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! Post something by clicking here.
The Blood & The Rose Finally Complete!
It’s the end of July, which means it is nearing the end of summer and the end of these Blasts From The Past. But I wanted to commemorate and congratulate my good friend and producer of Grace Before Meals, Tim Watkins, who has just completed work on his film about Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe, “The Blood & The Rose”! It has been 6 years in development, but it has all come together beautifully. The film is narrated by Eduardo Verastegui, who starred in “Bella” and more recently, “For Greater Glory” and was produced by Steve McEveety, who produced “The Passion Of The Christ”. You can check out an older trailer below by clicking the picture. And keep up with the film by checking it out on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr!
Watch the trailer for “The Blood & The Rose”, finally complete!
Interested in Screening the Film?
Now that the movie is finished, the next step is to set up screenings in cities across the US. The hope is to have large events to screen the film, have speakers present on Mary and our role as “Messenger Eagles” to share our faith, and the chance to celebrate the Holy Mass. If this is something you would be interested in getting involved with, please email email@example.com to find out how to bring this important film to your city.
Since it has been 6 years, I thought it would be good to look back at when the film was first being developed back in 2007. The following eBlast was originally sent out on the Feast Day for Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12, so you will notice references to Advent and Christmas. Additionally, some of the original links do not exist anymore, but it does not change the importance of this miracle for the Catholic faith and the effect it has had on millions. And when you consider that Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of both the Americas and the Philippines, I am certainly glad to share her message for all to hear. God bless!
Our Lady of Guadalupe – December 12
Originally posted December 12, 2007
First, a bit of history: It was December 9, 1531, when a humble Mexican Indian convert Juan Diego first saw a mysterious vision of a woman. He was on his way to daily mass, passing a hill known as Tepeyac, in Mexico. The vision occurred again the next day. Each of the two days he was asked by the woman to relay a message, a request to build a church on that spot. Both times he was turned down by Bishop Zummeraga. As Juan Diego begged for the woman to make her request to a man of more importance, she insisted that Juan Diego go once more – this time, though, she gave him proof. She instructed him to pick the flowers on the hill and bring them to the Bishop. Juan Diego once again stood before the Bishop, and as he unfurled his cactus cloth tilma to expose the flowers an image was revealed. This was the sign to convince the Bishop and Juan Diego of the authenticity of this heavenly message…and the messenger. This image is determined to be the Virgin Mary, the mother of God. Prayerful devotion to the message of peace and holiness from this woman is known as “Our Lady of Guadalupe.” The shrine, now located on that very hill of the first apparition, is one of the most celebrated pilgrimages in North America, and devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe has brought about countless conversions to the Faith, miraculous healings, and a sense of a heavenly presence from a spiritual mother in Heaven.
Fast-forward to the Spring of 2006: the producer of Grace Before Meals, Tim Watkins – a faithful man and good friend, was invited to produce a documentary on this incredible story. Even though I studied Mariology, the study of Mary’s life and veneration to Her, I did not know much of the information Tim uncovered in his research. There is so much to this amazing phenomena, it will take a serious act of God’s Grace to produce this film. And their production team is working hard, even now, to be instruments of God’s Grace!
At one point in the production, Tim and the film crew were invited to the Shrine in Mexico to capture the various parts of the history and the life of faith on film, including an up close view of this sacred image. A small group was invited to go into the vault, where the image is mechanically drawn away from the Shrine’s apse, in order to view the image up close and in private. I was fortunate enough to be part of that small group! The sense of faith evoked from this image was difficult to describe. I can just say it was a beautiful moment.
Unfortunately, many could dismiss this icon as a piece of “mediocre” art, especially if they do not study its importance. Thank God enough attention was paid to this “stamped” image on poorly constructed fiber. The fact that the image and the cloth have endured almost 500 years has mystified the scientific community. This image is in much better shape than the Declaration of Independence! Consider the scientific studies that discovered images of historical people in the cornea of the image’s eye. Check out the NASA research of the constellation contained in the vesture of the image that documents the position of the stars on the exact day of the apparition. And read up on the accuracy of Mexico’s historical topography embedded in the designs of the image’s clothing, and you’ll realize there’s more to this image than meets the eye.
The image shows a woman with a belt situated under her bosom. This demonstrates the woman is pregnant – she is full of Life! Therefore, theologically, this image represents the sacred dignity of life, which we will celebrate in a special way on December 25. A four-leaf flower petal – the only four-leaf flower in the whole image – is situated perfectly on her belly, the spot of the unborn child. Cultural historians explain this flower image as a symbol of divinity and kingship. The stars that decorate this four-leaf flower make up the constellation “Leo”, as the lion is king of the jungle. Could it be the Divine Artist was describing for the natives how the child in her womb is the “King,” the Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ – Divinity Incarnate!
