Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter
SHAVUOT-SAINT BERNARD-HAMBURGER DAY
The dispute was so serious that the commander, AFRAID that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, ordered his troops to go down and rescue him from their midst and take him into the compound.
The ancient philosophers identified man’s capacity for thought by the use of different words for perceiving reality: sensus (the five senses), imaginatio (the ability of the mind to recall pictures from the past or paint pictures of the future), ratio (the ability to think in logical steps to reach a conclusion), and intellectus (the ability to perceive the truth all at once as self-evident). While animals have instincts as a form of knowledge, they do not reflect on the past or ponder the future with the capacity to think that distinguishes human virtues such as foresight and prudence, a mark of wisdom.
While ants prepare for the winter, they do not contemplate eternity. While dogs have keen memories, they do not gather wisdom from the accumulated experience of the entire human race as a source of universal truth.
Beyond the Present
Because man is a rational animal with the power of intelligence, human thinking goes beyond the immediate concerns and duties of the present moment. Man’s memory allows him to recall the mistakes of the past and not repeat them and to learn from the previous experience of older generations in his study of history. Man’s imagination allows him to project into the future and consider possibilities, consequences, and likely outcomes. The art of living requires this capacity to think today while mindful of the past and conscious of the future. This wise thinking, however, is not escaping into the past with nostalgia or calculating about the future with cunning. The foresight of a wise man is a far cry from the reckoning of a fox or rat.
Exceeding our Grasp
Foresight does not mean simply being insured for accidents to protect against harm to a person’s health or damage to his home. While home and car insurance show prudential judgment, foresight is more than prevention or precaution. It goes beyond not taking foolish chances but rather embraces noble efforts and daring initiatives to achieve an ideal. It encompasses the common good, the welfare of future generations, the happiness of all family members young and old, and an awareness of the four last things: death, the final judgment, heaven, and hell. Foresight strives for excellence and imagines always the difference between the way things are in the present and the way things ought to be in the future. Famous characters in literature like Don Quixote seek to restore the best of the past—the virtues of knighthood—to inspire future generations with truth, honor, chivalry, and courtesy. Robert Browning writes that “man’s reach should exceed his grasp, “Or else what’s a heaven for?” Foresight always aspires to perfection and never rests complacent with mediocrity, the lowest common denominator, or the average. Just as God in His Divine Providence foresees man’s needs and plans for them, man too needs to be provident—to be far-seeing, to think ahead, to be mindful of consequences, and to realize that the outcome of the future depends on the choices of today. Created in God’s image, man imitates God by providing for others and acting with prudence about the future with the virtue of foresight. For example, God’s all-wise plan for life—envisioning a child’s needs—prepares for the birth of the newborn by endowing man and woman with parental instincts to care for and protect the infant. All good parents are provident as they attend not only to the present needs of their children but also think ahead for their future.
The word “pro-vide” comes from two Latin words that mean to look before or ahead. To be Godlike, to be wise, to be prudent, and to exercise common sense means to weigh consequences and be aware of both the present and the future. All actions bear fruit for good or for ill. As the parable of the talents illustrates, God expects the coins to be multiplied and earn interest—evidence of foresight and imagining the future with good judgment. God judges’ man by the abundance of his harvest: “By their fruits you shall know them.” There is no interest earned, no bountiful harvest, no fruitful field without foresight, without sowing the right seeds in the springtime of life for the later years. Unlike animals that live in the present and do not foresee the future with vision or ideals, man enjoys a greater awareness of time as he recollects the past and anticipates the future. In fact, the cardinal virtue of prudence takes account of past, present, and future—learning from the mistakes and experience of the past, making a practical judgment based on the reality of the present, and foreseeing the consequences of actions today that affect others for the common good in the days ahead. To be responsible, moral, and sensible, a person naturally thinks ahead—living today but anticipating tomorrow, saving money now for next year’s purchases, educating children in their youth for their later adult life, keeping the Ten Commandments and living the life of the Beatitudes in the expectation of life everlasting.
