Author: Mojav3 Development Group

Religious Studies

Anonymous Influence

Each Sunday, approximately 30 minutes before mass, a small group of women enter the parish, quietly kneel before the altar, and begin prayer. After a few moments of quiet contemplation and personal prayer, they subsequently pray the rosary on behalf of the larger community. Then, like clockwork, they finish only minutes before the rush of parishioners, unaware of any intercessory efforts, who quickly take their seats just before the procession of the celebrant. The beauty of these women’s actions is the conveyance of leadership by private action and the desire to interact with God presently. What if, though, these women were to stop their routine? What would happen if they stopped praying?

The life story of Margaret of Cortona involves a drastic change in circumstances in which she was forced into poverty. Immediately following her transition in social status, Margaret moved with her son to Cortona. In Cortona, Margaret interacted with devout noblewomen who offered a helping hand. In the book Women of the Streets: Early Franciscan Women and their Mendicant Vocation, author Darleen Pryds suggests these noblewomen likely extended housing, food, clothing, and much-needed emotional and spiritual support.   

Margaret’s later life appears to mirror the anonymous noblewomen’s selfless service, following a path that involved healthcare, helping the poor, extraordinary sacramental ministry, and as a spiritual director to friars. In her book, Women of the Streets, Pryds clearly describes Margaret’s leadership: “she offered what others needed,” and her actions were “not public per se but certainly not private.” Yet, ironically it wasn’t until Margaret lived a life of poverty, or a life without grasping, that she was able to offer what was needed to others.   

Offering what is needed implies a kind of flexibility on behalf of the giver. When spontaneous needs arise, adaptation is required to meet those needs. Margaret expresses her ability to adapt through her actions and ministry, which encompassed both the active and solitary. Margaret expressed her ultimate motivation as sourced in a love of God by saying, “I would still love God the Almighty even if I were to spend all my life in a great desert.”  

Pope Francis’s speeches routinely echo the words of Paul the Apostle when he says, “we are all called to become saints.” While it is only conjecture, Margaret may have led a different life should she have never met the anonymous noblewomen who provided her with what she needed. These unknown women, although not canonized themselves, probably influenced the life trajectory of Margaret from someone disenfranchised to one seeking God and ultimately attaining sainthood.   

For Margaret, poverty was a privilege that allowed her to lead those around her. If God is perpetually calling us to become saints, we should respond similarly to the way Eli told Samuel, “if he calls you, that you shall say, Speak, LORD; for your servant hears.” This call, though, may be different from what we expect. The Franciscan charism of poverty, charity, and contemplation might differ from the typical flamboyant public leadership we are used to reading about and seeing. We may instead be asked to conduct silent meditative reflection and prayer weekly before the Sunday mass, which could influence and make all the difference in someone else’s life trajectory. 

Religious Studies

A Franciscan Open Letter: Adoration

How Saint Clare’s approach to prayer can guide and inspire us during Adoration 

If you haven’t done Eucharistic adoration, you should.  It seems self-evident that you can’t love those who you don’t know, and loving someone makes us desire to know them more.  Nothing is more quintessentially Clare than the aspirational vision to be in a loving relationship with Jesus, and following in his footsteps.  How though, do we practice Eucharistic adoration?  What do we do at adoration?  Clare’s prayer formula can provide an inspirational roadmap: Gaze, Consider, Contemplate, Imitate.[1]

Gaze

Begin adoration by looking at God.  In Genesis, “in the beginning,”[2] after God created light, God saw that the light was good.  Subsequently when “God created humankind”[3] God saw it was very good.  God began his relationship with us by gazing and observing.  It is only appropriate we reciprocate by “gazing upon that mirror each day.”[4]

Consider

Consider your relationship to God.  What happens when you sit before him?  The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2628) states, “adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that is a creature before his Creator.”[5]  Clare takes this idea further by pointing out “the soul of a faithful person, the most worthy of all creatures, because of the grace of God, is greater than heaven itself, since the heavens and the rest of creation cannot contain their Creator; only  a faithful soul is His dwelling place and throne, and this only through the charity that the wicked lack.”[6] 

Contemplate

Contemplate the relationship of charity, poverty, and grace, all of which are central to Clare’s philosophy.  Clare states clearly, “Finally contemplate, in the depth of this same mirror, the ineffable charity that He chose to suffer on the tree of the Cross and to die there in the most shameful kind of death.”[7]  Although modernity has come to interpret Charity with donating unwanted goods, the example of Charity for Clare was God’s ineffable love for humanity which caused him to voluntarily sacrifice himself for our salvation.

