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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Menu Plan: March 28 - April 3

This morning was the Palm Sunday service at church. We got to remember how to fold the palm fronds into crosses again. This is what we love about the liturgical year: There is something for each of the senses as well as the intellect and soul. We processed into the sanctuary singing and waving our palms, we see the different sights, such as the palm fronds, hear the sounds of the music, the words of the Scriptures and the Mass, we smell the incense, we touch the palms in our own hands, we taste the Eucharist. Palm Sunday is a hard day. We start with the celebration of the welcome Christ received entering Jerusalem and we end by remembering that it was for our sins that He sweat His blood in the garden of Gethsemane, was beaten and scourged and was nailed to the cross. It is our voices that cry out for Barabbas, it is our cry to crucify Him. Each sin we commit echos that cry. One of the things we love about the Church year is how each of these senses help us remember and help us teach our children about God, the Church and our own nature.

This upcoming week is a hard one spiritually. Holy Week is a journey into Christ's suffering, knowing that it was done for us, because we were helpless to save ourselves. We see Him serve His disciples as a slave. We see Him betrayed. We see Him tried unjustly, but go willingly, trusting. We see Him give Himself up so He can conquer death, crush the head of the serpent with the cross driven into the top of the Place of the Skull. We see Him die an undeserved death, so He can enter Hell and rise with those souls He came to save, to give us the hope of eternal life and salvation in the resurrection.

It is a hard week emotionally as well, for all of those reasons, but also because it is almost impossible to pray with the Church during these services, to do the daily readings and not see our sin and weakness. It is a week of conflicts for us at home, because we are walking the Via Dolorosa with Him, and preparing for the joy of the empty tomb as well.

It is a week of greater sacrifice. For our family, that means going meatless the entire week, since we have not abstained from meat the entirety of Lent. Maundy Thursday is a vigil of prayer with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when we inevitably find how hard it is to watch just one hour with Him. Good Friday is a day of penitence and mourning. Holy Saturday starts with a hopeful expectation and ends with a vigil to the empty tomb.

Meanwhile, during the fast and vigil and mourning, I will be planning a feast and a celebration. During some of the more emotionally draining days, I will be cooking and cleaning and preparing for Pascha and the joyous resurrection. It is a week of contrasts.

For the first time in a long time, we won't be hosting a huge party. We don't even know if our Paschal feast will include more than our family. We are determined to continue in the liturgical pattern, showing our children how the Church the world over celebrates this highest holy day of the Christian year. However, because of our smaller group, I am having to cut down on the number of dishes and quantity I make, and I am finding that difficult. I'm not used to cooking for fewer than 40 on this feast. Preparing for eight to 14 seems so small in comparison.

So, this is our menu for the week. There are six days of meatless meals, one of them being shellfish, so not vegetarian. I will try to get our Pascha and Bright Week menu up Saturday, because I know I won't get a chance on Sunday. May you have a blessed Holy Week and experience the joy of the resurrection.What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up on Saturday.

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Thank you for posting such a variety of meatless meals! It is wonderful to see your Faith reflected in your meals. Happy Easter to you and your family

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