August 15

 

Saint of the day:
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Holy Day of Obligation

Public holiday in Italy (Ferragosto/Assumption Day)

The Story of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of faith: “We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.” The pope proclaimed this dogma only after a broad consultation of bishops, theologians and laity. There were few dissenting voices. What the pope solemnly declared was already a common belief in the Catholic Church.

 

We find homilies on the Assumption going back to the sixth century. In following centuries, the Eastern Churches held steadily to the doctrine, but some authors in the West were hesitant. However by the 13th century there was universal agreement. The feast was celebrated under various names–Commemoration, Dormition, Passing, Assumption–from at least the fifth or sixth century. Today it is celebrated as a solemnity.

 

Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. Nevertheless, Revelation 12 speaks of a woman who is caught up in the battle between good and evil. Many see this woman as God’s people. Since Mary best embodies the people of both Old and New Testaments, her Assumption can be seen as an exemplification of the woman’s victory.

Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul speaks of Christ’s resurrection as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

 

Since Mary is closely associated with all the mysteries of Jesus’ life, it is not surprising that the Holy Spirit has led the Church to believe in Mary’s share in his glorification. So close was she to Jesus on earth, she must be with him body and soul in heaven.

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/solemnity-of-the-assumption-of-mary/

 

Prayer:
 

 

What are Catholics taught about the assumption of Mary? 

First, Catholics are taught that Mary did not suffer from original sin but was conceived full of grace. According to this doctrine, known as the Immaculate Conception, God’s life dwelt in Mary from the very beginning of her existence. It is important to emphasize that from a Catholic perspective, the Immaculate Conception is not simply about Mary, but also about the mystery of Jesus Christ. God became human in Mary’s womb. Since Jesus is the God, Catholics believe he is dwelled in a pure vessel, a holy temple. Thus, it is fitting that God would prepare Mary as an immaculate dwelling place, full of grace and not stained by sin, for Jesus. The annunciation in the Gospel of Luke may point in this direction. The angel Gabriel greets Mary, Hail, Mary, full of grace is in a perfect passive form, which would indicate that Mary already has been filled with God’s saving grace, even before Jesus was conceived in her womb. The Immaculate Conception serves as a basis for understanding Mary’s assumption.

 

Second, the Catechism teaches that Mary was taken to heaven when the course of her earthly life was finished. Majority of theologians throughout the centuries have affirmed that Mary did experience death—not as a punishment for sin but in alignment with her son, who willingly experienced death on our behalf.

Third, the Catechism affirms that Mary was taken body and soul into heavenly glory right at the end of her earthly life. One of the consequences of original sin is the corruption of the body. If Mary was full of grace and did not suffer from original sin, it is fitting that she, like her son, would not experience such bodily corruption.

 

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Botticini

Francesco_botticini,_assunzione_della_vergine,_1475-76_ca.,_dalla_tomba_di_matteo_palmieri

 

Visit:
 

House of Virgin Mary in Ephesus, Turkey

 

Visit:
Chêne chapelle

 

The Chêne chapelle (lit. "chapel oak") is an oak tree located in Allouville-Bellefosse in Seine-Maritime, France.

The oak tree is between 800 and 1,200 years old. It is 15 metres (49 ft) high and its base has a circumference of 16 metres (52 ft). Its hollow trunk hosts two chapels, which were built there in 1669 and are still used: Notre Dame de la Paix ("Our Lady of Peace") and the Chambre de l'Ermite ("Hermit's room").  A spiral staircase around the trunk provides access to the chapels.

When the tree was nearing 500 years of age, it was struck by lightning; the resulting fire burned slowly through the center and hollowed the tree out. The local Abbot Du Detroit and the village priest, Father Du Cerceau, claimed that the lighting striking and hollowing the tree was an event that had happened with holy purpose. So they built a place of pilgrimage devoted to the Virgin Mary in the hollow. In later years, the chapel above was added, as was the staircase.

During the French Revolution, the tree became an emblem of the old system of governance and tyranny as well as the church that aided and abetted it: a crowd descended upon the village, intent on burning the tree to the ground. However, a local whose name is lost renamed the oak the "Temple of Reason" and as such it became a symbol of the new ways of thinking and was spared.

