Wednesday, June 24, 2015

7 Quick Ways to Celebrate St. Josemaria Escriva (+ Flan recipe!)

A modern Saint for our modern times, St. Josemaria Escriva is one of my new favorite Saints as of the past year. This year marks the 40th anniversary of his death on June 26th. He has only been a canonized saint since 2002, but his words on family, marriage, vocations in general, and just everyday work are so very encouraging and challenging. I think if you read about him and the works he wrote, you, too, will find he's one of your favorites.

After I read this quote from him, I knew he would be one of my new faves...





Born and raised in a devoutly Catholic family, Josemaria entered the seminary at age 16 and was ordained as a priest in Zaragoza, Spain 7 years later. While on retreat, God gave him the vision for Opus Dei. The rest of St. Josemaria's life was dedicated to founding and establishing that institution, which is dedicated to helping people seek holiness in their everyday life and to grow in love with God and their fellow man. In the 40s, he moved to Rome to be close to the Holy See. From here out, Opus Dei grew to include hospitals, schools, agricultural training centers, and more. Today it has over 84,000 members in over 60 countries.

If you're interested in learning more about St. Josemaria Escriva, check out Idea #1, and then go ahead an celebrate him by trying out one of the other ideas.




1 // Learn more about St. Josemaria Escriva

This eBook on the Life of St. Josamaria is available free in PDF form on the Josemaria Escriva website. It's a wonderful introduction to read aloud to your kids and learn something yourself as well!



If you're interested in owning a movie about him, this one: God's Footprints, is a 30 minute animated film produced by EWTN. I haven't seen it, so I can't attest to how good it is.


2 // Thank your parents for your life and faith

“Be grateful to your parents for bringing you into this world, thus enabling you to become a child of God,” he instructs. “And be all the more grateful if it was they who placed in your soul the first seeds of faith and piety, of your Christian way, or of your vocation.”
How often do we thank our parents for the life they gave us, for what they sacrificed for us, and if they brought us up in the Church, for the seeds they planted in our early lives? Especially as I parent my own little ones, I realize how grateful I am for all my parents did for me. Send a text, write an e-mail (or even better a handwritten note), or call your parents and say "Thanks."



3 // Make a Spanish meal


Since his feast day falls on a Friday this year, these are all meat-free options, but next year you could totally add in your favorite meat-full dish!

Tortilla EspaƱola ala a Spanish Potato Omelette, simple and looks tasty!

Seafood Paella is a little more complicated. We often make it with only fish and maybe a little bit of shrimp and clams to add a variety of flavor at less of a cost.

Gazpacho is a perfect summer dishes. This recipe is the more traditional variation, a blend of tomato and cucumber - there are many others out there though, so Google away and pick a flavor that fits your palate.

This Veggie Empanada recipe looks fantastic, and I think this will be what we go with. My boys LOVE empanadas - they're basically the Hispanic equivalent of a British pasty or a Jamaican meat patty.

And for dessert, round it off with a Flan!

My husband, who is part Cuban and Puerto Rican volunteered to share his family recipe passed down to him by his La-la. Crazily enough I have no photos of this traditional family dessert, but I'll take one of the flan he makes tomorrow and share it. Just imagine it for now to be super lovely!


Flan

You will need:
1 can condensed milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 cans milk (2% or whole) - use the can from the condensed milk to measure
1/2 - 3/4 cup white sugar
For a "flan pan" you can use a deep oven-safe metal bowl - we use an all-metal double boiler. You want it to be several inches deep and at least 6-7" in diameter 
1.) Preheat oven 350. Coat bottom of pan in sugar. Heat over medium to low flame, stirring the sugar constantly until a thick syrup is formed. It's easy to burn, so make sure you are stirring the whole time!
A trick is to add 2 TB of rum of the sugar to help it melt more evenly
2.) Turn off the heat, and let the sugar cool. It will start to crack
when it's cooled.
3.) In mixing bowl, mix 3 eggs until well blended. Make sure whites
are well broken up. Gradually stir in condensed milk with whisk until
well blended with eggs.
4.) Gradually stir in regular milk with whisk until everything is well
mixed together.
5.) Butter flan pan from top of the sugar all the way to the top. Pour
in the egg/milk mixture through a mesh strainer. Try to pour as slowly
as you can, avoiding air bubbles.
6.) Place in a water bath - another pan with the water as high as the
custard is. (Outside the flan pan.)
7.) Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Custard will still jiggle, but a
knife inserted into middle should come out clean. Thoroughly cool it
before you flip it out. Air cool an hour or so, and then chill in
fridge for several hours.
8.) To flip it out, run a knife along edge of flan to loosen. Set a
plate upside down on top of pan. Hold the pan on the bottom, and very
quickly iinvert pan and plate. Tada!


4 // Try out The Mangy Donkey 


This drink recipe, included in Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner's Guide to a Holy Happy Hour, is a brandy cocktail. Brandy, because it is a major export of Spain's, and the name is drawn from what the saint referred to himself as. I just got this book for David for Father's Day, and let me tell you, we are already enjoying it quite a bit! There are stories for each saint, wines and beers for many of them, and cocktail recipes throughout. 

