That Thing Everyone Is Talking About

Hi dear friends. I have struggled back and forth about whether I should talk about what everyone else is talking about…you know. This past year has been difficult to say the least in our politics and government. I am not one for major controversy so all the back and forth, the name calling, the leaks, emails, assumptions and accusations have been tough to wrap my brain around. This post isn’t about any of that.

Actually, this post is quite short because I want you to travel back in blog time with me to this past Easter. I was sitting here today wondering yet again if I should post something regarding the election and moving forward. Then it hit me, I already have!

For Easter I wrote about Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:13 to be the salt of the earth. I can think of no better explanation or encouragement than what I already wrote. So, rather than inventing the wheel, head over to Season Your World and read it in light of November’s events. Nothing can be done to change the outcome, regardless of whether that means you are celebrating or in mourning. It’s time to look forward and assess just how salty we each are.

Also, don’t forget that Advent is just around the corner. I’ll be posting daily Advent Prayer Experiences this year. Click the link to learn more about the inspiration and if you aren’t already following the blog now is a great time to do so. That way the daily posts will show up right in your email. I’m doing my very best to keep them between 350 and 500 words so they won’t take up your whole morning =)

In peace friends


Season Your World

Season Your World. On Being the Salt of the Earth for Easter 2016. #DailyGraces

Happy Easter! Alleluia Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and is alive!

So this might seem like a rather unorthodox Easter post, but I promise if you stick with me it will all come together in the end.

I’m a bit of a Food Network fan, especially the competition shows. I find it incredible how chefs are able to come up with such delicious, intricate dishes in minimal time and often with minimal or odd ingredients available them. It sounds like my kitchen at 5:15pm, though typically minus the “intricate dishes” part and sometimes the “delicious” part.

I was recently watching a show called “All-Star Academy” which involves home (not professional) cooks who are mentored by celebrity chefs through a series of challenges until there is a winner (There can only be one! – shout out to my husband who enjoys yelling that at the TV whenever the judges of any competition show say something along those lines, he’s a goof and I love him for it). One of the mentors this season is Andrew Zimmern from the Travel Channel show, Bizarre Foods. While his mentees were cooking, Andrew threw out this piece of advice:

Salt is for bringing out flavor. Pepper is for adding flavor.

I was struck by this simple, straightforward piece of cooking advice that I had never heard before. Starting from my first days cooking with my mom and grandma I was always told to make sure to “salt and pepper” (and usually garlic too, we are Italian to the core) whatever we were making. It’s so automatic that I had never thought about why these two ingredients were so essential so nearly every dish we created.

Based on Andrew’s one-liner, salt is not for adding flavor. That’s pepper’s job. Rather, salt is used to bring out and enhance the flavors already present in the ingredients. According to Michael Wignall, a Michelin star British chef, “It’s [salt] the basis for any great cooking,” he says, “you can have a great dish, but if you’ve not seasoned it, it’s just not there. Salt brings the best out of food and – regardless of whether people say it’s bad for you or not – the body needs salt to work properly.” Salt must be used properly in cooking. It’s not just to sprinkle on your plate tableside or to season meat before searing, never to be touched again. Different types of food will require salt at different times, but it sounds like nearly everything requires even just a touch of salt.

I like to think in an “if, then” pattern, it helps me to find the logical flow between ideas. So, in that model, here’s what we know.

  • If salt is missing,
  • Then, a dish is lacking.
  • If salt brings out the best when used appropriately,
  • Then we have to know how, when and where to use salt in a dish.

Transition now to me driving in the car the next day and while listening to the radio hearing this Gospel verse:

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?” (Matthew 5:13)

I was already thinking about how I use salt and pepper in my cooking and now God had layered into my thoughts the notion that we are salt in the world. This verse took on a whole new light. Actually, I had to completely re-think my understanding of it.

Prior to the revelation given by Andrew Zimmern, I had not thought about how salt functioned in my meals, just that I needed to use it. Salt isn’t necessarily supposed to add to the dish, instead it brings flavor out, enlivens, makes the best version of the dish.

Before understanding how salt works in food I don’t think I properly understood what Jesus meant when he said “You are the salt of the earth.” We aren’t necessarily bringing something new to the table. We aren’t a new flavor profile, we aren’t meant to “spice things up.” That’s not the purpose of salt. If we are the salt of the earth, then we are intended to bring out the best in the earth. We are to enliven the people we meet and help them become the best versions of themselves.