Today, a number of measures are necessary in order to counter problems caused by the age of the tree: poles shore up the weight of some branches, and wooden shingles have been used to cover areas of the tree that have lost their bark; still, part of its trunk is already dead.

Twice a year, mass is celebrated in the oak. The oak is the site of a pilgrimage on August 15.

 

Visit:

the Church of the Dormition (Abby)

Jerusalem, Israel

d555e3465124819079fe30ac701fbe0a-church-monastery-of-the-dormition.jpeg
Church-of-the-Dormition3.jpeg

 

Recipe:

Rabska torta 

The rabska torta is a sweet typical of the beautiful Croatian island of Rab, located in the Kvarner sea in the northern Adriatic. It seems that  in 1177  Pope Alexander III, crossing the Adriatic Sea with the ships that escorted him, due to a storm had found refuge in the Croatian islands.
On that occasion he consecrated the newly enlarged Cathedral of Rab, dedicating it to the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Assumption and in his honor the nuns of the Benedictine order wanted to create a sweet almond on a host that reminds the famous sweets of Siena (the Pope's hometown) . 
The original recipe is kept in the archives of the Benedictine abbey of Sant'Andrea a Rab and among the ingredients indicates eggs and almonds. 
According to this recipe, the secret is in the preparation of the filling that must be passed between the fingers up to six times, mixing the eggs (whose quantity depends on the dryness of the almonds) to the crushed almonds wrapping the whole with the aromas of orange and lemon peel and maraschino, while the pastry must be thin like a host.
Initially used for religious festivals and for weddings, baptisms and first communions, it is now one of the products that tourists prefer to buy as souvenirs and can have the characteristic shape of snail or in smaller sizes of heart, horseshoe or simply bar.

 

Rabska Torta 

Ingredients: 

For the pastry

  • 250 grams of 00 flour

  • 25 grams of melted butter

  • 2 whole eggs

  • 1 TBSP of sugar

  • 1/2 tsp of salt
     

For the stuffing

  • 400 grams of almonds reduced to flour (Almond Flour)

  • 360 grams of sugar

  • 60 g of vanilla sugar

  • 40 ml of maraschino liqueur

  • the grated zest of a lemon

  • the grated zest of an orange

  • 2 eggs 
     

To garnish

  • 6 whole peeled almonds

  • powdered sugar
     

Directions:​

  1. Start preparing the dough by mixing the flour with sugar and salt in a bowl. 

  2. Add the eggs and the melted butter and knead the dough on the top until you have a smooth and compact dough that wraps with the film and you will rest at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

 

Now go to the preparation of the filling:

  1. Mix the almond flour, the sugar, the vanilla sugar, the grated zest of lemon and orange, the eggs and the maraschino (or amaretto or orange liqueur), taking care to mix with your fingertips after each addition.

  2. Take the dough (pasta), divide it into 2 parts, one of which is a little more abundant and rewind the other with the film to prevent it from drying out.

  3. Roll out the most abundant dough with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface until you obtain a very thin sheet, place it on baking paper and cut out a snail so that the strip has a width of 5 cm.

Arrange the filling:

  1. In a snail shape made with stripes of dough arrange the dough on a lined sheet pan.

  2. With the rest of the dough cut out strips of about 1.5 cm in height. Place the strip on the side of the stuffing and pinch it into folds, turning all around the snail, making a ruffle. With the tines of the fork, form lines on all the filling and last placed 3 almonds on the head and 3 on the end of the snail.

  3. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, until the filling has a beautiful golden color.

  4. Sprinkle with powder sugar once the cake has cooled.

  5. Did you know this style of almond cake is typical of Sicilian pastry? The ingredients and the taste are the same as the filling of this dessert, while the packaging with the thin strips of pasta that form a ruche is very reminiscent of Sardinian sweets.

  6. It is certainly not a dessert to be served at the end of a meal, but to be offered in slices of 3 cm to accompany a tea or a glass of liqueur or grappa. 

