About Pope Francis’ possible USA trip

From the Holy See:

the Holy See Press Office given today:

“Regarding visits to America, there have been several invitations that the Pope is carefully considering. The Holy Father has indicated his willingness to participate in the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September 2015 but at the present moment, there are no concrete plans or programs for any visits to the United States or Mexico. Keep in mind that we are still one year away from the Philadelphia meeting.”

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Posted in Pope Francis | Tagged | 1 Comment

Chow Line

From Vatican Radio:

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made a surprise visit on Friday to the Vatican’s canteen for its employees. He turned up there unexpected shortly after noon much to everybody’s astonishment and after taking a tray and cutlery joined the line with all the employees to be served his lunch. Staff at the canteen said he ate pasta without sauce and cod served with grilled tomatoes. He ate his lunch at a long table alongside a group of various employees. Describing the papal visit as “like a thunderbolt out of the blue,” the canteen’s chef Franco Pai’ni said the Pope was introduced to the staff and others there and asked them questions about themselves and their work. Afterwards, he paid them compliments on the quality of the food, gave his blessing and took part in a group photo before leaving.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 2 Comments

Napa Institute: Day 2

I am at a breakfast sponsored by Catholic Extension. Archbp. Kurtz is taking about it. He explained that it was its goal to have church in every county in these USA. They have built over 12000 churches. They now give support for seminarians. They provide service to the poor. Last year they dispersed over $30 million.

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I had a good chat with Archbp Coakley of Oklahoma City about the late great John Senior and some mutual friends. Also at the table is the local Bishop Robert Vasa, one of the friendliest fellows I’ve met in quite a while. A shot from last night.

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Some fun shots.

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Archbp. Kurtz et aliae
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Posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | 2 Comments

Another helpful suggestion (heaven help us)

The Iranian Supreme Leader has a solution for the problem of violence in the Middle East.

From the Daily Caller:

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated on Wednesday that the only solution for the region is the destruction of Israel, and that the armed confrontation must expand beyond Gaza.

Meanwhile, revolutionary guards announced new missiles which could destroy Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

Fars News Agency, a media outlet run by the Iranian state, reported today that Khamenei addressed the conflict in Gaza in a meeting with Iranian college students.

“These crimes which are beyond imagination and show the true nature of the wolfish and child killer regime, which the only solution is its destruction,” the ayatollah declared to his audience. “However, until that time, the expansion of the armed resistance of the Palestinians of the West Bank is the only way to confront this wild regime.”

[...]

That helps, don’t you think?

Meanwhile, ISIS is being helpful in their own way, pacifying Mosul (through rape, threats, and murder), while redecorating the Cathedral of Mosul for the ancient Christian community, as a mosque.  HERE  Thanks for the help.

When will our “leaders” in the West begin to act upon the clear facts, the nature of the conflicts we also have been embroiled in?

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.

St. Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us.

 

Posted in The Religion of Peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Napa Institute Conference: Day 1

I arrived last night in Napa for the Napa Institute conference.  I got here, despite the interference of Pres. Obama.  I digress.

The digs are elegant, the weather, perfect.  I know quite a few people, since there is some cross over with other conferences I have attended.  This is the first time I have attended this one, thanks to the generosity of others.

Last night, I saw an advance screening of a movie with Jim Caviezel, When The Game Stands Tall.  The name is a bit odd, but it explains itself along the way.  This is a new contribution to a well-established genre, the high school football movie.  It is based on a true story of Catholic De Lasalle Highschool, not far from where I write, which had a football team winning streak of – I am not making this up – 151 games.  The coach’s desire was to bring out of all the boys a perfect effort, not necessarily a win, and, thereby, help them become men.  The movie is, in an over-arching way, formulaic – as true stories often are, you know.  Man remains the same, fallen and risen.  So, the winning team has a crisis they have to overcome and they find themselves along the way.  The coach has a crisis, and he has to figure out being both a coach and a husband and father.  There is a moment of truth (involving – yes – a football game).  Sound familiar?  It ought to.  But this movie does it well.  A week or so ago I watched a similar movie, made by Evangelicals from a big church in Georgia (US not Asia).  Same basic common themes, but will overt Evangelical “Bible only” … well… thumping… and not a little prosperity Gospel stuff tossed in for good measure.   This new movie is not overtly Catholic.  Though it is at a Catholic Highschool, there is no cleric involved.  The only church scene is in a baptist church.  Scripture verses figure a couple times, and prominently and appropriately.  You see the players at prayer twice (I think) and, that, the Lord’s Prayer.   So, this is not in-your-face Catholcism.  But, the world-view in the movie seemed Catholic to me.  The concept of the team promoted by their coach seemed to be founded on sacrificial love: seek that which is good for the other, not just for oneself.  Make a perfect effort.

