Monday, February 25, 2013

Praying the Rosary with our Son

I just want to share something wonderful that happened yesterday in our family. 
 
We prayed the Rosary as a family yesterday with more involvement from our eldest son.  We usually pray the Rosary during our weekend trips.  My husband is the one who reminds me and takes the lead most of the time.  He did the same thing yesterday.  Yesterday's Rosary experience was extra special for us because it's the first time that we are praying together with Yanthy praying not just the Our Father or Lord's Prayer with us but the Hail Mary and the Glory be as well. When he was still much younger, he only listened.  As he got older, he got more involved.  First, he held the Rosary beads and pretended to be uttering the same prayers.  Next, he held the Rosary beads and led the Our Father or The Lord's Prayer.  He had to wait until the next decade for his turn to speak.  It's funny that he sometimes speaks ahead of his turn because he's so eager to participate.  Sometimes, he would keep on asking if it's already his turn.  Then, just before Lent, he learned the two other prayers which are part of the recitation of the Holy Rosary.

My four year old holding a Rosary.
 
 
Our youngest son in the meantime has been showing in his actions that he's also a prayerful baby.  He knows right away if we are going to pray.  He shos this by putting his hands together.  Sometimes, even when we are saying to him or to each other that it's time to pray, he senses it or maybe he has become familiar with the places where we usually pray -- like when we go to church or when we go to our prayer meetings.  He sometimes puts his hands together as soon as we enter these places as if getting ready for our worship activities.  Another thing I noticed with him is that as soon as the songs we sing during our prayer meetings or at Mass are sang/played, he raises his hands right away or hums and dances.  It's such a delight to watch him and his older brother worship the Lord in their own ways, singing and dancing their hearts out.
 
Thank God for the opportunity yesterday to pray the Rosary as a family.  We offered it as intercession for the launching of a new Feast in our community, Feast Ortigas Second Session, which we are supporting.  We were on our way to the launch in the taxi when we prayed the Rosary.
 
It was a truly wonderful experience and a milestone in our family and prayer life.  We're excited to teach the rest of the prayers to our eldest son in the future and teach the same prayers to our youngest when he gets a little older.
 
 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Recipes for Meatless Fridays: Spanish Sardines Pasta

It's Friday once more and the second Friday of Lent.  Have you decided what to cook today?  Here's what's cooking in our kitchen.
 
 
It's another quick, easy and budget-friendly recipe you can try.  This one is based on one of my favorite foods - Spanish sardines.  I like making sandwich spreads from Spanish sardines.  I also like having it as viand when I'm too lazy or tired to whip up anything in the kitchen.  Thus, it's no surprise that I love it with my pasta, too.
 
 
My birthday usually falls within the season of Lent or during Holy Week.  Thus, pastas with seafood are what we usually prepare to celebrate my special day.  You need not worry if your birthday or the birthday of one of your family members falls on a Friday this Lent.  This recipe is an example of a yummy pasta you can prepare to celebrate your special day and still abstain from meat.


Below is my recipe:

Spanish Sardines Pasta


Ingredients:

your choice of pasta pasta (cooked according to package instructions)
1 bottle of Spanish sardines or 2 (155g) cans of Spanish sardines (I like it hot and spicy.)
3 T of olive oil
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 small bottle of sun-dried tomatoes (I'll update this post next time when I'm sure of the exact size of the bottle I use.)
a dash of basil or fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese
chopped parsley and chili flakes (optional)

Procedure:

1. Drain the Spanish sardines of oil.
2. Saute the onions in olive oil until transparent.
3. Add the garlic and saute until golden brown.
4. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes.
5. Mix in the Spanish sardines and slightly flake as you saute it.
6. Add a dash of basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve hot on top of cooked pasta.
8. Top with grated cheese and chopped parsley.
9. You may sprinkle chili flakes if you want it extra hot and spicy.


