Saturday, November 22, 2008

Of Many Things

I was on the phone with a friend of mine who was lamenting that she had to prepare dinner for twelve people on Thursday. I have spent today preparing the menu, writing the shopping list, and setting a cooking schedule for a dinner for 44 people. In case you're interested in what a Ciszek Hall Thanksgiving Feast looks like:

  • Sugar Coated Pecans
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Cheese & Fruit Tray
  • Green Bean Casserole (could we actually skip this dish?)
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Stuffing
  • Marsala Glazed Carrots with Hazelnuts
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Two deep-fried turkeys (each 12-pound) and one 16-pound salted turkey
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Apple Pie
  • Layered Chocolate Dessert
So there's dinner.

I also have really cool wine to offer our guests. Over the summer, I found and purchased a rather delicious Cranberry Riesling that has acted as the inspiration behind the dishes being served. I'll probably offer cru beaujolais as I've heard only good things of it this year. 

I've been doing this work sequestered in a small television room where I am sitting now, watching "The Lion in Winter" and scouring various food magazines and websites for tips on food preparation. All in all, not a bad Saturday!

I think the holiday season is simultaneously the happiest and saddest time to be a Jesuit or religious. For on the one hand, it's a season of great hospitality and many gatherings of friends. Each weekend from now until January 1st I have some major event to attend. But at the same time, it's hard to go shopping and to realize that I don't have anyone special to shop for (except for my Secret Santa). When I walk through shops, I wonder what it'd be like to have my own kids and, generally, content myself with trying to figure out what to buy for my niece Emma. 

During the Christmas season, I realize most acutely the consequence of loving as a Companion of Jesus: in desiring to love the many, I have closed off ever loving any particular one if that one is any other than Jesus Christ. I do not mean this in a melancholy manner, only to say that the occasional prick of sadness still acts to re-affirm how I have answered my call to love others more deeply and freely as a Jesuit. 


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