I hope that, as the release date of the film comes closer, you will, in your parishes and groups, promote the film and even organize trips to the theatre as groups to see it early in its release.

We have seen some films, and pretty ones – all things considered – from Evangelicals, Facing The GiantsThey are trying to use this medium (film) to advance that which is dear to them.  Watching the credits of the Georgia football movie blew me away, as I saw dozens and dozens of people and organizations and businesses that contributed to the effort, which was, effectively, a parish initiative… to make a movie.  Get that?  Could your parish make a movie?

Here is the trailer for the new Caviezel film:

This new movie, When The Game Stands Tall, is being put out by Carmel Communications.  And, it seems, they are not allowing the let grass grow under their feet.  The music disks of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, are handled by Carmel Communications.  As they, and Carmel, have done well, they can tackle bigger projects.

Today, before the midday conference, Carmel showed us a tailer of another movie, to come out in September, The Song, which has something to do with the story of Solomon.

We have a lot of catching up to do.

Once upon a time, there was a strong positive Catholic strain in the film industry.  That went away.  It must be reclaimed.  That is why you, in a fundamental way, must choose to support Catholic films.  Make some plans.

In any event, there’s lots of food and wine – yes, wine.  Today there was a Mass with Cardinal Harvey.  Then Cardinal Levada exposed the Blessed Sacrament and had a procession.  Exposition goes on during the day, confessions are heard, there are multiple Masses, including the Extraordinary Form. No, they didn’t ask me, which was a mistake.  As I type there is a talk on Science and Faith.  Yes, I can multitask, which is a gift.

The conference schedule is pretty complicated, with overlapping streams.  You have to choose between good and good, alas, bilocation not being perfected.

I may just toss up my hands and drive around the vineyards and taste wine, which I haven’t done for many years.

UPDATE

Dr. Philip Jenkins Elements of Culture for a Thriving Faith

New Evangelization is a theme here. I wonder if we will hear anyone make a connection with our sacred liturgical worship. This fellow just ran down, I think, the old Mass for today. I’ll have to collar him later.

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UPDATE

Card Levada is talking about New Evangelization.

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Posted in On the road, Our Catholic Identity, REVIEWS, The Campus Telephone Pole, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged | 11 Comments

Latin America needs a revolution: a liberal and Catholic revolution

Liberation Theology is having a bit of a revival.  Is this good?  I am skeptical.  The problem with the Left is that they talk and talk with all sorts of grand words but they don’t explain how to create wealth and lift people out of the poverty they lament.  Liberation Theology is fraught with problems, and most of them, it seems, are not to be resolved with Christianity.

I saw this morning a piece at Acton’s blog which tackles this problem.  It is longish, but I hope you, dear readers, will take two moments to read it through.

Check out The Economics of Liberation Theology by Carroll Ríos De Rodríguez

Here is a sample:

[...]

Leading proponents of liberation theology were not simply looking to curb external domination or implement piecemeal types of reforms. They called for a more-or-less socialist revolution. Indeed, as Novak demonstrates, theirs was not a lukewarm socialism or mild social democracy capable of coexisting with private property, markets, and democratic institutions. It was, to use Gutiérrez’s language, the radical doing-away with “private appropriation of the wealth created by human toil” and the abolition of the “culture of the oppressors.

How did dependency theory [explained earlier] with its socialist-like proposals to solve poverty and the Marxist influence on liberation theology fuse together? One often hears disclaimers to the fact that not all dependency and liberationist writings were Marxist. This is of course true. Novak himself argued that “liberation theology forms a tapestry much broader than its Marxist part and is woven of many colors.” It is worth stating that the work of carefully distinguishing between the various theoretical foundations suited to liberation theology, as Novak and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) did at the time, is not the same as trivializing the broader Marxist influences. There are some subtle differences between the Ratzinger-Novak caveat and other claims concerning the impact of Marxism. Some of these other assertions were that (1) classic Marxism had been revised or distilled by the seventies, (2) Marxism as an academic tool did not contradict Catholic dogma and doctrines, (3) the first Christian communities were proto-marxian, and (4) a “Christian socialism” that eschewed Marxist atheism and materialism was possible. In a scholarly analysis published in 1988, H. Mark Roelofs maintained that the differences between liberation theology and old-style Marxism could be explained in the following manner:

Liberation theology is not a Marxism in Christian disguise. It is the recovery of a biblical radicalism that has been harbored in the Judeo-Christian tradition virtually from its founding … [Do you buy that?] Liberation theologians turn to modern Marxism chiefly to gain a comprehensive understanding of contemporary class conflict and poverty.
In the face of such obvious equivocation – most notably, concerning whether it was possible to separate Marxist analysis from Marxism’s operating assumptions of atheism and materialism – Novak complained: “What no one clarifies is what is meant by ‘Marxist analysis.’” Novak went on to list seven elements in liberation theology that were present in much of the literature and decidedly Marxist in tone and content. These were (1) the effort of liberation theology seeks to create a new man and a new earth, (2) the espousal of a utopian sensibility, (3) the benign view of the state, (4) the failure to say anything about how wealth is created, (5) the advocacy of the abolition of private property, (6) the treatment of class struggle as a fact, and (7) the denouncement of capitalism. In Novak’s opinion, this worldview was not only theologically and morally wrong. It would result in Latin America paying a high economic and political price that would hurt the poor. [Again and again and again...]

A ‘Liberal’ and Catholic Proposal

When he looked ahead to how Latin America ought to be transformed, Novak was categorical: “Liberation theology says that Latin America is capitalist and needs a socialist revolution. Latin America does need a revolution. But its present system is mercantilist and quasi-feudal, not capitalist, and the revolution it needs is both liberal and Catholic.”

[...]

I would also like to remind you all of something that Sam Gregg wrote recently for First Things… alas, behind a paywall, but worth the (less-than a) cupp’o coffee price to get the mind working. HERE

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“Annulments” and a distinction: juridical and/or sacramental

Ed Peters, distinguished canonist, has come out of hibernation to post this helpful distinction. See his outstanding blog In The Light Of The Law, where there is no open combox.  Check with him often.

My emphases.

Confusing validity and sacramentality in marriage
by Dr. Edward Peters
Confusion among Catholics concerning annulments is not helped when “experts” featured in the Catholic press are themselves confused about annulments. [aka declarations or decrees of nullity, that is, that there was no valid marriage]

Peter Smith, writing in the National Catholic Register (21 jul 2014), interviewed two experts about the annulment process. The quotes from one of them, Benedict Nguyen (a canonist for the Diocese of Venice FL) are reliable; but the other expert, Dcn. Patrick O’Toole (actually featured in the article) is confused about the central question in every annulment case. [It's not good tone confused about the "central questions".] According to O’Toole, “We know a valid civil marriage occurred. The only question is whether a valid sacramental marriage occurred” (original emphasis). O’Toole repeats his phrasing later: “What we’re looking for is: Was everything that is required for a sacramental marriage there from the very beginning?” O’Toole is mistaken.

Not only is the sacramentality of a marriage NOT determined in an annulment case, the question of its sacramentality is not even RAISED in the process. The annulment process is about the validity of marriage and only about validity; a successful petition results in a “declaration of nullity”, not in a declaration of non-sacramentality. Experts must know and consistently present these distinctions if they are ever to help pew Catholics to understand first the fundamental juridic nature of all marriage and then the sacramentality of specifically Christian marriage.  [See?  Two concepts: juridical and sacramental]

Consider: if tribunals really regarded as null all marriages that were not “sacramental”, then no marriage between Jews, or between Muslims, or between Hindus, would be valid, for none of those marriages are sacramental. For that matter, no marriage between a Catholic and any non-baptized person would be valid, for such marriages are not regarded as sacramental, even when they are entered into in accord with canon law! This is nonsense, of course, but it’s the kind of nonsense that gains traction when an “expert” describes the central question in annulment cases to be about sacramentality instead of about validity.

There are, I’m afraid, several other problems in the article but the above should suffice to caution readers.

Sapienti pauca.

Prof. Peters, ladies and gentlemen, with his characteristically helpful clarity.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Just Too Cool: Leo XIII’s Latin Riddles

I have known about Pope Leo’s poetry for quite a long time. But this is great!

From CNS:

Papal puzzler: Leo XIII anonymously published riddles in Latin

Pope Leo XIII, born in 1810, is credited with being the founder of Catholic social teaching. (CNS/Library of Congress)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Going by the pseudonym “X,” Pope Leo XIII anonymously crafted poetic puzzles in Latin for a Roman periodical at the turn of the 19th century.  [When shall we see his like again?  Not anytime soon, I suspect.]