There are times when I find it difficult to find sun-dried tomatoes in the grocery stores.  When this happens, I substitute it with big, ripe fresh tomatoes around 8-10 pieces and saute them in oilive oil


This much sauce is usually good for 400-500 grams of cooked pasta.  I use spaghetti most of the time.
 
 
Good luck and enjoy your lunch/dinner!
 

Beware of Envy

Envy...
 
Envy is what makes us pull our neighbor down so we could bring ourselves up.
 
Envy is what makes us go around spreading negative things about our neighbor to make ourselves look good.
 
Envy is what makes us resent our God-ordained role and task and makes us desire our neighbor's role and responsibilities.
 
Envy is what makes us frown at our neighbor's successes instead of rejoicing with our neighbor.
 
Envy is what makes us take our eyes off our God-chosen path...
 
Envy is what makes us blind to our own blessings, making us wish that we had the same blessings that our neighbor had.
 
Envy is what makes us destroy good relationships... hurt others and ultimately hurt and destroy ourselves.
 
Envy is what made Adam and Eve disobey God at the Garden of Eden.  Envy was the one that moved them to want to be like God.
 
Envy is what moved Cain to kill his brother Abel.
 
Envy is what made King Saul turn against his faithful servant David.
 
Envy is what made Sarai/Sarah treat her servant girl harshly.

Envy is what made Peninnah speak hurtful words to Elkanah's barren but beloved wife Hannah.
 
Envy is what made Miriam speak against her brother Moses.
 
Envy is what moved Joseph's brothers to plot against him.

Envy is what made Lucifer rebel against God and look at man with contempt.
 
Envy is what moved the Pharisees and Scribes to plot against Jesus... They were envious that Jesus spoke with conviction and authority.  They were envious that Jesus was drawing crowds.  They were envious that many people were being blessed by Jesus' works and presence.  They were envious that Jesus possessed much wisdom that they could not match. 

Photo source here.


Envy blinded them that they failed to recognize that Jesus is God's Anointed One, the Messiah.
 
Envy is defined by Merriam-Webster.com as "painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage."
 
Let us pray to God that He delivers us from envy... Let us guard our hearts and souls from it lest it destroys us and our relationships with others... Let us nip envy at the bud before we become instruments of the enemy in destroying the Church.
 
And if we had been victims of envious people, may we learn from Jesus how to deal with them.  May we follow His example and choose to be transition persons... persons who choose not to pass on the negative and hurtful actions of the very people who have hurt us by their envy.

This Lent, may we seek ways to build others up and help them succeed in what they do.  For in truth, we don't really need to pull others down for us to succeed or go up.  We don't need to seek to destroy other people's names just to make a good name for ourselves.  We don't need to envy our neighbors if they are being placed by God in roles that make them visible and noticed.  We don't need to envy how other people are being blessed by God.  For if God wants to promote and exalt us, He will without our help and intervention.  And we are already richly and abundantly blessed if we simply ponder on what we already have instead of counting what we don't have and our neighbors have. 

Let me end by quoting some verses in Holy Scriptures:

"Let's behave decently, as people who live in the light of day. No wild parties, drunkenness, sexual immorality, promiscuity, quarreling, or jealousy!" Romans 13:13

In another version, Romans 13:13 says, "And let us walk in a right manner as those in the daytime, not in partying, not in drunkenness, not in orgies, not in envy or in fighting."

"But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." James 3:14-16

 
Have you been bruised or hurt by envious people around you?  Feel free to share how you have dealt with them by leaving a comment below.  Or have you been tempted to envy others? What did you do to resist and overcome the temptation?