Foresight for the Future
Christ taught his followers to be both “gentle as doves and wise as serpents.” The serpent looks to the left and to the right, moves slowly and cautiously, and checks for dangers and enemies. Thinking must always precede acting; otherwise, a person acts foolishly or imprudently without weighing the effects or reactions beforehand. Without foresight a person wastes money, time, or effort and accomplishes nothing. Without foresight—an intelligent plan of action to achieve a moral goal—no one progresses toward a destination. To live only for the present and think “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die” does not amount to wisdom because the future always comes. Man enters the future either prepared or unprepared—like the ants in Aesop’s fable that prepared for winter or the cicada that only sang in the summer and froze in the cold. Foresight for students means not only preparing for a career through a good education but also gathering wisdom to live well and to enjoy an abundant life. Nothing learned—no matter the subject matter, book, or class—is ever wasted. Whatever a person learns in science, social studies, religion, or English, he will use in one capacity or another. Not to learn is to show no foresight. If not in his own profession, then in his own personal life a person will be glad he knows, glad he can teach others, glad he possesses an informed mind capable of making intelligent decisions. A person in high school or college is not just qualifying for a profession but providing for a life of the mind, one of the greatest sources of human happiness because man is designed to love truth, to desire knowledge for its own sake, and ultimately to know God. It is not only human wisdom to think ahead for the sake of one’s own happiness but also charity to be far-sighted on behalf of the well-being of others. Just as a Christian is obligated to love others as Christ loves him and forgive others as God forgives him, he also needs to think of others and provide for their future as God provides for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.
Shavuot – The Holiday that Nurtures Our Soulsbegins at sunset
Shavuot is one of the three major Jewish festivals and comes exactly fifty days after Passover. After being redeemed from Egyptian slavery, the Jews arrived on Mount Sinai and received the Torah from God. This wonderful event took place 3,319 years ago. The word Shavuot means “weeks.” It marks the completion of the seven weeks, 49 days, between Passover and Shavuot during which the Jewish people prepared themselves for the giving of the Torah. During this time period they prepared themselves spiritually and entered into an eternal covenant with God with the giving of the Torah. Shavuot also means “oaths.” With the giving of the Torah, the Jewish people and God exchanged oaths, forming an everlasting covenant, not to forsake one another. Every year on this day we celebrate and renew our acceptance of God’s gift and our eternal bond with Him. There are several interesting customs associated with this holiday. We stay up all night learning Torah, read the Ten Commandments and the book of Ruth, and eat milk products, especially cheesecake. The custom of learning is especially fitting for the holiday that commemorates the giving of the Torah. The custom of dairy products seems surprising. Among the different explanations given for this custom, one points out that the Hebrew word for milk is chalav. When the numerical value of the letters in this word are added together – 8; 30; 2 – the total is forty. Forty hints to the number of days Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Torah. I would like to present another, perhaps more personal and spiritual reason for this custom. Unlike meat that nourishes the flesh, milk is full of calcium which nourishes the bones. The Hebrew for bones is “Atzmot תמוצע ” which is also the word that means “essence.” This custom hints to the fact that on this holiday we absorb the Torah which nourishes our essence. Additionally, milk is the most basic of foods that a nursing mother shares with her infant. The mother literally gives of her essence and nurtures the essence of the baby. This relationship parallels the personal bond and love that a mother shares with her child. On Shavuot we celebrate the personal relationship that we have with God, when He gives over His essence, the Torah, and we absorb it into the essence of our soul.
· On Shavuot, it is customary to adorn the Synagogue and home with flowers and green plants. This is in memory of the foliage around Mount Sinai
· On Shavuot, it is customary to eat milk products. Many Jewish houses, replace the normal meat/chicken dinners with a festivity of milk products, including cheesecake, blintzes, cheeses and ice cream. This custom commemorates the acts of the children of Israel at Sinai. Having received the Law, they understood that their dishes were no longer Kosher, having been used for milk and meat together. They also were in need of teaching on the intricate details of ritual slaughter (Shechitah). Lacking these, they opted to eat only milk products.
· It is customary in Orthodox and some traditional communities to partake in Bible/Jewish Law lessons throughout the eve and night of Shavuot. This is in order to accept the Torah for their generation. In Jerusalem, many people learn the whole night through until dawn and then walk to the Western Wall at sunrise and pray the morning and festival prayer from around 5-8 am. Thereafter, they go home for a hearty festive breakfast and then sleep the rest of the morning.
· The Book of Ruth is read in the Synagogue in the Morning of Shavuot. Ruth converted to Judaism and it is her descendant, David, who became King in Israel. The book of Ruth demonstrates that achieving a high level in Judaism, is neither ethnic nor genetic.
· It is customary to wear new clothes on Shavuot. In the seven weeks (the Omer) preceding Shavuot, people refrain from purchasing major clothing items.
Shavuot Top Events and Things to Do
· Visit Mount Sinai (Egypt) or Israel.
· Read the Book of Exodus, Joshua or Ruth in the Bible.
