his children. Fr. Leo refers to this study of Scripture in relation to nourishment as a “theology of food,” and it begins with a battle of biblical proportions involving Satan, Adam, Eve, and God.

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