Update: I recently discovered Catholic Bloggers Network when I joined the Keep Love in Lent blog link up.  I also found out that they have Monthly Link Up Blitz this 2013.  So, I'm adding this post to the Catholic Bloggers Monthly Link Up Blitz for February 2013 under the Readings and Reflections category.
 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Expressing Breastmilk by Hand

This is just a quick post before I go to sleep.  :)
 
Today, I was blessed to have experienced for the first time expressing my breastmilk by hand.  I had been breastfeeding my second child for exactly fifteen (15) months today.  I have breastfed my eldest for two years before I got pregnant with my second child.  But I had been using a manual breast pump whenever the need arises in the past.
 
Today was different.
 
I felt my left breast becoming full with milk.  I offered it to my son shortly after he had his lunch.  But he refused.  He would usually breastfeed again after eating lunch.  I thought that maybe he was still full.  So I just let him play and wait a while.
 
But he kept on playing until he eventually became sleepy and fell asleep.  He didn't get to nurse.
 
I felt my left breast becoming fuller as my baby slept.  I felt lumps around my breast.  My left breast was becoming harder.  So I decided to massage my left breast.  And as I slowly worked around massaging it gently, I saw some milk coming out from my nipple.  I continued massaging my breast for a few more minutes and more milk flowed.  At one point, much milk actually squirted out of my nipple.  That's when I asked our maid to bring me a small cup that I could use because I have decided to express my milk by hand. 
 
My milk after my baby drank some of it. 
He had a a few sips before he finished it.
 
That's what I did for a number of minutes.  I massaged my left breast in the same way that my previous lactation consultant did when I had my lactation sessions then I expressed milk by hand in between. 
 
I was so happy that I was able to experience this.  Actually, one of the reasons that I chose to do it by hand is because it would take a while before our maid could bring out my breast pump from the box and the cabinet, wash it, sterilize it and then assemble it.  (I hardly use my breast pump because I'm home most of the time.  Also, my hands get tired easily while using it so I'd rather nurse directly.)  I felt that it was too much hassle.  I'm glad I tried doing it today.
 
I was relieved of the discomfort and I gained a new option next time the same thing happens.
 
I let my baby drink the breast milk I expressed during his snack after his nap.  He drank all of it from the same cup where I expressed it.  I was so happy!
 
That's my baby who turned 15 months today 
drinking my hand-expresed milk from a cup.

How about you?  Have you tried this before while breastfeeding your child?

Giving up and Making Space for Love this Lent

 
 
 "I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by
Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

*********

I was particularly struck by a line that the priest said in his homily last Friday.  He said, "We give up something, not out of obligation this Lent, but because we want to love God more and we want to love others more."  It's a very timely reminder for all of us on why we fast and abstain during the season of Lent.  Lent invites us to draw closer to God who is love Himself; so that as we draw closer to Him, we would be transformed and purified by His love.
 
I also liked one of his examples to illustrate how we, Filipinos, demostrate how easily we give up our comfort to accommodate our neighbors who are in need.  He cited the experience of riding the jeepney as an example.  He said that jeepney passengers practice giving up their comfort every day to make space for a fellow passenger; because a lot of times, jeepneys which can normally seat only seven people are made to accommodate eight or nine passengers.  And for this to happen, the rest of the passengers will have to give up a bit of the space they are sitting on to the new passenger.  He said that somehow, this makes the "impossible" possible because there were people who chose to give up their comfort for the sake of another. I found this a very amusing and beautiful analogy.
 
Then, I was inspired to look into my own experiences and I was led to ponder on my life and my transformation from a very busy single working lady to a busy mom of two active little boys.
 
I have given up a lot of things, including many that made me comfortable, since I became a mom.  I chose to give up all those things, not out of obligation or duty for my family, but mainly for love.  I wanted to give the best to my kids.  Thus, I decided to give up my work before and the many perks (including travelling often) that went with having a job outside the home especially with the kind of job I used to hold.  I have given up much of my sleep and personal time to make time for my kids.  I have adjusted my lifestyle to accommodate three of God's greatest blessings in my life -- my husband and my two sons.  I'm actually amazed at how God had enabled me through His grace to make space for two little kids in my life and for helping my heart grow bigger to love not just one but two kids.  Indeed, only God can move our hearts to love more... Because He first filled our hearts with His love.  With this love from His Sacred Heart, we are then able to love those whom God has placed in our path.