Imitate

Imitatio Christi – Imitate Christ.  In Clare’s first letter to Agnes of Prague, Clare beautifully presents poverty as one way we can imitate Christ.  “O blessed poverty, who bestows eternal riches,” “O holy poverty, God promises the kingdom of heaven,” “O God-centered poverty whom the Lord Jesus Christ Who ruled and still rules heaven and earth, Who spoke and things were made, came down to embrace before all else!”[8]  Clare continues this comparison in her second letter, “If you suffer with Him, you will reign with Him.”[9]

To new Catholics, and even to those veterans who are unfamiliar with the practice, Eucharistic adoration, at first glance, may seem complicated, confusing, or even dull; however, nothing could be further from the truth.  “The Liturgy of the Hours, which is like an extension of the Eucharistic celebration, does not exclude but rather, in a complementary way, calls forth the various devotions of the People of God, especially adoration and worship of the Blessed Sacrament.”[10]  Clare’s prayer formula can serve as inspiration to diverge from corporate ecclesial devotion to personal relationship building with our God.  Clare argues that only through the imitation of Christ to we receive the necessary grace and charity required to “reign with Him.”  Imitation, though, requires that we first gaze upon God, consider our relationship with him, and contemplate “in the depth of this same mirror” as well as “throughout the entire mirror […] suspended on the wood of the Cross.”[11] So the next time you wonder what to do during adoration, take a seat in front of God and begin by opening your eyes. 


[1] Clare and Regis J. Armstrong, The Lady: Clare of Assisi: Early Documents Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2006, 49.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version Nashville, TN: Catholic Bible Press, 2020, 1.

[3] Ibid., 2.

[4] Clare and Regis J. Armstrong, The Lady: Clare of Assisi: Early Documents Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2006, 55.

[5] Catechism of the Catholic Church: With Modifications from the Editio Typica New York: Doubleday, 2003, 693.

[6] Clare and Regis J. Armstrong, The Lady: Clare of Assisi: Early Documents Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2006, 53.

[7] Ibid., 57.

[8] Ibid., 45.

[9] Ibid., 49.

[10] Catechism of the Catholic Church: With Modifications from the Editio Typica New York: Doubleday, 2003, 334.

[11] Clare and Regis J. Armstrong, The Lady: Clare of Assisi: Early Documents Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2006, 56.

Religious Studies

A Canticle

Blessed are you Lord our God, King of the Universe, maker of the works of creation
ברוך אתה ה’ אלהינו מלך העולם עושה מעשה בראשית
As it is written: In the beginning was the Word In the beginning God created
The Word that created spoke to those who listened
In a still small voice
All creatures were created by him, and for him, the same source
A living Word and message sent
Yet time passed the voice ignored
Sisters and brothers once family, now estranged
Ones and zeroes, zeroes and ones,
Façade after façade hastily browsed by finger and screen
Interlinked, interlinked, all are interlinked,
Before to the last Adam, the digital iCloud now
Science!™ is now the source to explain
Spread the word! Close the churches! Slow the spread! (of the Gospel that is)
God can’t save you, he is dead
The Divine creature with voluntary humility and poverty saved all
Yet, if any man thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet
“Nothing yet,” but perhaps eventually
Through the Mystery of Faith, A Eucharistic Acclamation science can’t explain
A mystery that created Theotokos, blessed “Virgin Mother, daughter of thy son ”
In the fire,
In the wind,
In the earthquake,
The Word speaking through Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and Mother Earth
Dominion a delegated responsibility
A responsibility not to be ignored without consequence
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth ,
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, who has sustained us, and who has brought us to this day
רוך אתה יהוה, אלֹהינו מלך העולם, שהחיינו וקימנו והגיענו למן הזה
All glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever
Omnis honor et gloria per omnia saecula saeculorum
Amen.

Religious Studies

Poverty and Saint Francis

It wasn’t until a few chapters into reading “Poverty and Joy” that I realized St. Francis’s definition of poverty was likely different than the colloquial definition.  Webster’s Dictionary defines poverty as either a “lack of socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions” or “renunciation as a member of a religious order to the right as an individual to own property.” While the life of Saint Francis encapsulates this, William Short’s interpretation of St. Francis’s life defines poverty as “living without grasping.” This definition was further expanded later in Short’s argument that “to understand poverty primarily as a matter of having fewer of these, or less of that, counting and measuring with the eye of a spiritual accountant, makes a caricature out of Francis’ vision.” Lastly, Leonardo Boff saw Francis’ life as one “not only ‘with’ the poor or ‘for’ them” but “as the poor.”