The pope created lengthy riddles, known as “charades,” in Latin in which readers had to guess a rebus-like answer from two or more words that together formed the syllables of a new word.

Eight of his puzzles were published anonymously in “Vox Urbis,” a Rome newspaper that was printed entirely in Latin between 1898-1913, according to an article in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

A reader who submitted the correct answer to the riddle would receive a book of Latin poetry written by either Pope Leo or another noted Catholic figure.

The identity of the mysterious riddle-maker, however, was soon revealed by a French reporter covering the Vatican for the daily newspaper Le Figaro.

Felix Ziegler published his scoop Jan. 9, 1899, a year after the puzzles started appearing, revealing that “Mr. X” was, in fact, the reigning pope, the Vatican newspaper said July 20.

In the pope’s hometown, Carpineto Romano, which is about 35 miles southeast of Rome, students at the middle school now named for him have published 26 of the pope’s Latin puzzles in a new book titled, “Aenigmata. The Charades of Pope Leo XIII.

Three middle school teachers and their pupils said they have included puzzles they found, but which had never been published before.

One example of the pope’s Latin riddles talked of a “little boat nimbly dancing,” that sprung a leak as it “welcomed the shore so near advancing.”

“The whole your eyes have known, your pallid cheeks have shown; for oh! the swelling tide no bravest heart could hide, when your dear mother died,” continues the translation of part of the riddle-poem.

The answer, “lacrima,” (“teardrop”) merges clues elsewhere in the poem for “lac” (“milk”) and “rima” (“leak” or “fissure”).

[...]

A trained Vatican diplomat and man of culture, the pope was also a member of an exclusive society of learning founded in Rome in 1690 called the Academy of Arcadia, whose purpose was to “wage war on the bad taste” engulfing baroque Italy. Pope Leo, whose club name was “Neandro Ecateo,” was the last pope to be a member of the circle of poets, artists, musicians and highly cultured aristocrats and religious.

The pope was also passionate about hunting and viniculture. Unable to leave the confines of the Vatican after Italy was unified and the papal states brought to an end in 1870, he pursued his hobbies in the Vatican Gardens.

He had a wooden blind set up to hide in while trapping birds, which he then would set free again immediately.

He also had his own small vineyard, which, according to one historical account, he tended himself, hoeing out the weeds, and visiting often for moments of prayer and writing poetry.

Apparently, one day, gunfire was heard from the pope’s vineyard, triggering fears of a papal assassination attempt.

Instead, it turned out the pope had ordered a papal guard to send a salvo of bullets into the air to scare off the sparrows who were threatening his grape harvest. [OORAH!  A man after my own heart.]

I would very much like to get my hands on these.

Posted in Just Too Cool, Lighter fare | Tagged , | 15 Comments

My View For Awhile: Left Coast Edition

Off I go again. Conference. And I don’t have to speak. Which I can just take it in, as Killick would put it.

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Paco de Lucia is being played. Nice not to have shapeless Muzak.

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Happily, I have a layover which will neither force me to rush nor get bored. I’ve started to avoid really short layovers. Given the on-time/late records of airlines, it’s not worth the minutes saved on the while trip to have the worry of making a connection.

UPDATE

Briefly… too briefly… in my horribly suffering native place.

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Finally some breakfast, if that word could apply to this thing. Best option at the moment.

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UPDATE

Phase 2. We have been delayed at couple times, but I think we won’t be in too late.

It’s a long flight, but not like the trans-pond slogs.

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UPDATE

In flight Internet isn’t great but it isn’t nothing.

A glimpse at my old stomping ground, catching the edge of where I grew up.

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People, there is little glamorous or comfy about travel. Here is a good example and a reason why I carry antiseptic wipes and packs of Wet Ones when I fly.

Barbarian neighbors are a constant annoyance. Rude. Don’t be this jerk when you travel.

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And the rude jerk behind me keeps putting her foot on the back of my arm rest. Creepy.

Hey! MORONS! You are NOT in your own living room!

As I end my rant I turn my attention
to interesting geography.

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And now I now just where we are.

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Confirmed by map.

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And the mountains are getting closer.

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And I just finished reading Disinformation. What a nightmarishly illuminating book. It answers lots of questions I had about the Left, including the catholic Left, how they work, what they want.

