View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Coffee is good for your soul



If Jesus had come down to save us today rather than 2000 years ago, I’d have some advice for him when it comes to the Eucharist.

The bread/host is fine, but forget the wine.

Go with coffee.

Many churches already run on coffee – coffee hours, coffee for meetings, coffee for the staff, etc.

Heck, at some churches, coffee (with donuts or cookies) is about as close as they get to the Eucharist.

I admit I’m acting out of self-interest here.

I'm not a big fan of wine, but I do love coffee.

I drink 6-8 cups of it a day. When I was reporter/editor, and there was a steady supply, I drank 12 or more cups a day.

I know. The health conscious are all blanching at this point. But I've never had any obvious adverse effects (other than the color of my teeth). In fact, some people think I'm so laid back that they wonder what I would be like if I didn't drink coffee. Probably be comatose, they think.

Actually, I have given up coffee at various times. A couple of times it was for Lent. But I didn't go through withdrawals or become prone to suddenly falling asleep in public places.

Besides, I think coffee is spiritual.

It stirs the soul - or at least wakes it up. Dervishes used to drink a lot of it to help them in achieve their ecstasies. There have been some multi-cup days I understand what they experienced.

It may not look like blood the way that wine does – hence losing some of the visual symbolism - but many people will attest that coffee is the lifeblood of creativity.

It certainly was when I was working on deadline.

It is also true that there’s been a long history of praise –and debate – about the spiritual values of coffee.

Mormons won’t drink it. Some Protestants eschew it.

In the 16th century, priests tried to get Pope Clement VIII to ban coffee, calling it "the devil's drink." They linked it to the Muslims. Clement tasted it first, then declared, "Why, this Satan's drink is so delicious, that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it."

I don’t know what else he did, but I think this one action makes him worthy of a sainthood investigation.

Certainly coffee has had plenty of supporters.

The 18th century philosopher Sir James MacKintosh said, "The powers of a man's mind are directly proportional to the quantity of coffee he drank."

Ah. I drink therefore I think.

And Sheik Abd-al-Kadir said, “No one can understand the truth until he drinks of coffee's frothy goodness.”

Can’t argue against the pursuit of the truth.

Isak Dinesen declared in 1934, "Coffee, according to the women of Denmark, is to the body what the Word of the Lord is to the soul."

Always did like Denmark.

Some of our good Catholic women might want to consider the words of Stephanie Piro: “’Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee.”

As for dietary concerns, Alex Levine said, "Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat."

Begorrah!

Yes, coffee seems the right drink for these troubled times.

As Alexander King suggested, “Actually, this seems to be the basic need of the human heart in nearly every great crisis - a good hot cup of coffee.”

Amen.

So coffee would be a worthy choice for Jesus to make these days.

Alas, though. He already came.

Wine got the nod.

At least we can come home from Mass with the taste of wine in our mouths, put on Sebastian Bach’s “The Coffee Cantata,” and clean our palates with a cup of coffee.

Or two.

2 Comments:

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