 
 
This Lent, I have decided to fast not just on specific foods (like chocolates) that I enjoy eating.  I have also decided to fast from some negative behaviors or responses to some of the things that challenge my resolve to be more loving like God.  You can read here to find out more about it.
 
I have planned a number of activities for our young family to help us become more prayerful and loving to each other and to the poor around us.  I pray that as we get busy striving to do all these things this Lent, we would not forget or lose sight of the main reason why we choose to do all these things.

How are you making space for Love this Lent? What are you giving up?  Feel free to share it with me by leaving a comment in this post.

Have a meaningful and love-filled Lent!
 
Here are the links to some of my previous posts about Lent or during the season of Lent.  I will be posting more in the coming days so I hope you'd drop by again next time. :) 
 
Reflections:
  
Activities:
  
Recipes:


Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.  Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow! 




Sunday, February 17, 2013

Learning New Prayers

"Yanthy, it's time for you to go to sleep," I told my eldest son as I reminded him that it's time for his nap.
 
"I will pray first, Mommy," he answered.
 
"Okay. Let me hear your prayer," I replied.
 
"Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here. Ever this day, be at my side, to light and guide, to rule and guard. Amen."
 
Yanthy has just recited a new prayer I did not teach him.  How did he learn that prayer? I wondered.
 
So I asked him.
 
"Who taught you that prayer?  Did Daddy teach that prayer to you?" I inquired.
 
"No. I read it in my book," he said.
 
"Which book?"
 
He answered by getting the book from the shelf and by showing me the page in the book with the prayer.
 
Wow!  I was impressed!  I first read that book to him last Christmas season during our Christmas countdown.  After that, I can only remember a few times that I have read it to him.  I don't know if he has been reading it on his own lately or in the past month.  But I'm really happy that he has learned on his own by simply reading his book. 
 
That prayer became one of his daily prayers since then.
 
I got another surprise one afternoon when my husband told me that our eldest son, Yanthy, has learned new prayers.  He was watching over our son that time.  And he taught Yanthy new prayers while they were together.  I shared in my previous post before that Yanthy has already memorized The Lord's Prayer.  (You may read here how we taught it to him.)  This time, my husband and my son surprised me when I heard Yanthy recite the Hail Mary and the Glory Be.   I was so happy and impressed that Yanthy did not only memorize one new prayer but two!  My husband excitedly told me this because he wanted our eldest to be more involved when we pray the Rosary as a family.  Before, Yanthy would just wait for the time to recite The Lord's Prayer. Now, he can join us as we recite the five decades of the Rosary.
 
To help him master the new prayers he has learned, we also asked Yanthy to recite these new prayers that he learned with The Lord's Prayer before bed at night.
 
Actually, Yanthy has already memorized even the morning prayers and the night prayers that I have asked him to read every morning after breakfast and at night before sleeping.  I just noticed him one morning this year not looking at the page where the prayer is printed.  Then at night, there were also times when he would no longer get the book of prayers but would simply proceed on reciting them.  It's funny and amusing that he memorized them ahead of me and my husband who also hear the same prayers read every day/night. These incidents affirms us that having a good memory and being a fast learner are really some of his strengths because he remembers right away things that he reads and learns new things fast.
 
I'm glad that these things happened just before Lent started this year.  It's like God has helped us prepare our son for this season where we are all called to pray more.  Glory and praise be to our God!
 