This miraculous image could not have come at a better time for the native people of that land. Historically, this image represents the turning of the tide from the brutal bloodshed of human sacrifices done to appease the false gods worshiped at the nearby temples. Now, this new King, quietly resting in the womb of the woman, will want bloody sacrifices no more. In fact, he will demand the exact opposite: Let Life Live! The virginal image of this tilma and the virginal image of this Holy Season of Advent remind us Mary chose life. No wonder this image has become the symbol for the Pro-Life movement.
Every December 12, the Catholic world, especially the Spanish-speaking community, celebrates this great feast in honor of this mysterious but hopeful image. Could it be just a silly pious tradition surrounding an historical image? Or could the celebration of this feast, less than 2 weeks from Christmas, be a heavenly reminder that Life is the greatest gift we can receive? This image and this universal celebration of the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe cannot come at a better time for our own people, right here and now! In our society, where people forget life is a gift and that a wrong choice can lead to an abortion and terminate the life of an unborn baby, this image reminds us we can fall into the temptation of being false gods too. When we consider the number of abortions in our modern culture, we can see how we are not unlike the bloody culture of the past, willing to perform “human sacrifices” for the sake of convenience and to protect our own comforts. One modern thinker has even gone so far as to say children are dangerous to the Earth’s resources. [Editors note: Dead link] Thank God for the enduring message from the silent witness of Juan Diego’s tilma!
In preparation for the Holy Season of Christmas, when the image of the Woman with Child brings joy, peace, and hope, can we remember to do all we can to help pregnant women in need? Should we not remind every man, starting from a young age, his responsibility to care for the mother of his child and to be a part of the birthing and raising of the child (as St. Joseph did)? By our prayerful witness, can we help raise appropriate awareness in our politicians – as public servants – of the issues that are primarily moral, especially in regards to the first principals of the dignity of human life from conception to natural death!
The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is another perfect image and symbol of Advent, for she waits for her child to be born. And those who look at this image with devotion can also anticipate with joy the coming of her Son – who gives Life to the world!
A Mexican Sweet Treat: Bunuelos
I was looking for a recipe that would be proper to the Mexican culture, especially in light of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I asked Christopher Ortega, a seminarian for the diocese of Savannah, who has a Mexican heritage, what type of treat he would like to eat to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. He mentioned his mother’s Bunuelos – a crispy tortilla with either a sugar cane glaze or powdered sugar. Thanks again to Chris and his mother for sharing their recipe! For the recipe, [click here].
A Prayer for Life!
This Blast is not intended to make people feel guilty, but to help people understand some choices can kill an innocent child. Mary in the Nativity scene and Mary in the Guadalupe image would never call that Life in her womb a simple cluster of cells. She would call that living entity her child! In today’s culture, where life is treated without dignity – as witnessed by the hostility a child faces in the womb, the rejection the poor experience, the neglect of the sick and elderly, and the early termination of life because it can pose challenges and inconveniences – we need to listen to the silent witness of Juan Diego’s tilma. Perhaps it may be a good meditation to put up this image in your home, near your Nativity Scene – so we not only celebrate the Life when born, but also when the Life is conceived!
Let us pray:
God our power and mercy, You blessed the Americas at Tepeyac with the presence of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe. May her prayers help all men and women to accept each other as brothers and sisters. Through your justice present in our hearts may Your peace reign in the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord! Amen.
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An Advent Prayer and Christmas Blessing
by Fr. Leo Patalinghug, 2011
(From my family to yours.)
The Lord’s coming among us
Increases joy in the hearts of God’s family.
A chance to increase our trust –
An opportunity to share the life of the Trinity.
The Birth of this Holy Child
A gift beyond all telling –
In a stable, He lays meek and mild,
In our hearts, He seeks love and indwelling.
The songs of the angels sing,
“Hosanna and Gloria in the darkest of nights!”
For the light of God this Child shall bring,
Comfort, strength and divine insight.
He shall show the ways of God,
With loving encouragement along the way –
In faith and hope we step towards love
And seek the glory of endless days.
May hearts burn for love of Him,
As we celebrate this season of giving.
May His peace, your soul shall sense within,
Be the grace that fills your days with blessed and joyful living.
(Nativity Scene, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, New York.)
Blessed Advent, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Trust in my prayers and best wishes for all of you! Please stay in touch and remember to share your blessings with those who hunger for food, family, friendship and above all, a living faith in God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Our Lady of the Nations.)
