On occasion, our Grace Before Meals movement will send out some “Blasts from the Past,” not only because the messages are still relevant today, but it also helps us remember how far we’ve come!
Happy 4th of July!
The month of July is going to be a time of looking back as we prepare ourselves to look forward to a new chapter in the Grace Before Meals movement.
Many changes are coming for Grace Before Meals, as we prepare for a new look, a new book, and new ways for each GBM “fam” to be involved. As our nation celebrates its independence on this day, we reflect on the freedoms that we are afforded, especially during this ever-important fight for religious liberty we face in our political landscape. It is in our freedom that we are most able to love God and all others, especially our families.
“Click for a classic recipe for Beer-B-Q Italian Sausage and Onions”
At Grace Before Meals, we not only want to stress the importance of family meals, but feeding others in need -body, mind and soul. With your help, we can not only make a difference amongst families, but in our society and world if we simply go out and share “Grace Before Meals”. We call this a movement because it is meant to allow for anybody to be part of the change and make the difference in our families and society. So as we look forward to the future, we hope you will be a big part of bringing families back to the dinner table to share a meal and share the faith.
God bless you and your families this July 4th.
-Fr. Leo and the GBM team
Celebrating “DEPENDENCE” Day
In this week’s email blast I’d like to commemorate two important celebrations: The Feast of Peter & Paul and Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day.
Last Sunday (July 29, 2008), the Church Universal Celebrated the Solemn Feast of the two “Princes of the Church” – Saint Peter and St. Paul.
This Friday, the United States will celebrate July 4th, Independence Day. I realize many of our subscribers are from other countries, but most countries also have an “Independence Day” – a day to recognize the country’s freedom. So, hopefully, this week’s email message can be taken to heart and applied to your own civic calendar, no matter where you live in our world!
Many of you may ask, how are these two celebrations related?
Let me explain. In the United States, American citizens pledge to a nation that lets all citizens practice their religious customs without fear. People died to protect this freedom from tyranny! We can’t forget that America was founded on important principles, like religious freedom. There are many countries today where the Christian Faith, like during the times of the early Christians, has to be practiced underground, lest followers be persecuted by the ruling government. Unfortunately, America seems to embrace this freedom less and less, with neighbors suing neighbors for putting out a nativity scene, banning crosses from public places, and relegating the phrase “In God We Trust” to an obscure part of our currency!
It seems that modernity has added a new interpretation of Independence Day as meaning a freedom from moral codes, virtue oriented responsibilities, and the negation of the Supreme Law of God established in natural law. Americans can’t forget that even though we live in a free nation, citizens must still hold to a common belief that we are one nation UNDER God and recognize what our Founders understood: IN GOD WE TRUST!
For Christians, that motto, “In God We Trust,” is actually a prayer uttered in particular by Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Both saints traveled to different countries to remind people of every nation that we are under the care of a loving God. And His Son Jesus and all of the Saints show us we can trust God’s loving plan and depend on God’s strength in the midst of carrying life’s crosses.
For Christians living in America, these two celebrations – although separated by the incorrect interpretation of the “Church and State” mentality – can actually be seen as a unique opportunity to unite ourselves to God. You and your family can celebrate something I’d like to call “DEPENDENCE DAY!” This is a day for all people to recognize how we, like Saint Peter, Saint Paul, and all of our nation’s fallen heroes can depend on God’s goodness – and especially, His mercy.
It is my pastoral viewpoint, that “Independence Day” when taken out of context (and it often is taken out of context) can lead us to believe that our independence somehow makes us self-sufficient and thus, unwilling to ask for help. We may begin to think that if we “depend” on someone, we’re somehow not living up to our potential. We have falsely believed that depending on each other turns us into weak creatures – even though we really are weak creatures. A false independence makes us live for ourselves, forgetting that others may have to depend on us! A negative understanding of independence makes us forget that we need to depend on each other to get through this life. If we don’t depend on God, prayer, our family’s love, or our Faith, then we become a society of mere individuals separated by a lack of trust. Rather, we should aim to be a society that recognizes how we are called to be a “communion of persons!”
