Baking Bread With Brother Bear (Part I)

Baking Bread with Brother Bear….

Baking bread is a passion… Jacques Pepin is often heard making the statement that if he was able to choose the last meal he would have on earth, it would be some fresh bread and butter.

Bread is one of the most basic foods in the world, and it is common to every people and culture.
there are breads of every size, shape, color, flavor, taste and texture. There are hundreds of techniques and
methods used for baking with every kind of utensil you can imagine.

Baking bread is something that is part science, and part artistry… It is passion and fire…
it is different in every atmosphere, in every environment and the flavors and possibilities are nearly endless.

Baking bread is experimentation… trials… failures and triumphs. It is work, it is messy, it is labor and it is love.

So, you may be wondering why it is that I am going on and on about the wonders of baking bread in a talk about Theology, and St, Francis, and God.

Baking bread as many lessons to teach us, about our faith, and lives.

Let us consider the basics of bread. Flour (wheat), Water, Salt, and yeast (leaven).

First the Flour :

“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat;
but if it dies, it produces much fruit ” John 12:24

This passage is the beginnings of the passion, when the hour of the passion was coming and Jesus is trying to explain these things to his disciples.

In the same way, we need to go through several spiritual and emotional “deaths” in order to bear spiritual fruit in our lives. It is not an easy thing. It takes work, and practice and experience.

In the same way that a bread baker does not walk into a kitchen on their first day and produce loaves of bread that everyone will love. These things take work. doing the work of mixing dough… getting your hands (and other things) dirty.

Saint Francis had this same experience. He dreamed of becoming a knight for his town. He got all dressed up, there were parties and celebrations etc. Instead of the glory he had in mind, he met with some harsh realities once he stepped onto the stage of the life of being the knight he dreamed of. He was a prisoner of war. he was sick.. he was faced with quite a different reality than what the original dream was that he had in mind.

This is what happens to everyone at some point.. we are going happily about our lives and all of a sudden something changes. We have a set back, or some disaster, that was definitely NOT what we had in mind. It was not the celebration we were having, it was not peaceful, easy or quiet life we had envisioned for ourselves.

Faced with these situations in life, we are forced to come face to face with not only the realities of the situation, but the realities of our faith life, and our relationship with God.

Lets take the example of a child who is leaving home. The parents are on one hand happy that the child is growing up and becoming independent and is progressing in their lives. Then more news, that they are moving some distance away,and doing so will mean that you will not have the chance to see them when you want, or it will be a long time, and they will not be in a place where you might easily get to them if they need you.

With every fiber of your being your heart might say emphatically NO ! That choice, however, is not yours. Your child leaves. There is an empty place in your heart. You feel helpless. Now you come face to face with not only yourself, but with God.

You understand intellectually, that God is in charge. You know that for all the world is under His care. You know that God will care for them, and that He loves them. The journey from pain to peace is difficult.

There will be little peace until letting go, and giving them to God is the only thing you can do.

Like baking bread, until you get into the kitchen, and start getting dirty, mixing up the dough and gaining the experiences that teach us the lessons we need to learn to become a better baker, we will never begin to trust God in the next journey that life has to offer.

May God give you the gift of His peace !

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