A Late Little Valentine…

A faithful rendition of the Icon of Pope Valentine at St. Peter’s outside the walls. A small but significant parish in Rome.

Call me weird but I’m thinking about popes and valentines.

The photo from Agence France-Presse: via Fr. Z’s blog.

This happened not long after Pope Benedict’s stepping down from the Chair of Peter.

See, I took a fast from words (on line) on Ash Wednesday– or at least, I tried to. However, I fell down, because I was weak enough to read Sarah Hoyt’s blog, who is always provocative enough to get me talking.  It is not her fault, I promise.

I also cut down my food intake. For the record I have a full dispensation for health reasons, but I choose to limit myself in the spirit of fellowship. Just kind of glad it’s over– now I can think clearly again.

Also, the various unprecedented events– which can even be seen with the election of our President– tempt me strongly to indulge in prophesy. The portents are loud, but the directions unclear. Yes, we all know it’s important– but what does it mean?  I was in a weird enough mood to apply this ponderous mood to my food, even.

At any rate, last night I made some butter beans with chard and wine and herbs in rice.  It was rough going, despite being so simple– I used a little “Better than Bullion , and it turned out too salty. I added a few herbs and spices, and they were too strong. I had to work very hard to get everything palatable  but in the end, I did eat. Something. Eventually.  My real dinner happened with my husband at a restaurant after midnight.

My husband took on a full fast that excluded everything but Gatorade   He was badly enough off that he refused to go to mass. This is not a guy who makes up excuses to avoid it, let me tell you.

But all of this got me thinking.  Everything I did was too much– one way, or the other.  I did not manage to make myself something that fed me sufficiently to be “designated driver” for the fasting one, nor did I make something pleasing to the palette by trying to be a little bit merciful.

Ironically, it wasn’t the beans, and it wasn’t the chard, nor was it the rice. It was all the stuff I added to it that were wrong.  I am a sufficiently skilled home cook that I can usually make something reasonably edible even out of ingredients I’ve never encountered before.

By Patrick Heusser, http://www.x8ing.com (own work, http://www.x8ing.com) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

It likely would have been better if I’d skipped the wine and herbs entirely.  Also, in the desire for making this thing real, I forgot basic timing for taking care of my condition– so I did not even do that. This is what dispensations are for in the first place– so that one can take care of oneself and offer up what one can for penance.

So perhaps more prayer and less “trying” is in order.  Mmmm. Story of my life.

I guess Lent is a good time to work on that.  And remember, prayer is a love letter to your God and the Saints, so it’s not some kind of boring intellectual frumpery, nor hazy wishing for the god of ponies to drop you a dime. Yet it can fall into so many forms that there are entire classes of it.  An entire lifetime is what is required to improve  that life of prayer.

And yes, I love you all. Even those who think I’m a silly moronic curse on the face of mankind for darning to fall into superstition.

Another form of Valentine. For a rather different sort of love.

But then, maybe I live too close to Chicago.


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