Given the above, it seems likely the second definition provided in Webster’s Dictionary wouldn’t exist without either Saint Francis or Saint Clare the latter of which went so far as to petition the Pope for the right to renounce property; however, the definition does not fully describe the motivation for voluntary poverty in that scenario.  For me, the best explanation of motive was described by Dr. William Cook in his series “Francis of Assisi” when he said Saint Francis’ actions could best be viewed under the lens of a person in love.

Before reading the material for this week, I always associated poverty with Gospel teachings like that of Matthew 19:21, in which Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me” or Luke 6:20 “‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Bonaventure accurately describes the example of Saint Francis as “an example of perfect contemplation.” Jesus explained how to be perfect, and Bonaventure described Saint Francis as such.  After this week’s readings, I more fully understand poverty as a mirror of the life of God and Jesus Christ, particularly his incarnation.  

The life of Jesus Christ is a story that involves the voluntary relinquishment of divinity.  Short summarizes this, “In Jesus God gives up all ‘property’, even divine status, relying on alms and the care of others: in his birth among the poor, his life and travel among people considered of no account, in his suffering and dying, naked and shunned, even by close friends and relatives.” For Saint Francis, a person who taught “by word and example” and as a person who “had become prayer” the only way to follow, get to know, and love Jesus was to choose to be as much like him as possible voluntarily.  

 A point made early in Short’s book is that tradition implies the life of several people “otherwise we would have only the spirituality of an individual.” Considering this, I appreciated commentary on Franciscan life from individuals like Ubertino da Casale who said poverty is a “defense against distraction, idleness, greed, and worldliness.” The effectiveness of this voluntary choice was echoed by Pope Francis’s wish that the church would be “poor and for the poor.”  

I wanted to share the full fresco “Allegory of Poverty” by Giotto Di Bondone.  I had to look it up given the lecture showed only a section of it.  I found the children antagonizing lady poverty and the guest reactions on the left and right very telling of the spectrum of acceptance Saint Francis must have felt (possible rejection or confusion on the lower right vs mirroring on the lower left).  

Poverty in the sense of “living without grasping” influenced spiritual practice for Saint Francis and Saint Clare.   To begin with, their motivation was not “for philosophical reasons nor for practical ones,” but instead, they embraced poverty “because it was embraced by their Beloved,” who was Jesus Christ.  Saint Clare viewed poverty as a “privilege,” and her life was to be a “mirror.”  A pivotal point to Franciscan poverty is in its voluntariness.  For Saint Francis, Jesus voluntarily chose to become incarnate as man, or “a creature,” and not just any man but a poor one whose life was dedicated to service.  This choice continued to manifest itself in the eucharist, where Jesus is present in the simple form of bread.  For Saint Francis, a life of poverty allowed for a change in perspective of the poor in health and creation.

The perspective changed from someone living on a different plane to equality.  This is most evident in the “Canticle of the Creatures,” where Saint Francis refers to “Brother Wind” and “Sister Moon” and blesses those who “bear infirmity and tribulation.”  The reference to non-human creation as “brothers and sisters” was sourced in the idea that because all creatures come from God, and all things were made “through him, for him, and in him,” they were essentially peers to himself.  This viewpoint could not have been made by someone “grasping” for something.  The change in viewpoint was expressed in the migration of Saint Francis’ description of lepers from distasteful to sweetness. 

The viewpoint that all creatures were brothers and sisters to Saint Francis may seem extreme; however, this viewpoint is explained with the understanding that the creatures were created through Christ, for Christ, and were “messages from Francis’ lover,” the practice in spirituality becomes clearer.  That these creatures were additionally commanded to “be fruitful and multiply” carried additional weight for Saint Francis, as evidenced by the story of his saving doves and befriending wolves in “The Deeds of Blessed Francis and His Companions.” 

Voluntary poverty requires self-discipline.  Unlike those who for any reason, are forced into poverty, the freedom to choose poverty indicates the ability to revert to a life of grasping or the ability to revert to a life of wealth.  Voluntary poverty in Franciscan spirituality is a life modeled after the voluntary poverty of Jesus Christ and seeing the created world through a modified viewpoint.  If creation, including inanimate objects like rocks and planets, are messages from God and created for God with a delegated mandate at creation, they would have to be viewed as family.  Moreso, individuals created with souls but living in an involuntary position of disadvantage would automatically become sweet to someone loving them as they were intended – images of God.  When considering the idea that “The humanity of Jesus, even more emphatically the body of Jesus, is the point of God’s creating everything,” living with grasping is futile and the opposite of what would be considered productive in forming a relationship with God.  Only through the relinquishment of wealth in every sense is it possible to obtain the viewpoint that every person, creature, and the created thing is indeed a brother and sister worthy of the care demanded by God.  

