We recently hosted dinner for two of our parish priests, and in the minutes before they were due to show up, I was frantically finishing up the appetizers. With an eye toward presentation, I meticulously arranged the crackers and veggies both spatially and by color, and garnished the dip with a sprig of dill. When I was satisfied with the display, I carefully set the tray out … only to have my 11-year-old son dive in like a ravenous vulture. So much for the carefully crafted presentation!
A short time ago, I met up with a couple of friends for coffee at a small café, and ordered an egg tart. I wasn’t too excited about my choice, but it ended up being really tasty, so I went home to search online for recipe ideas to make my own. I came across a woman’s food blog, which featured a delicious-looking Portuguese egg custard tart. But my attention turned quickly from food to the place where she discovered it – in a small town just outside of Fatima, Portugal.
My daughter once asked me, “Mom, what is the best thing that’s ever happened to you?” I immediately answered with what most parents would say, “Well, of course, the day you were born!”
My child asks me if lobster are fish. I say no, they are crustaceans.
He asks me then why they are called “shellfish,” and suggests they are fish just crammed inside of shells. I don’t have enough energy to engage on the topic, so I reply not with an answer, but with a question. “Why do you need to know?”
“Because we can’t eat meat for Lent, but we can eat fish and if lobster are fish, we are all set.”
A year ago, on the eve of Fat Tuesday, I came across a table full of assorted boxes of Paczki at my local grocery store. Wanting to treat my family, I seized the opportunity to buy a box of six. But I quickly realized there were several different fillings to choose from. I was overwhelmed. All of them sounded delicious, so I ended up grabbing four boxes. Yes, it was gluttonous.
A few years ago, I remember going through my 7-year-old son’s backpack and finding an egg carton with little objects in each cavity. One by one, I began to take them out and study them — a tree twig, a plastic star, a ladder made from toothpicks and so on. When I asked him for an explanation, he told me all about the “Jesse tree” that he created in class.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself (Mt 6:34)
Hmmm ... I will confess I struggle with this one. I want to believe that this quote from Scripture is God’s way of saying, “Don’t worry, I got this! Everything is gonna end perfectly well.” The problem is, things don’t always end well. Illness happens, people die and wars break out, whether we are holy or not.
More than ever, there is a great need for healing in our world. So much so that Pope Francis declared 2016 as a Jubilee Year of Mercy. Our pastor recently encouraged everyone in our parish to fast and pray every Wednesday until the end of the year. The purpose is to pray for the Lord’s mercy upon our nation.
My husband and I embraced this charge. And on the first day of fasting, we didn’t just get our feet wet; we dove in. We went full-force – no food, just liquids. If the nation needs healing, we are here to fast it into shape!
It was brutal.
In Ireland and the UK, since the Middle Ages, tradition and folklore have surrounded the Feast of St. Michael the archangel, or Michaelmas. A well-known legend suggests that when Lucifer was banished from Heaven, he fell onto a blackberry bush. Upon falling into the thorny brambles, he scorched them with his fiery breath. He cursed and spit on the blackberries, making them bitter and unsuitable to eat. And he renews his curse annually, so if they aren’t picked on or before the feast day of September 29, they become unfit to eat.