 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Recipes for Meatless Fridays: Paksiw na Bangus

As promised in my previous post on Recipes for Meatless Fridays, here is another meatless recipe that you can cook one Friday this Lent.  This dish was a regular in our household when my Lola Caring (Grandma Caridad) was still alive and very much active in our kitchen.  She loved cooking this tasty fish dish in a palayok and we loved eating it!  I have tried to recreate this dish by recalling how my grandmother would cook it before.  I've mentioned before in one of the recipes (Adobong Manok sa Suka) I shared here in my blog (which was also inspired by my grandmother's recipe) that my grandmother didn't use measuring cups or spoons and didn't write her recipes.  Her recipes were passed on to us as we watched her closely cook in the kitchen and as we enjoyed them. 
 
 
Paksiw na Bangus Recipe.
By Lola Caring (Grandma Caridad)
 
 
Ingredients:
 
1 Bangus (milkfish) cleaned and sliced into 4-5 pieces (sinigang cut)
1 head garlic, crushed
thumb-sized ginger, chopped thinly
1 cup white vinegar (there were times when she used tuba)
1/2 cup water
salt and peppercorns to taste
2-3 pieces finger peppers (siling haba)
1 medium sized ampalaya, halved lengthwise then cut into 3-4 smaller pieces
1-2 medium sized eggplant, halved lengthwise then cut into 3-4 smaller pieces
 
 
Cooking Procedure:
 
  1. Season cleaned and sliced milkfish or bangus with salt and let it sit for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Put crushed garlic, chopped ginger and the peppercorns in the palayok or pot together with the milkfish.
  3. Pour the vinegar and water over the fish.
  4. Simmer under medium heat until the fish is almost cooked.
  5. Add a bit of salt according to taste.
  6. Add the vegetables (finger peppers, eggplant and ampalaya) and let it simmer for a few more minutes until the fish and vegetables are done but not soggy. Make sure that you check often enough to prevent the vinegar and water mixture from evaporating completely.  This could burn your fish and give a bitter taste to your dish.
  7. Remove from heat and serve hot with steamed rice.
 
This is another easy dish that you can cook this Lent.  Bangus or milkfish is also very common in the Philippines making it available all year round.
 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine 2013 Activities


We started our Valentine activities this year around a week before Valentine's Day.  My eldest son and I had an advance Valentine's date.  We went to one of his favorite fast food restaurants and ordered his favorite food.  Then, he enjoyed some kiddie rides inside the mall. 
 
 
He also wrote love letters in the days that followed.  First, he wrote a love letter for his Dad then to my parents.
 




Yanthy's love letters to my parents which he gave yesterday to my mom
when she visited us and watched over the kids while I went on a date with my husband.


 After writing those letters, we finger-painted the envelopes for his love letters.
 
 
 
That same day, Yanthy and Mateo painted some hearts.
 
 
Today, Yanthy completed the art work Mateo painted with the Bible verse I asked him to trace. Last year, I asked him to trace John 3:16.  You may see our Valentine/Lent art work last year here.
 
Bible verse from Mark 12:30 and
Mateo's foot print made into a heart.

Yanthy also wrote love messages for his baby brother, Mateo, and our maid on the heart cut outs they made yesterday while I went out on a date with my husband.
 
Yanthy wrote "I do, too." at the back of his love note for his baby brother.

Yanthy also made a love letter for me but instead of writing it by hand, he decided to type it in my laptop and print it.  He said that he's already tired and it's faster that way.  Anyway, I'm still happy that he made one for me even though he's already tired.
 
 
 
We also had some bonding over books.  We read our book Won't You Be My Kissaroo? before they had their nap.  Later, I plan to read I'm a Big Brother and Love You Forever to them before they go to sleep.
 
Those were my Valentine activities with the kids.  Yesterday, my husband and I had our advance Valentine date by watching a romantic movie and having dinner.
 
My husband also surprised me today by sending me three red roses and a small bear stuffed toy.
 
This inspired me to write a Valentine post in my other blog, When My Bridegroom Comes, to share about one of the most memorable Valentine parties I attended.  You may read here to find out why.
 
I plan to have more Valentine and Lent related activties in the next days.  Some of them are inspired by a Valentine activities I saw at Christian Preschool website. 