Reference:

Short, William J. Poverty and Joy: The Franciscan Tradition. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1999.

BeefHome Chef

Borscht

For Beef stock will need: some bones: I am using beef bone marrow bones, some gelatin meat: I am using ox tails, and some lean meat: I am using top sirloin.

To make your beef stock flavorful you will need:

1 onion

1 carrot,

1 parsnip

1 celery stalk

some parsley and

dry spices like: bay leaves, coriander seeds and black peppercorns.

Also, some salt and pepper to taste and one dry chilly pepper.

For Borscht you will need:

3 medium size beets( with beet greens)

4 medium size potatoes

2 medium size carrots

1 parsnip

2 cloves of garlic

1 head of green cabbage

celery greens

1 bunch of parsley

1 bunch of dill

2 tbsp white vinegar

To serve you will need:

2 cloves of garlic

fresh dill

sour cream

Method: In a large stock pot add all your meat and vegetables for the stock( you don’t need to peel them, since they are going to be discarded after the stock is done). Add spices. Add cold water to cover stock size ¾ of a way. Set to boil. Right before boiling process have started collect and discard the foam that appeared on the top. Leave to simmer for about an hour.

Peel beats. After one hour simmering time, take out bone marrow bones and you can enjoy them with just a sprinkle of salt or spread it on toast. Add beets to simmering stock and cook until beets are fork tender.(about 30-35 minutes). Take out the meat and beets, set aside to cool. Strain beef stock and return to pot. Set on slow simmer. Add grated carrots and grated parsnip, cook for 10 minutes. Add chopped beet greens and chopped beet stalks. Add cubed potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add chopped cabbage and cubed meat. Cook until cabbage is just al dente. Grate beets, add chopped garlic and vinegar. Add to soup along with fresh herbs, Turn off the heat and close the lid. Let sit for 10 minutes. Enjoy Borscht with chopped garlic, fresh dill and sour cream. Serve it with Russian black bread.

Religious Studies

Litany of the Most Precious Blood

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
God our Father in heaven
God the Son, Redeemer of the world
God the Holy Spirit
Holy Trinity, one God
Blood of Christ, only Son of the Father
Blood of Christ, incarnate Word
Blood of Christ, of the new and eternal covenant
Blood of Christ, that spilled to the ground
Blood of Christ, that flowed at the scourging
Blood of Christ, dripping from the thorns
Blood of Christ, shed on the cross
Blood of Christ, the price of our redemption
Blood of Christ, our only claim to pardon
Blood of Christ, our blessing cup
Blood of Christ, in which we are washed
Blood of Christ, torrent of mercy
Blood of Christ, that overcomes evil
Blood of Christ, strength of the martyrs
Blood of Christ, endurance of the saints
Blood of Christ, that makes the barren fruitful
Blood of Christ, protection of the threatened
Blood of Christ, comfort of the weary
Blood of Christ, solace of the mourner
Blood of Christ, hope of the repentant
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying
Blood of Christ, our peace and refreshment
Blood of Christ, our pledge of life
Blood of Christ, by which we pass to glory
Blood of Christ, most worthy of honor
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world
Lord, you redeemed us by your blood.

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy
have mercy on us
have mercy on us
have mercy on us
have mercy on us
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
be our salvation
have mercy on us
have mercy on us
have mercy on us
You have made us a kingdom to serve our God.

Let us pray.

O God, who by the Precious Blood of your Only Begotten Son
have redeemed the whole world,
preserve in us the work of your mercy,
so that, ever honoring the mystery of our salvation,
we may merit to obtain its fruits.
Through Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.

BeefHome Chef

Steak Alfredo with Red Wine Reduction Sauce and Vanilla Crème Brûlée

Alfredo Sauce

½ Cup Butter
1 ½ Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Teaspoons Garlic Minced
½ Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
½ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Pepper
2 Cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese: For optimal results, use real Parmigiano-Reggiano right off the block. Avoid those shaker-style containers or tubs filled with pre-shredded cheese. They don’t melt properly, making your sauce grainy. And they simply don’t taste nearly as good as fresh.

