Sunday, April 15, 2012

ST. MARY THE VIRGIN, THE WEDDING AT CANA & MARINATED LAMB CHOPS

Marten de Vos, 1597, Cathedral of Our Lady (Antwerp)


(This is a revision of my first Saints and Recipes post from April 2012. I've updated the introduction, format, and recipe selection. The Gospel passage for January 7, 2015, is The Wedding at Cana from John.)

St. Mary the Virgin: Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ is honored in all the Christian religions, most of which celebrate more than one feast day in her honor such as August 15 and The Annunciation. Also celebrated are events in her life such as The Boy Jesus in the Temple and the Wedding at Cana:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rite of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.”

And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.”

So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days.
John 2:1-12

This passage is significant as it shows Jesus’ first miracle. Some people also like the story because it’s about a joyous wedding, while others find it appealing simply because it’s about wine. I like the part of the story that is about Mary doing what mothers do.

Mary is a nurturer. First of all, she is aware of the goings on around her at the wedding. When she notices that the servants ran out of wine, she wants to take care of the wedding guests and protect the reputation of the wedding hosts. She knows that Jesus is God incarnate, but he is also her son and sons need prodding to do what they are fully capable but sometimes hesitant to do – like take out the garbage, clear the supper table, turn water into wine -- every day domestic chores (for Jesus anyway). But also, sons and daughters need parental prodding to do things out in the world -- a challenging sport, public appearance, academic class, a mission service – things that make them feel good for having attempted. Good things tend to happen when children take up these challenges.

Jesus’ action “revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” Yet, Mary doesn’t take any credit for prodding him along even when he felt he wasn’t ready. She just sits back and watches her Son shine.

Mary is the ultimate nurturer. Many believe that as the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, she is more than a saint. I consider Mary to be one of the top most saints in Heaven and if for some reason you’d like someone to intercede or talk to God for you, you can’t choose better than His mother.

Remember that when we pray to Mary or any other saint, we are not worshiping them, but asking them to intercede with God for us or pray for us as shown in The Hail Mary:

Hail Mary, 
Full of Grace, 
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, 
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, 
Mother of God, 
pray for us sinners now, 
and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Some believe a person becomes a saint when they perform miracles on earth from Heaven after death. Others focus more on lives led and good works performed by those who are called saints by their church.

Usually I focus more on the saints’ lives as I see them as spiritual heroes and I find inspiration in their strong faith and good works. But as a woman, mother, and one in a long line of her namesakes, I feel a continuing connection to The Blessed Virgin Mary. One recent night, I prayed The Hail Mary repeatedly until I fell asleep and when I awoke in the morning, the idea for this blog presented itself.

You don’t have to be a mother to love The Blessed Virgin Mary, nor do you have to be a mother to be a nurturer. If you take care of anyone or anything, you’re a nurturer. You’re also a nurturer if you cook and share your food with others.

Sources:

HOLY BIBLE: NEW REVISED STANDARD EDITION

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My understanding of the Blessed Virgin Mary has evolved along with my research over the last few years, but not so much that I want to edit my musings here. However, the recipe must be changed to a lamb dish as it was a common meal served at celebrations and other feast days during biblical times.

I’ve never cooked lamb because when my mother was five years old, she had a pet lamb . . . . TMI . . . . . and they didn’t tell her until after dinner -- an epic parenting fail.

So I’ve been avoiding lamb, preferring instead older, more experienced meats such as in a “Mutton, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich when the mutton is nice and lean and the tomatoes ripe. They’re so perky. I love that.” – Miracle Max

But it’s enough already, if I’m going to blog about biblical saints and related recipes, I need to cook lamb. So here’s a recipe I translated from the one I received from my nephew Andrew whose native language is Gourmet which includes such measurements as “several large glugs.”

The dish was actually quite delicious, and I should have made more, especially for my son who loved it.

Marinated Lamb Chops



Ingredients

Lamb loin chops (Two or three per person.)
1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, per chop
½ garlic clove, crushed, per chop
1 Teaspoon of lemon juice, per chop
1 Tablespoon or so of chopped fresh or dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Marinate

1. Season chops with salt and pepper.
2. In a bowl combine olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and rosemary.
3. Place chops in a large plastic bag, add marinade, and seal.
4. Place bag in refrigerator overnight or for at least eight hours.

Cook

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
6. Pour a little marinade to heat in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Sear chops for about three minutes on each side.
7. Transfer to oven-safe dish and place in oven for 7 to 10 minutes until internal temperature is 145 degrees when tested with a meat thermometer, or until desired level of doneness. (The less pink, the better, according to me.)
8. Let chops rest for 5 minutes before serving with roasted potatoes, salad, and steamed vegetables.

Enjoy!

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