UPDATE

We lost Internet for a while… grrr.

And we are now I a holding pattern over the mountains.

“But Father! But Father!”, you are surely saying. “What’s the delay?”

Obama has given me another reason to dislike him. We are waiting for him to leave so that we can land. I am consoled that I won’t be in the same city as he, nor breathe the same air. Alas, your planet’s yellow Sun will be the same.

All this turning and banking gives us some nice views.

UPDATE:

I am at an advance screening of the new Jim Caviezel film, to be released on 22 August (anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth Field). When The Game Stands Tall.

Posted in What Fr. Z is up to | 25 Comments

22 July: St. Mary Magdalene (and homonymous cookies!)

Today is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene.

The 3rd c. writer Hippolytus in his Commentary on Song of Songs identifies Mary Magdalene with both Mary of Bethany the sister of Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10:38-42; John 1:10) and also the woman who anointed Jesus’s feet (Luke 7:36-50)

Mary Magdalene and/or Mary of Bethany are often identified as sinners. Pope Gregory I “the Great” called her a peccatrix, “sinner”. Eventually she came to be called meretrix, “prostitute”.

There is no way to arrive definitively at the identity of the figure of Mary Magdelene. It is possible that Mary Magdalene was none of these women. The Catholic Church has no position about this. Commonly, however, Catholics sometimes identify all three women as the same Mary.

There is also another version, namely that Mary Magdalene was the woman Jesus saved from stoning after being caught in adultery. This is the tradition referenced in Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ. Scholars however believe that Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, the woman Jesus rescued, and the woman who anointed His feet are all different women.

We know from Scripture that Mary Magdalene, Salome and Mary the mother of James came to Jesus’ tomb to anoint the body (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2). Mary Magdalene, the first witness of the empty tomb, went to tell Apostles (John 20:1-2). So, she is called “the apostle to the apostles”. At first Mary did not recognize Jesus, but when He said her name, she saw who He was and tried to cling to him. Christ forbade her to touch Him (Noli me tangere John 20:17) saying “I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

What became of Mary Magdelene? We don’t know for sure. Here is what the old Catholic Encyclopedia says, for what it is worth:

The Greek Church maintains that the saint retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin and there died, that her relics were transferred to Constantinople in 886 and are there preserved. Gregory of Tours (De miraculis, I, xxx) supports the statement that she went to Ephesus. However, according to a French tradition (see SAINT LAZARUS OF BETHANY), Mary, Lazarus, and some companions came to Marseilles and converted the whole of Provence. Magdalen is said to have retired to a hill, La Sainte-Baume, near by, where she gave herself up to a life of penance for thirty years. When the time of her death arrived she was carried by angels to Aix and into the oratory of St. Maximinus, where she received the viaticum; her body was then laid in an oratory constructed by St. Maximinus at Villa Lata, afterwards called St. Maximin. History is silent about these relics till 745, when according to the chronicler Sigebert, they were removed to Vézelay through fear of the Saracens. No record is preserved of their return, but in 1279, when Charles II, King of Naples, erected a convent at La Sainte-Baume for the Dominicans, the shrine was found intact, with an inscription stating why they were hidden. In 1600 the relics were placed in a sarcophagus sent by Clement VIII, the head being placed in a separate vessel. In 1814 the church of La Sainte-Baume, wrecked during the Revolution, was restored, and in 1822 the grotto was consecrated afresh. The head of the saint now lies there, where it has lain so long, and where it has been the centre of so many pilgrimages.

 

And let us not forget the cookies called Madeleines of which Marcel Proust wrote so elegantly.

In Patricia Bunning Stevens’ work Rare Bits: Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes we read:

“In culinary lore, Madeleines are always associated with Marcel Proust, whose autobiographical novel, Remembrance of Things Past, begins as his mother serves him tea and “those short, plump little cakes called petits Madeleines, which look as though they had been molded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell.” The narrator dips a corner of a little cake into the tea and then is overwhelmed by memories; he realizes that the Madeleines bore “in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.” …But Madeleines had existed long before Proust’s boyhood. Numerous stories, none very convincing, attribute their invention to a host of different pastry cooks, each of whom supposedly named them for some particular young woman. Only three things are known for sure. One is that Madeleine is a French form of Magdalen (Mary Magdalen, a disciple of Jesus, is mentioned in all four gospels). Another is that Madeleines are always associated with the little French town of Commercy, whose bakers were said to have once, long ago, paid a “very large sum” for the recipe and sold the little cakes packed in oval boxes as a specialty in the area. Finally, it is alow known that nuns in eighteenth-century France frequently supported themselves and their schools by making and selling a particular sweet… Commercy once had a convent dedicated to St. Mary Magdelen, and the nuns, probably when all the convents and monastaries of France were abolished during the French Revolution, sold their recipe to the bakers for an amount that grew larger with each telling.”