Let’s go back to those “If, Then” statements, but updated. Instead of “salt” we will say  “My witness.” “My witness” means specifically your faith, your personal witness to the mercy and love of Jesus working in your life. The “dish” is “my world”, meaning everyone and everything you come in contact with.

  • If my witness missing,
  • Then, my world is lacking.
  • If my witness brings out the best when used appropriately,
  • Then I have to know how, when and where to use my witness in my world.

Jesus doesn’t command us to be salt. He doesn’t ask us to be salt. Jesus tells us who we are: You are the salt of the earth. Our very identity is wrapped up in the mission of Jesus. Jesus sends us on mission to bring out the best in our world around us. We share our gifts and talents in order that others might come to know God better. We speak out when we see injustice and we actively work for the protection of the dignity of all people. We live each day in such a way that proclaims “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!” even when the weather is crummy, we lost our temper with our kids, we had to wait in traffic or we received difficult news.

Season Your World. On Being the Salt of the Earth for Easter 2016. #DailyGracesIf we fail to live our life in this manner it is as if we have lost our saltiness. We aren’t bringing out the best in others or ourselves. We  aren’t helping the lost, comforting the sick or feeding the hungry. We are complaining, wallowing and despairing. Guess what – we all, and often do, fail.

Thank goodness this isn’t the end of the Gospel! Through the glorious resurrection of Jesus that we celebrate today, we are able to regain our saltiness. Jesus says that sin and death is not the end. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we are able to renew ourselves as the salt of the earth. Every time we receive the Eucharist we are renewed. Every time we go to the sacrament of Reconciliation we are cleansed. Every time we choose God instead of choosing despair we are refreshed. Every time we choose things that bring life instead of wallowing in the culture of death we are reborn. Every time we embrace the cross Jesus greets us with arms outstretched, welcoming us home.

Through the blood Jesus shed for our sake, the salt of the earth can regain its saltiness. Salty once more, we find ourselves able to bring the Good News of Jesus to all corners of our world.

May you each have a blessed Easter and feel God’s love surround you. I hope you find yourself salty this Easter season.





Salt Cravings


Do you ever have one of those days where you need salt. Everything salty sounds delicious and you find yourself fantasizing about french fries, potato chips, pretzels, or anything with enough salty goodness  to satisfy the craving. And no, this doesn’t just happen when I’m pregnant. I’m sure you’ve all had at least one day like this. Our bodies need salt. It is one of the components necessary to help water move through our systems. Our bodies do not function properly when we do not have enough salt.

Everything in life needs a little salt. Have you ever noticed on pretty much any cooking show that has a judge, someone is always critiqued for not using enough salt. Just the other day I heard a judge say “If you had just put a few more grains of salt, then the flavors would have really popped.” Even desserts need to have some salt.

There was one time, I was in high school, that I was making a new cookie recipe. I believed that the recipe, in my fairly inexperienced baking hands, called for too much salt. These were supposed to be sweet cookies after all. So I left the salt out. I think that we all know how those cookies tasted. Lifeless.

It is interesting, Jesus told his followers to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). He didn’t say to be the yeast, to be the flour, or to be the water – all other fundamental ingredients. What makes salt different is it’s ability to add flavor. Flour, yeast and water are all basic components to make bread. You don’t technically need salt to make bread, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you like to eat cardboard. Maybe you do.

I definitely don’t like cardboard. I like flavor in my food and my life. I like to think that Jesus did too. After all, he did hang out with some pretty “flavorful” people for the time (tax collectors, women, non-Jews, lepers, to name a few) and he certainly spiced up the lives of his followers. Jesus asks us to do the same. We are supposed to spice things up. How? By being fully alive.

To be fully alive, we have to know who we are. We are children of the most high God, the author of all creation. We cannot be fully alive without recognizing that we are not the source of our existence. How can a building stand when it’s foundation is cracked? The basis of our “saltiness” comes from this primary fact of our being.

If you are ever feeling like you are losing touch with your “saltiness” (aka your ability to connect with Jesus and therefore your ability to see the world as he would want you), take some time to think about your encounters with Jesus. Pope Francis just said ““He never forgers, but we forget the encounter with Christ. And this would be a good assignment to do at home, to consider: ‘When have I really felt that the Lord was close to me? When have I felt the need to change my life, or to become better, or to forgive someone? When have I felt the Lord asking something of me? When have I encountered the Lord?’ Because our faith is an encounter with Jesus. This is the foundation of our faith: I have encountered Jesus.” (see more at