Inspiration for Lent 2013

I've been praying to God days before Lent to tell me what I need to do to be more like Him this Lent.  True enough, when we open ourselves to God's leading and guidance, He will surely answer us.  His answer to me was loud and clear on the morning of Ash Wednesday.
 
God gave me His general instruction through the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Joel (Joel 2:13).
 
 
"For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment."
 
The first thing that came to my mind when I read this verse was how I deal with our eldest son.  I knew right away that God was asking me to be more gracious to him, to be slow to anger, to be extra patient, to show him extra kindness and love, and to relent in punishing him or being harsh to him.  I admit that sometimes in my anger and frustration, I have spoken harsh words to my son which I knew broke his heart and mine eventually.  There were also days when I have spanked him more than once... more than enough to communicate my message.  Obedience is not one of his strengths and I'm tried everyday to be patient and understanding to him.  This Lent, I know that this is one big way I can be more like God... starting with my son.
 
It's amazing how God speaks volumes into our hearts with just a single line from Scriptures.  As Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
 
I thank the Lord for honoring my intention by sending me His Word.  His Word indeed is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
 



A parallel verse affirms this message that I got from God.
 
"The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love." Psalm 103:8
 
 
I think that it is God's perfect timing again in action that I was led to this parallel verse (Psalm 103:8) on Valentine's Day.  I pray for His grace to put these Words from Holy Scriptures into action not just this Lent; but every day of my life as I raise my sons.  I acknowledge that on my own, I cannot do this.  But with God's grace, I believe that all things are possible.
 
Let me end with an excerpt from a poem I wrote years ago (2005), which was also published in my book When My Bridegroom Comes.
 
Love so patient and forgiving
Love that's stubborly kind
That is the love that rules Your heart
The same love You've poured into mine
 
Know that my heart's desire
Is to learn to love like you
Dispel my fears with Your love
Fill my heart with love that's true
 
                      - To Love Like You


Update: I recently discovered Catholic Bloggers Network when I joined the Keep Love in Lent blog link up. I also found out that they have Monthly Link Up Blitz this 2013. So, I'm adding this post to the Catholic Bloggers Monthly Link Up Blitz for February 2013 under the Readings and Reflections category.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

WAHMderful Life Feature Interview

I am blessed and honored to be featured today at Martine de Luna's new site WAHMderful Life: WAHM Support and Sisterhood.  I "met" Martine at the WAHM (Work-at-Home-Moms) Manila Facebook Group, which she also started/founded.  I've been learning a lot from this group.  The WAHMies are very supportive, too.  If you're interested to learn how you can become a work-at-home-mom like us and you want to find work-at-home opportunities, I suggest that you join our group. :)  Just look for WAHM Manila Group in Facebook and make a request to be added to the group.  To learn more about our group, read Martine's post here.
 
 
I'm glad that I took the time to answer her interview questions this morning; for I got a big surprise from Martine afterwards.  She emailed me the link to her site where my interview was featured.
 
 
Here is the link to my WAHM Story.  May it inspire other moms who are also dreaming of working from home one day or sometime soon; so they can have more time for their families.

Recipes for Meatless Fridays: Crusted Tilapia Fillet

The season of Lent is about to start once more. Do you have enough meatless recipes for the Fridays of Lent and for Good Friday?  How about tomorrow?  Have you decided on what you'll cook for Ash Wednesday being a day of fasting and abstinence?
 
According to the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches, specifically Canon 1251, "Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ." 
 
This means that, unless specified by the episcopal conference of a specific country and approved by the Pope, Catholics (from Eastern Churches or Western Catholics) all over the world will have to abstain from meat on all Fridays of Lent and even outside of Lent except when solemnities are being observed or celebrated; since according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, all Fridays throughout the year are considered penitential days (Canon 1250).
 
