Announcing Something New
For today’s Solemn Feast of the Annunciation, we recognize that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son into the world. Because of Mary’s “yes” to the Archangel Gabriel’s invitation to be the mother of God Most High, we now have the feast of feasts – 9 months later – called Christmas! This “announcement” of something new, inspires our Grace Before Meals team to do some new things as well.
Here are some highlights:
(1) Next week you’ll see a new format for the email blasts, including a new “splash page” when you log onto Grace Before Meals. Be sure to check it out next week. We will continue to host the same dynamic content connecting food, faith, family and fun, but with a slightly new look.
(2) We continue to partner with other evangelization groups, such as RedeemedOnline.com for their #ShareJesus Project during this Lenten Season. Be sure to check out the last video I did with them, where I compare a resurrected body versus the body of a zombie!
(3) CRS Rice Bowls was an important part of our Lenten Journey. As we come to the close of the Lenten Season, we realize the our compassion doesn’t end, but takes on new meaning. Consider making these meatless dishes throughout the year. They’re not only delicious, but it will remind of the powerful connection we have with people around the world – especially those who need our help throughout the year. Click HERE for the recipe.
(4) While we’ve taken trips around Europe and even in the United States, we’re proud to bring you a trip to Spain – a country filled with a dynamic history, a mystical faith tradition, and known for their international cuisine. Currently, we are offering a $200.00 discount for those who register before May 1, 2015! If you want a life changing experience and travel to Spain with me and Patrick Coffin, call Select International today at 800.842.4842 and speak with Susan.
(5) Last week, Grace Before Meals took a new step in establishing our non-profit outreach called, “The Table Foundation: Elevating Culture and Family Life, One Meal at a Time.” We had our first board meeting with people across the country and we are excited to take next steps. To learn more, visit the website www.thetablefoundation.org and prayerfully consider how you can get involved.
Our celebration today changed world history. God doesn’t want us to “stay the same” but to be constantly trying to improve ourselves, our relationships, and to improve our ability to love and serve God and each other. We hope you hear that invitation from God and announce the Good News to all!
(1) How did you celebrate this Annunciation Feast Day?
(2) Is there anything “new” that you can do to serve God better?
(3) Did you learn any new recipes from this Lenten Season?
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Any submissions may be used in future Grace Before Meals publications.
What’s On the Table for the New Year
|(Yes, that’s my picture with the EWTN Banner)|
|(Me with some of my guests for the Savoring our Faith TV show from the Philippines. Chef Matthew and Chef “Dimples” and I cooked all of that deliciousness for just one episode!)|
|The Culinary Assistants from my filming in Arizona.|
Let us Pray:
|(Of course, I’d have to do a “falsie” – fake selfie! But praying to have a chance to see him up close. Stay tuned!)|
Please leave a comment below and be part of the conversation.
Keeping the Dead Alive
You’ll notice the title of this blog seems somewhat morbid, right in line with the Halloween season as it has come to be known. But as October comes to an end, we enter into several sacred celebrations: All Hallows’ Eve, All Souls Day and All Saints Day! These Feast Days give us opportunities to reflect on family and friends who have gone before us and we pray have experienced God’s mercy in heaven. While it’s easy to put on a Halloween costume, these feast days remind us to ‘put on the virtues’ that make our deceased family and friends so missed. That means, keeping the faith of our loved ones alive in our hearts, mind and actions!
|Click to watch Joe’s tribute video for his Dad, and share your comments about your own loved ones.|
|Joe’s son Joshua at 6 weeks old, named for his late uncle. He’s got some family to look over him from above!|
Let us pray:
Father in heaven, as our church celebrates All Hallows’ Eve, All Souls Day and All Saints Day, we pray that see the spiritual significance of our prayers by remembering the souls of the faithful departed and by living lives of sanctity so that we will one day share in the eternal victory celebration in heaven. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Fall into Grace
|Fall is a great time to use some extra spice, thanks to the good folks at Tabasco for a great gift of spicy sauces.|
|Entire families come out for Fr. Leo’s events. A great way to bring the family together!|
|We’re excited to launch The Table Foundation and do more good for those most in need.|
Let us pray:
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Seeking “The Good News” in the News
If you turn on a TV, check your Facebook or Twitter feeds, or read a newspaper, it is hard to get good news. For every nice story, such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge social media sensation that has brought much awareness and raised much money to help in the fight against ALS, we are overwhelmed with a million and one stories about celebrities who are cheating on their spouses or in rehab for the umpteenth time or even worse, the fashion faux-pas they made with what they wore to a public outing. Meanwhile, thousands of Christians are being persecuted in the Middle East everyday, and there is less of an outrage over that than there is when someone’s favorite TV Show gets cancelled or athlete gets traded to another team.