· Watch the epic film Moses with Burt Lancaster, available for viewing on Youtube
· Eat Milk products
Historically today is the feast of St. Bernard of Montjoux, an Italian churchman, founder of the Alpine hospices of Saint Bernard. He is most famous for the hospices he built on the summits of passes over the Alps. Many pilgrims from France and Germany would travel over the Alps on their way to Rome, but it was always a possibility that one would die from freezing along the way. In the 9th century a system of hospices had been attempted but had lapsed long before Bernard's time. Bernard's hospices in the 11th century was placed under the care of clerics and laymen and were well equipped for the reception of all travelers. A now-famous breed of dogs, known for its endurance in high altitude and cold, was named in honor of this saint. Bernard's life has been the focus of many romantic plays and stories. Many of us may remember childhood stories of St. Bernard dogs coming to the rescue of stranded or injured victims on Alpine slopes. The dogs almost always seem to have a cask of Brandy attached to their collars and when the victims were revived by a good drink the dogs would lead them to safety.
Things to Do
· Read History of the Grand St Bernard pass for background.
· If you like dogs you might find this history of the Saint Bernard Dog interesting.
National Burger Day
National Burger Day is a day of appreciation for hamburgers. The term hamburger is derived from the city of Hamburg, Germany, where beef from Hamburg cows was minced and formed into patties to make Hamburg steaks. The origin of the hamburger in the United States remains debated, although most claim that the hamburger originated between 1880 and 1900. Since then, this beef patty in a bun has become a global staple of the fast-food diet and the backyard cookout. In recent years, these traditional beef patties have been transformed to include other meat and vegetarian options such as, bison, ostrich, deer, chicken, turkey, veggies, tofu and bean patties. National Hamburger Day is celebrated annually on May 28th.
· Louis Lassen is believed to have invented the hamburger, according to New York Magazine.
· The average American man consumes 6.9 oz. of meat per day, while women consume 4.4 oz. Of this, 55% is red meat including beef, followed by poultry and fish.
· One of the most expensive burgers in the world is The Biggest Damn Burger in the World, made by Juicy Foods in Corvallis, Oregon. With a price tag of $5,000, the burger includes 777 pounds of meat and toppings.
· In the States, you can buy Chinese food. In Beijing you can buy hamburger. It's very close. Now I feel the world become a big family, like a really big family. You have many neighbors. Not like before, two countries are far away. - Jet Li, Actor, Martial Artist.
· Host a backyard burger barbecue to celebrate the National Burger Day.
making burgers with alternative toppings. Some of our favorites are:
1) Mac & Cheese
3) Peanut Butter
4) Sunny Side-Up Egg
5) French Fries
a healthier and nutritious
take on the traditional burger, try a veggie burger. Here are some suggestions
for a veggie burger patty:
1) Middle Eastern Falafel burger patty made from fava beans and chickpeas. Spices such as garlic, scallions, cumin and coriander can also be added.
2) Lentil and mushroom burger patty made from a combination of lentils, mushrooms, carrots, breadcrumbs and spices.
3) Black bean burger patty made from black beans and spices such as oregano, chili powder and lime juice.
4) Lentil and barley patty made from lentils, barley, breadcrumbs and spices including cumin, oregano, chili powder, black pepper and dry garlic powder.
· Take up the challenge to create a healthy burger meal. Some options include to replace burger toppings with broccoli and cheese, and replacing potato fries with baked sweet potatoes or replacing the bun with lettuce.
Cheesy 'Juicy Lucy' Burger
Cheesy Juicy Lucy Burger is a cheeseburger with the cheese inside instead of on top. Surprise your guests at your next cookout with this incredibly cheesy, juicy burger.
· 1 1/2 pounds Certified Angus Beef ®ground beef (80/20 blend ideal)
· 6 slices American cheese
· 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped (or substitute 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
· 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
· 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
· 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
· Canola cooking spray
· 4 buns
· Grill pan or cast-iron pan (optional)
1. Cut each cheese slice evenly into 4 squares; arrange in 4 stacks with 6 slices each.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine ground beef, garlic, Worcestershire, salt and pepper; mix by hand.
3. Form beef mixture into 8 thin patties on a large sheet pan. With your thumb, press an indented well in the center of 4 patties and put the portioned cheese in the wells. Encase the cheese with the remaining 4 patties, hand forming your burger to a uniform shape with sealed edges. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before grilling.
4. Spray burgers with a light coat of cooking spray. Grill or pan sear over high heat 3 minutes per side. Transfer to cool side of grill or 375°F oven to finish cooking to an internal doneness of 160°F (5 to 8 minutes). Remove from grill and rest at least 3 minutes for cheese to set.