According to this article that I read, in the Philippines, Catholics like me and my family, are no longer required to abstain from meat on Fridays outside of LentBut we are however asked to substitute this with other forms of penance or acts of piety like reading the Bible, going to Mass, visiting the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Holy Rosary, or acts of charity like visiting the sick or prisoners, giving alms to the poor or teaching catechism. (The article I read cited Canon 1253 Norms approved by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines for the Local Implementation of Some Provisions of the New Code of Canon Law as source and published in the November - December 1985 issue of CBCP Monitor Vol. VI, Number 6, pp. 32-43).
 
Fr. Javier Gonzalez, OP said in his article about Canon Law published in 1997 that "abstaining from meat cannot be considered a penance for a great part or number of Filipino people who can no longer afford to buy meat."  This was cited in the same article that I read.
 
I called one of my priest friends yesterday to help me validate these things that I read in the internet and to help me clarify some points.  One example that he gave which was helpful is this: If you choose to abstain from meat but you ate an expensive seafood or fish like a blue marlin, which was more pleasurable to you, then that defeated the spirit of the law on abstinence. 
 
I thanked the Lord for leading me to these articles and for my priest friend.  They reminded me that all Fridays of the year, Lent or otherwise, are days of penance as we remember with reverence the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I therefore resolved to approach these days (Fridays outside of Lent) being mindful of what kind of penance I could do other than abstaining from meat if I choose not to do it as a form of penance.  I admit that I forgot about this teaching for a while and I was glad that yesterday I was reminded of this as I was preparing for Lent.  So, I thought of sharing this here in my blog, in case there are also readers who forgot that we need to approach all Fridays of the year in a posture of penance, whether we are required by our bishops or not, to abstain from meat on those days.
 
I have shared my "discovery" with my husband and we have decided that after I wean our second child, we will choose to abstain from meat eventually on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent.  This was prompted by what I also discovered yesterday that pregnant and nursing/breastfeeding mothers are exempted from abstinence and fasting. You may click here and here to read more about fasting and abstinence in the Catholic Church and those who are exempted from these laws.  But since I did not know about this in the past years that I was nursing my babies and didn't see any harmful effects on my children, I will still abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent and on Good Friday. 
 
So there, after sharing with you some information and teachings about Lent, I will now share a simple, easy-on-the-pocket fish recipe.  This is part of my 4-week cycle menu for Lent.  You may click here to see what dishes I included in my 4-week cycle menu plan.  You can use this for any fish fillet other than tilapia. I just chose tilapia because it's abundant in the Philippines and it's relatively cheap which is in keeping with our Lenten virtues.  With the money that we can save by choosing to buy and eat less expensive food this Lent, we can have more money to donate to the poor around us and to the church so we can support their ministries.
 
 
Crusted Tilapia Fillet
 
Ingredients:
 
Tilapia fillet (or other kinds of fish fillet) 
all purpose flour
breading
salt and pepper to taste
thyme
egg (slightly beaten)
cooking oil
 
For the dip:
mayonnaise/all purpose dressing and catsup or
mayonnaise/all purpose dressing with squeezed calamansi juice (homemade sour cream) or mayonnaise/all purpose dressing and chopped dill or
mayonnaise/all purpose dressing and chopped garlic or
soy sauce with vinegar and chili
 
Procedure:
 
  1. Season fish fillet with salt and pepper and thyme.  Let it stand for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Dredge in flour.
  3. Dip in slightly beaten egg seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and thyme as well.
  4. Roll on breading. I like using Japanese breading but you can use other kinds of unflavored breadings, too.
  5. Pan fry for a few minutes each side until golden brown.  I use canola oil for frying because it's a healthier substitute to the other oils.
  6. Serve hot with rice and your choice of dip.

I'll be posting more meatless recipes that you can include in your menu this Lent. Watch out for these in the coming days!


May we all have a meaningful observance of the Lenten season. May we be drawn closer to God as we spend more time in prayer and as we to do penance for our sins.