With Mary’s Prayers and Christ’s Blessings,
Fr. Leo E. Patalinghug
Tell us what you gave to Jesus for his birthday, and tell us what gift you asked for from the Father in Heaven this Christmas Season. And, how have the prayers of St. Nicholas blessed your family this Advent and Christmas Season? Posting your comments, questions and prayers is a great gift to our Grace Before Meals movement!
Have a Blessed Mary’s Christmas!
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! We will also take this opportunity to review some of our upcoming events and opportunities, like:
(1) I have finally converted my facebook profile into a public page so please be sure to “Like” our page at www.facebook.com/FrLeoGBM!
(2) I just wrapped up filming the show, “Savoring The Faith” down in Alabama for EWTN. Stay tuned for when it airs!
(4) I shall be returning to the realm of video soon, including webisodes from the Mediterranean Culinary Cruise and Napa Valley Retreat.
(5) And our movement continues to grow when you’re willing to share the website with family, friends, and other parishioners! Thanks for sharing the good news about our growing movement.
Originally Sent: July 1, 2009
The Right to be Free!
One of the greatest culinary experiences I’ve felt is the feeling of being “free” from the restrictions of recipes. Don’t get me wrong; I still review recipes all the time. But after a period of studying particular recipes, learning proper techniques, practicing and critically experimenting with different cuisine, and even praying through many trials and errors, I feel confident enough to not be bound by following specific cooking instructions.
One of the Mount St. Mary’s seminarians from the Archdiocese of Atlanta sent me an interesting article about cooking more with a mentality of ratios rather than being enslaved to a recipe. It’s something that relates to this week’s topic of Freedom. The analysis indicated that cooking well has nothing to do with whether or not you are using a recipe. No, Freedom in cooking is not a matter of “either/or,” but rather of “both/and.”
(Me with some seminarians filming some webisodes –salmon Florentine!)
In a certain sense, this cooking analogy applies to life. Living the right to be free requires following rules, but also not fearing healthy exploration of things. Freedom requires learning, study, and practice – as much as cooking, sports, and praying! Sure, one can cook, play a sport, or go to church without all the trouble of formality and technique. (And I’m not suggesting we throw away formality! We need all of that too. ) But we also ought to consider how the true meaning of Freedom in anything requires discipline of learning about it as well as practicing it well enough to the point you’re comfortable doing it without a “recipe.”
Unfortunately, our modern, fast food mentality expects understanding Freedom to come as easy as ordering a Big Mac or a Whopper. We don’t’ think twice about Fourth of July Freedom and the responsibility that comes with it.
Without discipline, Freedom is easily confused and all too often abused. Without learning about the power of Freedom, it’s easy to turn Freedom into a destructive force. If we do not practice the virtues that are required of a truly free person – such as patience, compassion, and humility – it’s easy to take our Freedom for granted and to even misuse it. It’s easy to see how a confused understanding of Freedom leads to the self-destructive abuse of good things. A poor understanding of Freedom can lead good things such as food, alcohol, beauty, or freedom of choice to turn into obesity, alcoholism, hedonism, and the death of a child.
We have a lot to learn about the true meaning of Freedom!
(Mosaic in lower basilica in Lourdes, France. Jesus freely chose to carry the cross for our sins.)
This week our country celebrates Independence Day. It’s a day to remember how Freedom is an inalienable right that comes from God – not from the government. We don’t learn Freedom from simply listening to political speeches. To understand Freedom, we have to put it into practice. Would you reading a recipe but never cook it? To understand how Freedom is a right, we must also understand how Freedom is a great gift that requires great responsibility. In this week’s blast, I’d also like to challenge my readers to consider how exercising Freedom is also a skill that requires practice, just like everything else we may consider important in our life – cooking, sports, a hobby, and praying!
(Young child and mother praying at the tomb of St. Monica in the Basilica of San Agostino in Rome)
It’s important to make sure that our Fourth of July celebration is more than burgers and barbecue. Whether your country celebrates an independence day or not, we are all called to live in Freedom. That that doesn’t mean a life without moral boundaries, legal protections, or even accepting limitations to our desires due to the limited nature of our humanity. To be free is to ultimately recognize our citizenship in Heaven, and to live our life on earth headed in that direction.
(Angel pointing to the entrance to the Stations of the Cross in Lourdes, France.)
Rice’s Cake Recipe.
Last week I promised I’d provide a recipe for a delicious cake I had at Bob and Jen Rice’s family home. They graciously hosted the speakers and team members of last week’s Steubenville Retreat for more than 2,000 high-school students.
While there, I sampled several of Jen Rice’s creations. If you remember, her husband Bob challenged me to the break dancing competition. She demonstrated some great culinary skills, i.e., freedom in her kitchen, by her ability to be both a “cook” and a “baker.” As promised, she sent me her cake recipe. Thank God for that because obviously I don’t have the “freedom” to bake anything near as delicious as that. Remember, Freedom (like cooking) takes practice!
