Hallowed Eve and Holy Days
|Good versus Evil at the Taste of Chicago 2012|
Occasionally our team likes to send updates and reminders about upcoming events, opportunities, and news about the movement. And there are so much exciting things happening!
In this E-mail Blast, we also want to wish that families have safe and enjoyable kid’s fun with dressing up for Halloween this year. This day can be one that celebrates sweet candy fun. Dressing up in different costumes can be a positive thing. It doesn’t have to be scary or evil looking either. Haunted houses can be fun to scare the “hell” out of your kids. But parents can be there to help them understand evil is real, not to be “played” with, and that in moments of fear, we must seek heavenly consolation to “scare” the heaven back into them.
|Holy Water and Faith in the Sacramentals is sure protection against evil.|
Be sure you have a healthy and balanced conversation about the traditions, pastimes, and prayers that also accompany this religious holiday. At the end of the Blast, you can even say the prayer before you go trick-or-treating.
We continue to spread the Grace Before Meals message through our website, social media, and of course the conferences to which we are invited. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to know where we’ll be next. And encourage your family, friends, and fellow parishioners to sign up for the free weekly E-Mail Blasts. (I mean, if you are reading this, you obviously enjoy them, so why not let your friends enjoy them too!)
|Twitter friends in Sioux City, Iowa, helped me find a great fried chicken place, and they were fun company for dinner as well!|
Be sure to check our website for the next time Fr. Leo may be in your area – giving a talk, leading prayers, or even cooking for a group. Consider talking with your pastor about bringing Fr. Leo to do a mission or a mini-mission for your parish! To learn more, click here.
|Speaking to Catholic University of America students.|
In November, Fr. Leo will record the audio version of our newest book, coming in 2014: Epic Food Fight: A Bite Sized History of Salvation, published by Servant Press. Stay tuned to our Blast to find out how you can get an early pre-release copy!
|One of the many book signing opportunities we offer at every Grace Before Meals event.|
Finally, remember, in this upcoming month, there are some important Holy Days and celebrations. All Saints on November 1. the Feast of All Souls on November 2, and of course how can you forget St. Leo the Great on November 10?
And it’s not too soon to plan for your Thanksgiving dinner. There are even great modified Thanksgiving recipes in a particular book I’ve become quite fond of, Grace Before Meals! In fact, you can order yours today!
Let us pray: Dear Father, You give us civil celebrations, like Halloween, to have some fun, dress up, and be like a kid in a candy shop. May we approach the upcoming festivities with the proper attitude – recognizing the balance of the important religious significance, while maintaining a respect for the fun we all used to have as kids on this day of dressing up. As children travel from house to house, may they always be protected from evil. May our fun be truly innocent, sincere, and heartfelt, so that we can have more treats from the Loving Father, rather than experience the trickery of the Evil One. Finally, as we remember the souls of the faithful departed, may they experience God’s Mercy, Rest, and Eternal Peace. Amen.
|Feast of All Souls prayers at the cemetery.|
Food for Thought:
- What is your favorite Halloween costume?
- How do you tell your children about the spiritual significance of these upcoming celebrations?
- Are there any particular names you’d like for us to remember in prayer in these Holy Days of remembering our faithful departed?
Your comments and questions assist us in our mission. Please post your comments below.
This Week’s Recipe is Perfect for Halloween!
Blessed and Broiled Fruits
As you know I’ll be going to the Holy Land for a culinary adventure of a life time! On this unique pilgrimage, we will discuss and dine on the God’s goodness. As you know, Chefs for Peace (Christian, Jewish and Muslim chefs) will be cooking for us, giving us opportunities to learn about biblical foods and explore ways on how we can bring peace to our world – one meal at a time. You have ONE more week to sign up – so act now! Click here for the registration form and contact information.
One idea about biblical foods that comes up quite a bit is determining what exactly is the forbidden fruit? While we have to see that a literal fruit was forbidden, we also have to recognize that the fruit symbolized sin – especially disobedience. Sin, disobedience to God’s command, is a forbidden fruit. And yes, disobeying God’s commands can harm us. In some cases, kill us!
The Scriptural concept of “fruit” is not limited to the edible, generally sweet, and juicy produce from plants, vines or trees. For God, it’s more about what we do – it’s the product of our lives that can feed a hungry soul.
Our Grace Before Meals team works very hard to encourage people to bear good fruit in their lives. As such, they can feed the soul, which yearns for the Blessed Fruit that hangs from the Tree of Life. It’s the only remedy we have to combat the destructive poison that comes, even when we nibble, on the forbidden fruits that grow like weeds all around us.
To complement our discussion on fruits, I have a great recipe idea for you, which can be used for many different types of fruits. In this case, I’m using fresh figs, compliments from parishioner’s fig tree.
Let us pray: Father in Heaven, You provide us with the best of foods for the soul. Help us to avoid the temptation of eating and digesting the forbidden fruits of our lives. Keep us always hungry to receive the Blessed Fruit of Mary’s womb, and to approach the Supreme Meal of Grace with humbled and contrite hearts. Through the name of Jesus, our Savior and God. Amen.
|A picture of Jesus praying Grace with his Holy Parents, Joseph and Mary.|
- What’s a unique way that you prepare fruits?
- How do you explain what is a forbidden fruit to your family?
- What “blessed fruits” do you or someone you know produce?
Your comments help motivate us to keep doing what we do. Please leave your comments and questions HERE, and know that we appreciate you being a part of our growing Grace Before Meals family.