This patient and industrious animal appeals to me, for the donkey is tough and austere, for he is humble. But above all, he appeals to me because he works, because he perseveres day after day, turning the water-wheel, drawing the water that makes the orchard flower. The donkey puts up with anything, even the blows. He works and works, and is content with just a handful of straw or grass.
St Josemaria, letter dated 15 October 1948, no. 11


5 // Learn a new prayer 
or say one you haven't said in awhile

From a young age, St. Josemaria was taught simple prayers that he repeated throughout his day. This is a simple discipline that we also, as parents, can pass along to our children.

Some we have taught our children that they've memorized at this point include: Hail Mary, Our Father, Prayer to St. Michael, Anima Christi (which Blaise sweetly refers to as the 'Name of Christi' - we don't correct him because it's still cute at age 3), the Guardian Angel prayer, and the Hail Holy Queen.




6 // Say a Rosary

"When we were little, we kept close to our mother in a dark alley or if dogs barked at us. Now, when we feel temptations of the flesh, we should run to the side of our Mother in Heaven, by realizing how she is to us, and by means of aspirations. She will defend us and lead us to the light." --St. Josemaria Escriva
St. Josemaria had many wonderful things to say about the Rosary and about calling on our Lady for help in getting through each day. The above quote is one of my favorites, and I always like to remember that "she will defend me and lead me to the light" as I finger my beads.


7 // Set up a Plan of Life

A Plan of Life is a spiritual plan to keep you accountable to working on your relationship with God every day. Just like we plan our calendars, meals, schooling, and so forth, so St. Josemaria encouraged his followers to create a plan to ensure making time for God daily. Some ideas for this could be starting the day with a morning offering, saying a daily rosary, adding the Angelus, ending your day with an examination of conscience, or attending daily mass.

Yes, this is a long time goal, but what better day to start it then today? Pick something that's doable for you and commit to doing it every day!

St. Josemaria expounds more on the Plan of Life in his book: Friends of God.


Happy Feast Day of St. Josemaria Escriva!


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This post: 7 Quick Ways to Celebrate St. Josemaria Escriva first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 22 June 2015



Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Last Minute Father's Day Gift Guide for the Catholic Man

Having trouble coming up with a fun yet not totally wasteful Father's Day gift? Worried it won't get here on time? Want something to enrich your husband/dad's faith? Look no further. I have come up with a thorough list of many great gifts that could be the perfect fit for many a Catholic man.


I have questioned a thoroughly reliable source… ahem, my husband, on some fun, practical, and useful gift ideas. And gift giving/receiving isn't his love language, so you know something is worthwhile when he gives it the affirming thumbs up.


Something to Read

For my husband at least, books are always a win. I included a few headier books as well as some light hearted ones.


       
       


Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Be A Man!: Becoming the Man God Created You to Be by Fr. Larry Richards

Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas by Dr. Peter Kreeft

Drinking with the Saints: The Sinner's Guide to a Holy Happy Hour by Michael P. Foley

Angels in Iron by Nicholas C. Prata

Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet; Perelandra; That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis



Something to Wear

T-shirts are always good, especially when you're ready to discard of the rattier ones in the drawer.




Monk Rock has some excellent Ts including the one above.



Mantled Catholic Clothing is another company with some great designs. My husband picked the one above.



Also fun is the T-shirt from Swanky Turtle kids can drive their toy vehicles on the back while Dad catches up on his sleep.



I got David a bow tie from popARTicles last year, and it's one of my personal favorites of the ones I've found over the years. Unique designs, quality craftsmanship, and reasonable prices while still supporting handmade.


Something Practical


Paracord rosaries from Rugged Rosaries are the perfect combination of sturdiness and simple, sleek design. Handcrafted in CA by a family business with 550 lb paracord.




Barbatus Beard Balm for the bearded man in your life. From their website:
"Barbatus Beard Balm is an all natural blend of almond oil, shea butter, beeswax, cocoa butter and essential oils (in our scented ones). There are currently three aromas available Chrism, Franciscan, and Lectio."
With those names, how can you say no?


For the Dad who enjoys the outdoors, camping, fixing things, and survival tactics:






Something He Can Eat/Drink



Whiskey Sour Pickles by Brooklyn Brine - these are so, so good. Check your local grocery store (I've found them at Wegmans, Trader Joes, and a local town grocer as well!)


A craft Beer or another favorite libation is always a great way to remind him he's appreciated.


Something just for Fun


Tavern Puzzles



Carcassonne or another fun game. If Dad already owns and loves a game that has expansion packs, maybe grab one of those! Here are 5 pretty awesome games we happen to love.



A giant box of Lego. This is what my boys have picked out for my husband this year. It works out great: Dad gets to play again under the guise of building for his ever impressed sons while I can sneak away to another part of the house. Win/win/win.




I'd forgotten that I'd gotten David a Viking One Handed Long Sword Replica several years ago, but he reminded me and said it was still one of his favorite gifts ever. 


____________

With exception of the Amazon links, all these companies are just ones we think are awesome. I haven't been paid or sponsored in any way by them, but I do think they are worth your money.


Best of luck in shopping for and picking out something that's a perfect way to show appreciation for the Dad in your life!


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