Short stories are always subjective and open to interpretation. Here are my personal takeaways:
1. The boy wandered through the desert for 40 days to find the wise man when the secret of happiness was within him the whole time. This is true of many things in life. We often search outside ourselves for what has been inside all along.
2. Instead of being a hermit or saintly man, the wise man lived among a “hive of activity” and was conversing with everyone. Perhaps this shows that relationships are a key aspect to happiness (Note: the longest-running study on happiness from Harvard shows that relationships are #1 for happiness). Another way to interpret this is that all of these people wanted the wise man’s wisdom—again showing that the vast majority of people are on the same external journey without realizing the truth that is within them.
3. Instead of telling the boy the secret of happiness in their first conversation, the wise man made the boy experience it for himself. First-hand experience is always more valuable. Reminds me of, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
4. The boy is taught two extremes: 1) When the boy is too focused on the oil (himself), he misses the palace (the world). Focused only on yourself, you miss the natural and man-made marvels of the world. There’s much to be gained by getting outside of your bubble, setting and resetting perspective, and experiencing the vast variety of cultures in the world. Get to know the world. 2) When the boy is too focused on the palace (the world), he misses the oil (himself). Focused only the external, you lose yourself. You are entrusted with certain gifts, talents, and natural abilities. While two drops of oil may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of the world, they are your two drops of oil.
Read the full book summary: 15 Legendary Themes & 75 Quotes from “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho (Book Summary)
SOLEMNITY of SAINTS PETER &
2 Chronicles, Chapter 20, Verse 17
You will not have to fight in
this encounter. Take your places, stand firm, and see the salvation of the
LORD; he will be with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not FEAR or be dismayed. Tomorrow go out to meet them, and the Lord
will be with you.”
This encounter was a battle for
the hearts of men who were firm in the faith and hope of salvation. God was
with Israel. Those who do not fear the battle know that He is greater, and he
empowers his beloved. Let your hearts ascend to Him!
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
Feast of Saint Peter and Paul
Today is the grand rejoicing in the two Princes of the Apostles and founders of the Church in Rome.
PETER, formerly called Simon, was a son of Jonas, of Bethsaida, in Galilee, and a brother of Andrew, by whom he was brought to Christ, Who at once changed his name and called him Peter. When, soon after, Jesus said to both of them on the Sea of Tiberias, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” they both left their nets and followed Him. From this time forward Jesus was constantly giving him particular proofs of His love. From the ship of Peter, He taught the thronging multitude, and to him He promised that on him, as upon a rock, He would build His Church, against which the gates of hell should not prevail. Our Lord took Peter with Him at the raising of Jairus daughter from the dead; at His own transfiguration on Mount Tabor; at the beginning of His passion in the Garden of Gethsemane. To him He promised the keys of the kingdom of heaven; for him He specially prayed that his faith might not fail; and him He commanded to strengthen his brethren. After His resurrection He appeared particularly to Peter, and three times commanded him to feed His flock. But Peter had, above all the other apostles, made himself worthy of this preeminence by his living faith, his humility, his love, and his zeal for the honor of Jesus; for he it was who, before the other apostles, made the confession, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.” He showed his humility when, at the miraculous draught of fishes, he said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Out of love he desired to remain always with Christ on Mount Tabor to prevent Him from suffering; and out of love he declared himself ready with Christ to live or die; nay, he even declared most confidently that, though all should be scandalized in Christ, yet he would not be. When Jesus was taken prisoner, Peter showed himself to be most courageous by cutting off the ear of one of his master’s enemies, and by following Him to the house of Caiaphas. Three times, indeed, did he, as no one else did, deny his Lord out of fear; but the look of forgiving love which Jesus cast upon him forced from him tears of the deepest contrition, and three times afterwards, accordingly, he made that confession, “Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” After he had received the Holy Ghost, full of courage, he confessed Christ crucified, and preached Him in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Ionia, and Bithynia. At Jerusalem he was once already condemned to death, but was set free by an angel. In the year 54 he went to Rome, whence, after a nine years residence, he was banished, with many other Christians. Upon returning thither again he was confined in the Mamertine prison, and finally, on June 29, in the year A.D. 67, under the Emperor Nero, he was crucified; his head, by his own desire, hung downwards, because he thought himself unworthy to die like Christ.