Perhaps we can consider how St. Peter and St. Paul approached “freedom.” They did so by recognizing that a truly free person is one who freely trusts and depends on God!
In this email, I don’t want to minimize the importance of our nation’s Independence Day. I believe we are called to evaluate what “independence” really means, and how the modern understanding of that word has led us down wrong paths – paths that have made us dependent on the almighty dollar, rather than the almighty God, our soul’s greatest treasure. We have become dependent on drugs, alcohol, bad relationships, and other things that destroy us from within, while forgetting to depend on the power of Grace, the love of our families, and the reality of prayer that strengthens us from within.
Today, a day that falls between the Feast of Peter & Paul and Independence Day, we should consider celebrating a day to strengthen our Dependence on God! Since July 2nd offers no liturgical or civic celebration, I say we can go for it. Go ahead and proclaim, July 2nd as a “Family Depends on God Day!” After all, in America we have the freedom to celebrate our faith! So go ahead, celebrate “Dependence Day”! Our country’s understanding of true independence depends on it.
Depending on a Good Friend!
By now you may already know I was in Rome for the Pallium Ceremony. I was part of a group of pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Baltimore who came to support the new Archbishop Edward O’Brien, who received the sacred pallium from the Holy Father last Sunday. The pallium symbolizes the Archbishop as being “yoked” or “united” to the Holy Father. It also symbolizes how the Holy Father now depends on the Archbishops to help preach the Gospel to all parts of the world in union with him. It was a remarkable event, especially since I had the good fortune to distribute Holy Communion at that Mass!
ry stomping grounds, I had a chance to visit a few familiar restaurants and sample a few new ones. I’ll have to blog about some of these later because there were just too many culinary delights that I want to share with you. One meal in particular stands out. It was a meal a priest friend of mine, Rev. Msgr. Christopher Nalty, made for me at his apartment in Rome.
Msgr. Nalty and I were classmates together at the Pontifical North American College. On this trip, we had a chance to hang out and catch up. More importantly, we had the chance to remind ourselves of the importance of good friendships! Ever since our early morning prayer times in Rome, we recognized how we must depend on each other’s prayers and priestly fraternity to get through our difficulties. In this trip, I truly depended on him, especially since he got me a room with an air conditioner and cooked a FANTASTIC dinner for me in his makeshift kitchen.
It shows that if you’re a real “foodie” you’ll create space to cook anywhere, including a Vatican Official’s non-efficiency apartment! Check out the risotto and the tasty antipasti!
For the main course, he prepared a perfectly tender Ossobuco. It’s slow braised veal shank! Click here for Msgr. Nalty’s Recipe, which I’m calling a “Naltso Buco!” For the recipe, [click here].
A Dependence Prayer!
This week, we may prayerfully consider what we have become unhealthily attached to or dependent upon? Our country’s dependence on oil, money, and technology is important, but can become unhealthy. Have we forgotten to depend on God? You may want to ask your family and friends if you are a dependable person. Ask one another how you can all do a better job at depending on God – as a family. Perhaps you can make a new start this day by praying a regular family prayer or by resolving to return to church if you’ve been away from it? Perhaps you cold offer up a weekly family (or better yet, daily) rosary, scripture study, or even offer special daily petitions at the Grace Before Meals?
Let us pray: Lord, help us to be like Saint Peter and Saint Paul, who relied on Your goodness, Your strength, and Your mercy to bring the Gospel to all nations. May we never forget how You truly are the source of all goodness, and therefore, we must always look to You to help us celebrate our Faith and our country’s Freedom. Bless those who died to defend our country’s Freedom with Your forgiveness and an invitation to the Heavenly Banquet. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Any submissions may be used in future Grace Before Meals publications.
- All Souls Day
- Blast from the Past
- Culinary Confessions
- Dinner Discussion
- 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
- What's On the Table