Here are links for recipes: NB: This requires a special mold:

1 stick (1/4 lb.) unsalted butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 lemon
2/3 cup milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
butter (at room temperature) for the madeleine pan molds

CLICK

Butter 2 madeleine molds (molds of 12) and put into the refrigerator. Butter them again in 15 minutes, making sure the butter coats the indentations on the top. Chill molds until ready to use.

Grate the zest from 1/2 of the lemon and reserve. Squeeze the lemon and reserve the juice. Whisk the flour and baking powder together. Melt the butter and set aside. Whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice together for about 30 seconds. Don’t overmix.

Thin the mixture with 1/2 cup of the milk. Add the flour all at once and, using a whisk, blend just long enough to eliminate lumps. Gently stir in the rest of the milk and the melted butter.

Refrigerate the batter for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°. Spoon the batter into the shell-shaped molds and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning the pans halfway through the cooking time so they bake evenly. Immediately remove the cookies from the molds and allow to cool on racks. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving (not when hot!).

It would be remise not to include something tasty for the mouth of the soul as well, which is always ready to bite into something chewy and substantive from the Fathers. Here, patristibloggers, is a piece from St. Augustine’s Tractate on the Gospel on John 131. There are nice bits here as, for example, recounting that Mary mistook the Risen Lord for a gardener and Augustine makes Him into the Gardener of her soul!

3. “Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God.” There are points in these words which we must examine with brevity indeed, but with somewhat more than ordinary attention. for Jesus was giving a lesson in faith to the woman, who had recognized Him as her Master, and called Him so in her reply; and this gardener was sowing in her heart, as in His own garden, the grain of mustard seed.

What then is meant by “Touch me not”? and just as if the reason of such a prohibition would be sought, He added, “for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” What does this mean? if, while standing on earth, He is not to be touched, how could He be touched by men when sitting in heaven? for certainly, before He ascended, He presented Himself to the touch of the disciples, when He said, as testified by the evangelist Luke, “Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have;” or when He said to Thomas the disciple, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and put forth thy hand, and thrust it into my side.” and who could be so absurd as to affirm that He was willing indeed to be touched by the disciples before He ascended to the Father, but refused it in the case of women till after His ascension?

But no one, even had any the will, was to be allowed to run into such folly, for we read that women also, after His resurrection and before His ascension to the Father, touched Jesus, among whom was Mary Magdalene herself; for it is related by Matthew that Jesus met them, and said, “All hail. And they approached, and held Him by the feet, and worshiped Him.” This was passed over by John, but declared as the truth by Matthew.

It remains, therefore, that some sacred mystery must lie concealed in these words; and whether we discover it or utterly fail to do so, yet we ought to be in no doubt as to its actual existence. Accordingly, either the words, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father,” had this meaning, that by this woman the Church of the Gentiles was symbolized, which did not believe on Christ till He had actually ascended to the Father, or that in this way Christ wished Himself to be believed on; in other words, to be touched spiritually, that He and the Father are one. for He has in a manner ascended to the Father, to the inward perception of him who has made such progress in the knowledge of Christ that he acknowledges Him as equal with the Father: in any other way He is not rightly touched, that is to say, in any other way He is not rightly believed on. But Mary might have still so believed as to account Him unequal with the Father, and this certainly is forbidden her by the words, “Touch me not;” that is, Believe not thus on me according to thy present notions; let not your thoughts stretch outwards to what I have been made in thy behalf, without passing beyond to that whereby thou hast thyself been made. for how could it be otherwise than carnally that she still believed on Him whom she was weeping over as a man? “For I am not yet ascended,” He says, “to my Father:” there shalt thou touch me, when thou believest me to be God, in no wise unequal with the Father. “But go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father.” He saith not, Our Father: in one sense, therefore, is He mine, in another sense, yours; by nature mine, by grace yours. “and my God, and your God.” Nor did He say here, Our God: here, therefore, also is He in one sense mine, in another sense yours: my God; under whom I also am as man; your God, between whom and you I am mediator.

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