Paul, before his conversion called Saul, was of the tribe of Benjamin, a native of Tarsus, in Cilicia, and a pupil of Gamaliel. Full of zeal for the law, he bitterly opposed the Christians. As he was travelling to Damascus to persecute them, he was, on the way, converted by Christ. How indefatigably he thenceforward worked in the vineyard of the Lord, and what dangers and persecutions he underwent, no pen can describe. It is almost incredible with what zeal and perseverance he preached Christ, in chains and fetters, under blows and scourges, in hunger and thirst, and untold times at the peril of his life. And yet he was so humble that he counted himself the least of the apostles, and always praised God that He had thought him worthy to suffer for His name. After he had at last fought a good fight, and finished his course having everywhere zealously preached the Gospel, and still more zealously practiced it he received the crown of justice (n. Tim. iv. 6). The Emperor Nero caused him to be beheaded on the same day that Peter was crucified.
The Introit of the Mass is in the words spoken by St. Peter after his delivery from the prison at Jerusalem: Now I know in very deed that the Lord hath sent His angel and hath delivered me out of the hands of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews (Acts xii. 11). “Lord, Thou hast proved me and known me; Thou hast known my sitting down and my rising up” (Ps. cxxxviii. 1, 2).
Prayer. O God, Who hast consecrated this day by the martyrdom of Thy apostles SS. Peter and Paul, grant to Thy Church, in all things, to follow their doctrines, through whom the true faith was first proclaimed.
EPISTLE. Acts xii. 1-11.
In those days: Herod the king stretched forth his hands, to afflict some of the Church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And seeing that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to take up Peter also. Now it was in the days of the Azymes. And when he had apprehended him, he cast him into prison, delivering him to four files of soldiers to be kept, intending after the Pasch to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the Church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him: and a light shined in the room: and he striking Peter on the side raised him up, saying: Arise quickly. And the chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said to him: Gird thyself, and put on thy sandals. And he did so. And he said to him: Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And going out he followed him, and he knew not that it was true which was done by the angel: but thought he saw a vision. And passing through the first and the second ward, they came to the iron gate that leadeth to the city, which of itself opened to them. And going out, they passed on through one street: and immediately the angel departed from him. And Peter coming to himself, said: Now I know in very deed that the Lord hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
GOSPEL. Matt. xvi. 13-19.
At that time Jesus came into the quarters of Caesarea Philippi: and He asked His disciples, saying: Who do men say that the Son of man is? But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. Jesus saith to them: But who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but My Father Who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
Why did Christ ask His disciples, Who do men say that the Son of man is? To give them an opportunity to confess their belief in Him as the true Son of God, and upon that open confession to ground a promise of the highest importance.
Why does Christ call Himself the Son of man? In order that, His Godhead being veiled under the form of man, He might thus test the faith of His disciples, and teach us that He was both true God and true man.
What did Peter mean to say by those words, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God?” He thereby confesses that Christ is the Son of God, begotten from all eternity, and therefore of the same substance with the Father; that by Him all things were made, and that from Him comes our life in soul and body.
What reward did Peter receive for his confession? Christ pronounced him blessed that God had given him such grace, conveyed to him the highest authority in His Church, and gave him the pre-eminence above all the apostles.
What is the meaning of the expression “to bind and to Loose”? According to Isaias, it signifies to open and to shut heaven, and here consequently denotes the power, as representative of Jesus Christ, to receive persons into the Church, and to excommunicate them from it; to forgive sins, or to retain them; to impose or to remit punishments for them; to establish laws and prohibitions, to abolish them, to change them, and, in general, to govern and direct in everything, as shall be necessary for the preservation of unity and order in the Church, and for the good of the faithful.
Was the power to bind and to loose given to Peter only? No, but to the rest of the apostles also; the power of the keys, however, Jesus gave only to Peter. Peter, therefore, and his successors, possess this supreme power, while the other apostles and their successors, the bishops, possess the authority entrusted to them by Christ, to be exercised by them in unity with the rock, that is, with Peter and his successors.
Of the Pope
What is the Pope to the Catholic? The representative of Jesus Christ, and the visible head, appointed by Him, for the government of His Church.
Did Christ actually appoint such a supreme head? Yes, and that in the person of St. Peter. He gave him the significant name Peter the rock, distinguished him always above the other apostles, and laid upon him the charge to feed His lambs, that is, the faithful, and His sheep, that is, the bishops themselves; and this power Peter uniformly exercised.
Why did Christ appoint a visible head for the Church? Because the Church is an outward, visible society, united together not only by inward faith in Christ, but also by outward, visible signs. Such a visible head is as necessary for the Church as for a body, a family, a society, a state, to prevent disunion, confusion, and the consequent destruction of the whole; this supreme head is the center of the whole, the final judge, the authoritative teacher.
Who is now this supreme head? The Bishop of Rome, or the Pope. It is undeniable that Peter occupied the bishop’s see at Rome, and that he died there. Equally indisputable is it that the successor of St. Peter entered upon possession of his rights, and, together with the episcopal see of Rome, inherited also the office possessed by him. From the first centuries this has ever been acknowledged by the faithful, who have accordingly called the Bishop of Rome Pope that is, the father of the faithful. And how clearly does history show that Peter and his successors are the rock upon which the Lord has immovably founded His Church! What storms have not broken upon the Church!