Bread of Angels
Consoling families who have lost a loved one presents many challenges. To give a hopeful perspective, some will say the beloved dead are now winged angels in Heaven. Without trying to sound cynical, this description of the deceased person can actually cause spiritual confusion, rather than consolation.
|Angel at the base of the Stations of the Cross, Lourdes, France. I would actually find it difficult – even a little funny to see my deceased relatives with wings.|
The term “angel” comes from the Greek word angelos, which means “bearer of news.” There are angels that bring good news and some that bring bad. Angels, as celestial non-corporeal beings created by God, do not have a body. Popular pictures show them as winged cherubs, which makes it a bit difficult to consider for some people who have died. As angels, beings without a body, they have limitations. One of the greatest “limits” of an angel is that an angel cannot receive the Eucharist. They can’t actually participate in the Eternal banquet, simply because they can’t eat the Eucharist. Remember, they don’t have a corporeal body.
Ironically, despite our sinful humanity, we can eat something that only the angels can adore: “The Bread of Angels.”
In order to clarify what happens to people who die, and who we hope are in Heaven, the better word to describe them is a “saint” in Heaven. They aren’t angels. They get a halo, not wings. To become a saint, isn’t simply wishful thinking though. Becoming a saint requires us to live saintly lives. And, not to confuse the distinction I’m trying to make, to become a saint we must still act like angels. That is, we must also bring God’s Good News.
|The Angel Gabriel announces Good News to Mary – She will become the Mother of Jesus, who is Lord and God.|
Recently, I listened to the homily of Fr. Wells, a former student at the seminary where I use to teach. He led a packed church in prayers for his mother Judy’s funeral Mass. During these sacred rights, Fr. Wells preached a magnificent homily about God’s merciful love. His brother Kevin, who delivered the family’s prayerful eulogy, provided an equally inspiring perspective on their mother.
|Fr. Wells preaching at Sacred Heart Church in Bowie, Maryland|
According to the Wells’ family, Judy insisted that no one try to “canonize” her, i.e., say she was a “saint.” Spiritual compliments, she declared, were “dangerous,” because we can start to believe that we’re actually better than we really are. We aren’t saints until we get to Heaven! Judy knew that. In her humility, she wanted to be known as a “sinner” who simply tried to rely on God. Her priest son, with a smile on his face, publicly preached that his mother was a “sinner!”
|The funeral procession.|
The irony caused the crowd to roar with laughter. Her insistence on being known as a sinner is not due to her lack of virtue, but is in fact due to her humility. Through God’s mercy, Judy, with very little doubt, is participating in the heavenly banquet, because her life on Earth was very angelic. She preached and lived God’s Good News.
She, along with her husband for 49 years, gave God’s Good News to her family, her neighbors, her friends, and her fellow parishioners. Her life reminded me that if I want to be a Saint in Heaven, I need to start being more “angelic” on Earth!
|Trying to be an “angel” as I preached a Eucharistic Holy Hour at Sts. Philip and James Catholic Church’s outreach to a young adult gathering.|
I couldn’t help but recognize the Grace Before Meals message during the funeral homily and eulogies. Fr. Wells mentioned that over her lifetime she packed more than 20,000 lunches, which would rival Jesus’ record of feeding more than 5,000! Again, more laughs.
Unfortunately, in her last few months, her sickness and the medical treatments made food tasteless – and worse – made all food taste like rusty metal. How humbling to remember that earthly food, even prepared by Iron Chefs, cannot satisfy a hurting soul. The only food she craved was the Eucharist – the Bread of Angels!
|Jesus, in the Breaking of the Bread.|
A solemn and joyful funeral celebration of a lovely and faithful person like Judy Wells reminds me to call upon the assistance and protection of the angels. One day, when we will be called to the loving judgment of Our Father in Heaven, we may hopefully have the Grace to participate in the banquet that angels can only adore. Remember, they can’t eat it, simply because they don’t have bodies. But we can. And in God’s mercy, for the repentant “sinners,” people like Judy Wells (and all the holy souls who we know lived good and holy lives), are now fully feasting – not as angels – but as saints!
|During an “altar call” for men considering priesthood, at the Steubenville Conference in Denver, Colorado. Fr. Chrisman and Archbishop Aquilla giving them a blessing.|
Let us pray: Father, when people we love die, we seek heavenly blessings to help console us. Yet, in the time of our grief, please clarify our words so that the emotional pain we feel doesn’t confuse our Faith. Give us strength to express our sorrows well, but also to express thanks for the lives You have given to us through our beloved dead. Keep us in Your care, protected by our Guardian Angels, and prepare in us a hunger for the Eternal Feast of the Lord of Hosts – the Bread of Angels – the banquet of Heaven. Amen.
|Pray with the angels and like an angel.|
More Food for Thought
- How do you try and console someone who just lost a loved one?
- Is there a Scripture passage or prayer that helps you get through some of your mourning for someone you love?
- Do you have any good angel stories you’d like to share?
This Week’s Recipe:
- All Souls Day
- Blast from the Past
- CRS Rice Bowl
- Culinary Confessions
- Dinner Discussion
- Entertaining Truth
- Epic Food Fight
- Faithful Foodie
- Feast Days
- Food for the Body
- Food for the Soul
- Food for Thought
- From the Feedbag
- Grace Before Meals
- In Memory
- Menu Inspiration
- Merry Christmas
- New Year
- Past Emails
- Recipe- Dessert
- Recipe- Pork
- Recipe-Side Dishes
- Restauraunt Reviews
- Savoring Our Faith
- Simply Blogging
- Special Religious Theme
- Spicing Up Married Life
- Taste Tester
- The Table Foundation
- What's On the Table