  7. This centerpiece needs a moment to shine alone and to be tasted in all its sumptuous flavors.

 

İmam Bayıldı

The name supposedly derives from a tale of a Turkish imam, who swooned with pleasure at the flavor when presented with this dish by his wife. The eggplants are gently poached in this dish with a generous mixture of onions, tomatoes and garlic. It is delicious and refreshing for hot summer days, just melts in the mouth. If desired use a little less olive oil and added dried mint to the filling; the result will be a light and delicious, a refreshing vegetarian course.

İmam bayıldı

Ingredients

  • 3 large Japanese eggplants

  • 1 large onion, halved and finely sliced

  • 3 tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • Juice of ½ lemon

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dried mint

  • Salt and black ground pepper to taste

  • Light olive oil (or canola oil) to shallow fry the eggplants/aubergines

  • Extra wedges of lemon to serve


Directions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the eggplants length ways, then cut the eggplants / aubergines in half lengthways. In each half of eggplant, cut a deep split length ways without cutting through to the skin on the opposite side and leaving 1/2″-13 mm- uncut at either end. Sprinkle salt over the eggplants (to dehydrate) and let the salt sit for about 10-15 minutes to remove the moisture and bitter juices of eggplants. After that, thoroughly remove the liquid and pat dry the eggplants with paper towel, otherwise the eggplant will be soggy.

  2. Heat about ½ inch light olive oil or canola oil in a deep sided pan. Place the eggplants in the oil and shallow fry quickly on both sides until they are softened and have a light brown color, for about 3-5 minutes. Place paper towel on a tray and transfer these eggplants there; the paper towel will absorb the excess olive oil.

 

For the filling:

  1. Stir in the sliced onions and garlic in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, dried mint, salt and ground black pepper to taste. Knead this mixture with your hands for the dried mint and seasoning to blend well (this will also help the onions to soften). Stir in the tomatoes and parsley to the mixture and combine well.

  2. Place the whole eggplants to a chopping board and open up by splitting down the middle and create pockets by removing the middle. Place the extra chopped eggplant into the filling mixture. Spoon the mixture into the pockets, packing it in tightly so that all of the filling is used up (if you have any left-over filling, simply cook them in the same pan next to these eggplant pockets).

  3. Place the stuffed eggplants side by side in a wide, heavy pan. Mix the remaining olive oil with ½ cup water, lemon juice and sugar and pour it over the eggplants.

  4. Cover the pan with a lid and place over a medium heat to get the oil hot and create steam. Once the cooking liquid is hot, cook the eggplants for about 45-50 minutes. Once cooked, they should be soft and tender, with a little of cooking liquid left in the bottom of the pan.

  5. Leave Imam Bayildi, stuffed eggplants, in olive oil to cool and rest in the pan after cooking. This will allow for the flavors to settle, then carefully transfer the eggplants to a serving dish and spoon the oil from the pan over the eggplants. Serve at room temperature or cold, with a wedge of lemon aside and extra garnish of parsley over them.

Imam Bayildi a delicious vegetarian course that just melts in one’s mouth.

  1. Tips for buying eggplants: Smaller eggplants have fewer seeds, thinner skin, and tend to be sweeter, tenderer and less bitter.

 

 

Gavurdagi Salad Variation with watercress, pomegranates, walnuts

 

Named after the Gavur mountain in Turkey, this delicious salad originates from the Gaziantep region. This variation of this salad has watercress walnuts and pomegranate seeds for extra freshness and texture.
 

 

Ingredients

  • 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped

  • 8 oz watercress

  • ¼ onion, finely chopped

  • Handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

  • 2 oz walnuts, crushed – about pea size each –

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon sumac – optional-

  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • 3 oz pomegranate seeds to serve
     

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, rub the chopped onions with the spices and

  2. seasoning; salt, sumac, red pepper flakes and ground

  3. black pepper –that will soften the onion and enable the spices to blend in well.

  4. Add the tomatoes, parsley and walnuts to the onions.

  5. Then stir in the pomegranate molasses and the extra virgin olive oil and give them a good (but gentle) mix.

  6. Stir in the watercress and combine well.

  7. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the salad and serve.