And on one hand, it is understandable. As humans, we don’t desire conflict and we’d rather feel safe and sound than face the evils outside our door in the world around us. If you can avoid persecution, than why not avoid it? Life is stressful for most everybody, whether it comes to having to deal with finances, worry about job security, face issues within your family life, staying on top of endless tasks and duties, and much more. So it makes sense why we would avoid the news that adds to that stress given its seeming hopelessness, and instead, settle for non-journalistic approaches to the news that point out the issues that others face, often amplified due to the spotlight.
|Robin Williams, famous for many movies and TV shows, took his life at age 63.|
One such case is Robin Williams, a certified comic legend who has been in show business for over 36 years. He was truly hilarious and off-the-wall, and always found ways to make people laugh. Yet, despite his big personality and his huge smile, he was a man that battled many demons throughout his life, from drug addiction to alcoholism to divorces and depression. In the news of his apparent suicide, millions of people have poured out their love for a man they did not even know but who made them smile, laugh and feel better about themselves, like in this case. It has also been an opportunity to look back and see the signs that were there all along with him. We pray for him and his family in these tough times.
|Chris Farley in the classic martial arts epic, “Beverly Hills Ninja”|
You see, it is unfortunate to say, but it is not untypical for someone known for being so fun and outgoing to be so hurt and lonely. One of my favorite Saturday Night Live actors, Chris Farley, is another example of a popular comedian who went down a bad path of drugs and vices, dying young and alone. But many don’t know that he went to Church often and apparently, he died with a rosary in his hand. I mention this not to make a point about his being Catholic or to speculate where he was in his faith life, but rather to make the point that he was no different from you or me in his desire to be loved. Clearly, he was seeking hope in a (seemingly) hopeless situation.
Whether we are talking about the celebrities all over the tabloids that we can’t seem to get away from, or the quiet kid from elementary school that didn’t have many friends, we are talking about people who not only desire to be loved, but deserve to be. God made us to love, and it is in loving that we come to see Him more clearly. It is in seeking to serve the other, not yourself, that we can come to know what Christ intended for us when he gave his life for us in the most selfless act in history. For unlike us, he didn’t do anything to deserve harm and yet he took it all on just so that we had the hope for eternal salvation.
|The Crucifixion, the greatest act of love in History.|
Christ loves us more than we can ever comprehend, and yet, many become blind to it, only seeing how others see them or never finding that truest form of love they were looking for. In a society that feeds off of bad news or the faults of others, let us be among those that stands up for the “Good News”. May we have courage to seek justice and fight for those in need.
Let us be the light that shines for those in the darkness. Let us be present for our kids in their times of turmoil and in their times of joy; let us show the ones we love a reason to smile; let us serve the hungry some good food (just check out my recipes on www.gracebeforemeals.com/recipes. J/K); let us tell people about the love of God for it is everything we yearn for and so much more.
Please say a prayer for all of those who are hurting right now, for all of those who are so deeply wounded, for all of those who are lost and say they don’t want to found, for all those being persecuted and who are suffering. Say a prayer for those in the darkness, that they may see the shining light of God’s face. And may we show people that there is hope in the hopeless, that there is courage to face the evils out there, and that there is love to be shared.
If you are among those in need of help, please be in touch with your local priest, doctor or check out this page (http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/) to find the help that you need.
REMINDER: My pilgrimages to Napa Valley and to the Holy Land still have some available spots, so register today and join in on the amazing spiritual and culinary journeys that lay ahead. [UPDATE: No longer available, but see other pilgrimages that are by visiting http://gracebeforemeals.com/news/browse/category/pilgrimages]
Family Summer Fun and Faith
I’m heading out to my second Steubenville Conference, this time in Nova Scotia (!), but I wanted to share some videos and suggestions for improving family life and opportunities for growing in your faith together as a family. There are so many ways to strengthen the family, which is what Grace Before Meals is all about. Regular family meals are only the beginning to spending more time with your kids, spouse or loved ones. Praying together more often, being involved with your church or community, taking time out of your busy schedule to let others know that you here for them are all vital to bringing home the faith, and making your family the “domestic church”.
My friends Greg and Jennifer Willits, of The Catholics Next Door fame, have a video they just created for The Archdiocese of Denver to provide tips and resources (which you can get at http://archden.org/family/) to strengthen your family, and you got it, family meals are very important. Watch the video below and start using some of these tips to let those you love know just how much they mean to you. And that includes God.
Another great way to grow in your faith with friends and family is to host a special Spiritual Event to share the film The Blood & The Rose with your community. The film is a powerful documentary that really shows the incredible history and undeniable miracle of St. Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of Life. The 225 is a celebration of the 225th Anniversary of the nation’s first Catholic Diocese, which is Baltimore. To celebrate, Leo McWatkin’s Films has created a special package which includes the film, video reflections from me and Fr. Steven Roth, 20% of merchandise sales, and promotional materials to help communities and organizations raise money for their cause while evangelizing, all for $525. This is half as much as it normally costs, which means you will be able to raise even more money for your cause, parish or group.
It is as simple as purchasing the license agreement by going HERE and setting up an event at your parish or school. The goal is to feature it in over 225 locales this year, so please promote this spiritual event to your parish priests and committees, as it truly serves as a way of growing in your faith.
Finally, family vacations are a great way to take time out of work and to spend it with your kids and spouse. It may seem like a lot of stress (and it is) but it is truly a great way to be present for your kids. Not everyone can afford the luxury of a vacation, but as long as you break away from your computer or TV long enough to communicate with your family, it goes a long way in helping them to grow in love and faith.
For those who may not have the kids at home anymore or are just looking for a great adventure to go on, please consider coming with me to Napa Valley (November 9-14, 2014) or The Holy Land (February 1-12, 2015). Registration ends soon for Napa Valley, so sign up today! And the Holy Land will be here before you know it, so check it out and let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment HERE or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
- What do you like to do over the summer with your family?
- Have you seen The Blood & The Rose?
- Do you have a cause, event, group or parish that could benefit from a spiritual event?
- What are other ways to make your family the ‘domestic church’?
Please post your comments HERE, as these help our movement learn and grow.
Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Any submissions may be used in future Grace Before Meals publications.
- 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