Persecutions from without and within, heresies and schisms without number, and infidelity in its most hideous form, have raged against the Church, and what has been the consequence? Nations have often fallen away from the Church, single bishops have proved betrayers of their flocks, the sees of the apostles themselves have been subject to the vicissitudes of time. And amid all these storms Rome alone has, for over eighteen hundred years, stood firm. She has come out of every contest victorious, has remained the center of faith and discipline, and has preserved the unbroken succession of bishops from Peter. Who does not see herein the assistance of Him Who forever fulfills that promise of His, “Upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” The Pope is, therefore, the visible supreme head of the Church, appointed by Christ for all time; the invisible, all-governing head is Christ Himself.
Things to do
· Take a pilgrimage to Rome to visit the burial places of St. Peter and Paul.
· Go fishing in honor of St. Peter. He was a fisherman before he became Jesus' disciple, and is the patron saint of fisherman and net makers.
· Go camping in honor of St. Paul. Before his conversion to Christianity, Paul was a tent maker. He is the patron saint of tent makers as well as writers. In addition to being an accomplished preacher, Paul wrote epistles that are included in the Bible's New Testament.
· Attend Mass and learn how both Peter and Paul, two men with very different visions, formed the early church and how Christianity rapidly spread.
Insalata Di Tarocci
- 4 blood oranges or other small, sweet oranges
- 1 small red onion, cut into very thin slices*
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. freshly chopped Italian parsley; stems discarded
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Combine a dozen or so men with large sackes draped over their shoulders; ox-drawn carts bearing the image of San Paolo (himself holding a snake and a book in one hand, a sword pointing to the heavens in the other); squads of flagbearers and swordsmen; a cotillion of old men with black berets playing an indescribable array of instruments (many homemade); a piazza packed with local residents dressed in Sunday finery; and long tables filled with all manner of food and beverage, and you have a beginner's idea of what to expect if you find yourself in Aragona in southern Sicily on June 29, the feast of St. Paul. (If you decide to visit the church however, you no longer have to fear the ritual called La benedizione deglie serpe, whereby residents presented snakes to the priest for benediction. The ritual was done away with a few years ago. If you do venture to Aragona for this festival, the blood orange and red onion salad presented here is one of the many foods you're likely to sample. Although any type of orange can be substituted to following is made with tarocci or blood oranges, which are one of Sicily's most famous products. Exceptionally high in vitamin C, strongly fragrant, and with brilliant red peel and pulp, the tarocci is widely used in salads, frozen ice cream desserts, and sorbets.
Italians have become very fond of cipolle de tropea a type of sweet red onion that comes from Calabria and is not yet available in the US. To achieve the same sweetness, soak the sliced red onion in water for thirty minutes before using.
1. Peel the oranges and remove the pith. Cut horizontally into thin slices. Put in a bowl and set aside.
2. Separate the onion slices into individual layers and put in the bowl with the oranges. Add the oil and half the parsley to the bowl, season with salt and pepper, and toss until all ingredients are well coated.
3. Arrange the orange and onion slices in a circular pattern on a round platter. Drizzle with the oil left in the bowl, sprinkle with the remaining parsley, and serve.
Make Ahead: The oranges can be tossed with the marinade earlier in the day.
How to Serve: On its own as a midsummer appetizer, followed by a light pasta, or as a salad course accompanying an especially piquant entree.
Waffle Iron Day is the perfect time to celebrate this delicious breakfast staple!
Waffle Irons were first found in that area of Northwestern Europe known as the Low Countries, which includes Belgium and the Netherlands as well as other places. Originally, they were made to be used over an open flame, and were thus constructed on the end of two long, typically wooden, handles with a clamshell system at one end, which would be held over a fire to bake.
The origin of the waffle iron can be traced back to the middle ages, where they were developed from a device known as the ‘wafer iron’. These were commonly used in the creation of the communion wafer, but larger varieties existed, consisting of nothing more than two flat irons often engraved with elaborate scenes. For the communion wafer, it was depictions of the crucifixion of Christ. While the larger secular designs varied widely, often engraved with artistic floral designs, illumination, or just about any other form of design you could imagine.
· The Belgians celebrate the feast of St. Michael by eating waffles; perhaps we could start celebrating Mondays with waffles in honor of the angels; remembering we too like Michael must be as strong as iron against the enemy and we must not waffle. Sorry I couldn’t resist.
Tuesday: Litany of St. Michael the Archangel