Butter: Either unsalted or salted work great. If using salted butter, I recommended omitting the additional salt until you’ve tasted the sauce and then add extra, if necessary.

Heavy Cream: We use heavy whipping cream for the ultimate indulgence. This will give you the creamiest, richest results. Go big or go home, right? You certainly can use regular heavy cream, though, and it will still be wonderful! (See note below for lower-calorie options.)

Garlic: We use a mix of garlic powder and fresh garlic, which we think is perfect. If you want a more subtle garlic flavor, you could cut back on one or the other.

Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and dried Italian seasoning. This trio of spices really takes the sauce up a level. Parmesan cheese is already salty, so we’re only adding in a touch more.

  1. Add the butter and cream to a large nonstick sauté pan, over medium-low heat; whisk until butter has melted.
  2. Add in the minced garlic, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper; whisk until combined and smooth.
  3. Bring to a gentle simmer (do not boil) and cook for 3-4 minutes, whisking constantly, until it starts to thicken.
  4. Stir in the parmesan cheese just until melted and the sauce is smooth.
  5. Take off the heat and use right away or store it for later.
  6. (If the sauce isn’t quite thick enough, allow it to stand for 2-3 minutes before tossing with pasta.)

Gordon Ramsay Steak

  •  Ribeye (or really any cut of steak)
  •  Large grain sea salt
  •  Ground pepper
  •  1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  •  Fresh garlic slight crushed
  •  Fresh thyme
  •  2 Tbsp butter
  1. Remove steaks from fridge and let sit room temperature for 20 minutes
  2. Put a pan over medium-high heat on the stovetop 
  3. Season thawed steaks generously with salt and pepper and rub the bottom of the steaks into excess salt and pepper on table
  4. When pan begins to show any signs of smoke, place olive oil in pan and make sure pan is coated and well covered
  5. Lay steaks away from you and flip every minute including rendering the fatback side
  6. Add the crushed garlic, fresh thyme, and another Tbsp of olive oil in the pan around the cooking steaks
  7. Add the butter and baste the steaks while continually flipping steaks on the minute
  8. Remove the steaks when they reach your desired tenderness (cheek = rare, chin = medium, forehead = well done) and let rest for 5-10 minutes. 

Red Wine Reduction

  • drippings from steak 
  • minced garlic or garlic paste
  • minced shallots or red onions
  • red wine of your choice, or equal amounts beef stock if not using wine
  • balsamic vinegar
  • fresh thyme 
  • beef stock
  • parsley leaves
  • butter
  1. Reserve 1 Tablespoon steak drippings from your cooked steak in the pan over medium heat. If you haven’t cooked a steak, melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a cast-iron skillet. Then, add garlic and shallots and sauté, stirring until tender, about 1 minute.
  2. Add red wine, beef stock, balsamic vinegar, and fresh thyme sprigs. Bring liquid to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat.
  3. Allow the wine mixture to reduce until thickened, approximately 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the thyme from the sauce and turn the heat to low. Whisk in 2 Tablespoons butter and let the sauce simmer. 
  5. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve, and enjoy!

Crème Brûlée

  • 2 cups heavy or light cream, or half-and-half
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar, more for topping
  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, combine cream, vanilla bean and salt and cook over low heat just until hot. Let sit for a few minutes, then discard vanilla bean. (If using vanilla extract, add it now.)
  2. In a bowl, beat yolks and sugar together until light. Stir about a quarter of the cream into this mixture, then pour sugar-egg mixture into cream and stir. Pour into four 6-ounce ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish; fill dish with boiling water halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until centers are barely set. Cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours and up to a couple of days.
  3. When ready to serve, top each custard with about a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Place ramekins in a broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat source. Turn on broiler. Cook until sugar melts and browns or even blackens a bit, about 5 minutes. Serve within two hours.
Python3

FreeCodeCamp: Probability Calculator (Solution)

Untitled
Python3

FreeCodeCamp: Polygon Area Calculator (Solution)

Polygon Area Calculator

================================= test session starts ==================================
platform linux — Python 3.9.6, pytest-6.1.2, py-1.10.0, pluggy-0.13.1
rootdir: /home/runner/FreeCodeCamp-Project-4-Polygon-Area-Calculator
collected 15 items

test_module.py …………… [100%]

================================== 15 passed in 0.53s ==================================

Python3

FreeCodeCamp: Time Calculator (Solution)

Time Calculator