Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An exercise in humility

I have some pretty epic failures. In all aspects of life. Especially following rules. For example:

Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

For the life of me, I can never abstain completely from meat on Friday. I try so hard, and start off the day really determined to do what I have to do to get through the day meat-less. And the worst is that I LOVE fish, beans, lentils, legumes, everything a vegetarian would recommend eating. And yet, by the end of the night, I end up with a mouthful (or more) of some delicious animal flesh. Sometimes, it happens by mistake, and I remember as I swallow Im not supposed to be eating this. Other times, I have a 2.5 seconds of hesitation before stuffing myself.

I also dont go to church every Sunday. There are some real excuses, thanfully most of the times, that are legit. Like sickness, unavoidable work, etc. Other times, Im just being lazy and blame my tardiness on my purposely lowered alarm. Lame sauce right there.

I STILL havent been to 'real' confessional, because, to be quite frank, Im terrified of being completely accountable for my actions. Im scared of what comes during, and after. Receiving the Host of Christ? Shocking and terrifying.

I lie and cheat, more frequently than I like.

I give in to bad cravings all the time and exercise never.

I pray two days out of three. I dont have time to dust, and forgotten clothes stay in the dryer more often than I care to admit. Also, I forget about leftovers in the fridge and only remember them when they start moving.

I yell LOUDLY at J instead of being understanding. I get frustrated at him for failings in myself. So not cool.

I am bound to fail again and again. Depressing, no? But then I just play this on repeat.

We're the reflection of imperfection,
We come from the infinite place of limitation.
Rejoice in these days, make a correction,
We're the completion.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day/Toussaint (A prayer and a recipe!)

How shining and splendid are your gifts, O Lord
which you give us for our eternal well-being
Your glory shines radiantly in your saints, O God
In the honour and noble victory of the martyrs.
The white-robed company follow you,
bright with their abundant faith;
They scorned the wicked words of those with this world's power.
For you they sustained fierce beatings, chains, and torments,
they were drained by cruel punishments.
They bore their holy witness to you
who were grounded deep within their hearts;
they were sustained by patience and constancy.
Endowed with your everlasting grace,
may we rejoice forever
with the martyrs in our bright fatherland.
O Christ, in your goodness,
grant to us the gracious heavenly realms of eternal life.

Unknown author, 10th century
Ive only recently started to learn a bit more about ASD, which if I understand correctly, is the RC version of Sunday of All Saints, that us Orthodox celebrate at a different date. Seeing as how Ive communicated my confusion about whether I practice more as a Catholic than an Orthodox, Ive thought it would be important for me to learn, pray, and observe as much as possible on both sides of the fences. Is this wrong? Hopefully, it doesn't offend anyone in either branch, and if it does, yall just gonna have to deal with it. So the more I learn, the more I wonder at how this day of all Holy Days was just plain forgotten by what it seems most barely practising or non-practising but 'spiritual' Catholics. Really? A day to commemorate all those people past that were an example through one way or another, a day to pray specially all those souls in purgatory, just gone from the general public's memory? How sad.
So I am looking up different customs, and there is a diverse array from all over the world. In Czechoslovakia, there is an old tradition of eating special cakes on All Souls' Eve, and of drinking cold milk "to cool the souls in Purgatory." Another from Belgium refers to these special cakes again, and the more one eats of them, the more souls are released from Purgatory. And this song, sung in English towns by maids, for special cakes, once again:
Soul! soul! for a soul-cake!
I pray, good misses a soul-cake--
An apple or pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him who made us all.
So, these cakes seem to be pretty persistant throughout these traditions. Pretty much a big blinking arrow indicating I should try my hand at them. But, as a side note, I found this blog with tons of cute, some almost gag-worthy cute, ideas for ASD parties. So back to my soul cakes, Im going to be trying this recipe from an awesome blog called Catholic Cuisine. Should be very tasty! Jeff is completely on board with the idea of soul-cakes, for some reason.. LOL!
Cake Doughnuts

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 t. vanilla extract
oil for frying

1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, first measure of sugar, baking powder,
salt, first measure of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.
Mix until blended.
Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.

Pour oil into a two-quart pot until you have a depth of about 3 inches.
Heat the oil until about 375 degrees
(I don't use a thermometer; I just wait until it really bubbles up around a bit of dough).

On a floured board, roll dough out to 1/2 inch thickness.
Use a doughnut cutter to cut out doughnuts.

Fry doughnuts in hot oil until golden brown, turning once.
Remove from oil to drain on paper towels.
Combine the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl.
Place warm doughnuts in sugar mixture and flip,
turning doughnut and shaking gently to coat.
Happy ASD to everyone, and God have mercy on our souls (and our bellies after those!)