Last weekend I had some of my siblings over for dinner. The main course went really well and tasted delicious. I went with one of my Mom's recipes, so success was a given.
Desert, on the other hand, was an unmitigated disaster! Long story short - I was going to fry up some beignets (New Orleans donuts) and the oil got to hot, started smoking, spread throughout the house, and I'm lucky the oil never caught fire and burned the house down.
Cooking has been on my mind even now (6 days later) because I'm still bombing the house with cleaning chemicals, taking apart the microwave to clean it, bleaching, mopping, vacuuming, wiping, etc. I've spent 80 dollars on chemicals, and I think today was the Battle of the Bulge; I feel like I finally got the upperhand and turned the corner on the stench in the rectory.
What in the heck does that have to do with the Magnificat of Mary which was today's Gospel reading? Mary begins her litany of praise to God by saying "My soul gives praise to God my savior" and as I prayed over those lines cooking came to mind.
Interesting that Mary says her SOUL praises God - if our soul's on board, it's like we're saying its a deeper level of commitment; it's as if the Blessed Mother is saying "This is not a surface-level thing. My whole BEING praises God."
This seems to me to be like cooking. You can't microwave a Thanksgiving turkey - if the heat is going to sink in, it has to do so over time...slowly...if it has any hope of getting down deep. I mean technically you can try and cook something too fast, but it gets too hot and gets burned up - kind of like those who expect to have a conversion experience as soon as they sit down to pray and think:
"Okay God...I just sat down here to pray so start talking to me...could you speed this up...I can't hear you...it must not be working...God must not love me...so much for this prayer thing!"
These last few days before Christmas we are encouraged in all directions to be frantic, to get stressed, and sometimes we're just authentically excited to the point where we don't WANT to wait for God.
Let us realize that if our SOUL is ever going to be involved, if our SOUL is ever going to be touched by God to the point where we can exclaim "My SOUL proclaims the greatness of God" then it will only be because we sat in the oven of prayer and spent TIME letting God slowly seep in towards our innermost being.