Raspberry Lemon Meringue Cake
3 Cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Cup milk
Peel of 2 lemons, finely grated
1/2 Cup lemon juice
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
4 large eggs
3 egg whites at room temp
11 oz. jar lemon curd
1 1/2 Cups fresh raspberries (I added blueberries too)
(Jen Rice with her delicious cake!)
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour two 9″ cake pans. Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together milk, lemon peal, and lemon juice. Beat butter and 2 cups powdered sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Then add half flour mixture, then milk mixture, then remaining flour mixture, mixing after each addition. Divide batter between buttered or sprayed pans and bake 25 min. Let cool for 10 min in pans on a baking rack.
Beat remaining powdered sugar and egg whites. Place over a saucepan of barely simmering water and cook, whisking until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch (2-3 minutes). Remove from heat and beat on high until stiff peaks form and mixture is cool (7-10 min). Remove cake from pans and place one cake layer on cake plate. Spread half of curd on cake. Top with berries, then drizzle remaining curd evenly over berries. Place other cake layer on top of raspberries. Top cake with meringue. Click here for a meringue recipe. Preheat broiler to high. Broil cake until meringue peaks are golden (about 2 minutes).
Praying for Celebrities
Last week, I called into the very popular Sirius/XM radio show, “The Catholic Guy,” hosted by Lino Rulli. Even though we’re pretty good friends, I never know what he’s going to say or do on air with me. In fact, when I admitted that Jared, one of his producers is one of my favorite people on his radio show, Lino hung up on me! I guess he was jealous that I didn’t say that he was my favorite person on his radio show.
(Lino sitting across from me, with a group of seminarians traveling through New York.)
The reason I called into the show was because he was asking the listeners about their practice of remembering celebrities in prayers. We’ve had a lot of deaths of very well known people this past week: Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Billy Mays, and of course, Michael Jackson. My call to Lino’s show was to offer my thought about praying for celebrities. If we let our Hollywood people know we’re praying for them while they are alive – not in a judgmental way but as a parent or friend would pray for someone headed down a wrong path – then perhaps they would be more inclined to listening to us while they are alive, rather than listening to our prayers once they are dead.
They definitely need our prayers, because of their public status and, therefore, their responsibility to the public. Hollywood celebrities need to understand the privileges they have, because of their popular status doesn’t warrant an unbounded Freedom. In fact, if they see Freedom as a gift, as a responsibility, and as a skill, then perhaps we would not have as many tragic young deaths of these popular figures. Hopefully, and more importantly, then they wouldn’t have to live such difficult or conflicted lives. My suggestion is to remember all of the faithful departed in prayer, especially those who have had influential roles in our world’s history and culture. May they experience God’s Freedom, which the media seems to rob them of once they become famous.
Let us pray: Gracious Lord, we pray for all of the beloved dead. It’s always a good thing to pray for the dead because it helps us not to fear death, and in fact learn something important about life. Namely, that life is temporary. No matter how great we are in this world, we are still human and won’t live forever. Therefore, help me to pray a sincere prayer for all of those who have died, especially those who have influence in culture, both great and small. Have mercy on their souls and grant them Your forgiveness, which is ultimately an invitation to Your heavenly banquet. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Statues in Lourdes, France – Placing Jesus in the Tomb.)
Click below to follow me @Cooking_Priest!
Thanks to Maria Bedford for submitting a recipe as part of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish Mission reception. These delicious sweet treats will make wonderful gifts for families and friends.
Double Delicious Cookie Bars:
½ Cup butter
1 ½ Cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (14 ounce can) condensed milk
2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Cup butterscotch chips
Preheat oven to 325 Degrees. In a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan, melt butter in oven (apx. 3 minutes). Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs evenly over butter. Drizzle condensed milk evenly over crumbs. Top with chocolate chips and butter scotch chips. Press down firmly with spoon. Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool completely. Cut into bars and serve.
As summer approaches, ice cream becomes a popular dessert. An after dinner stroll with ice cream on a warm night can inspire relaxation and conversation. While ice cream can seem a bit “childish,” I have a simple dessert idea people of all ages can appreciate. In fact, it’s a perfect way to combine dessert and coffee in one elegant, refreshing, and delicious serving.
1-2 thin slices of pound cake, angel food cake, or coffee cake
1 scoop of vanilla ice cream
1 cup of coffee, or 2 shots of espresso
Put the slice of cake into a bowl. Scoop the ice cream and place on top of the cake. Pour coffee or espresso over the ice cream. Viola! Simple but delicious!
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