I received an e-mail recently from a priest who attended the funeral of a fellow priest who had only been ordained in 2002. In the e-mail he talked about how we can see earthly gifts as signs of God’s love for his children.
These earthly pleasures, when we recognize them as gifts of God, are simply a foretaste of the eternal gifts to come! Therefore, we cannot misuse or abuse these gifts, but see in these gifts God’s presence. For instance doesn’t it make sense for people to say a prayer before they eat, lest they see food as a “right” rather than a “gift?”
A Priest who knew this well before he was called home told the story about a woman who wanted to be buried with a fork in her hand. When her priest asked the reason for the strange request, the woman reminded him of what waiters would say to her at church banquets, dinners, and parties, “Please keep the fork, the best is yet to come!”