Thursday, June 5, 2008

Green Is For the Growing Time

Do you hear that? I think the Church is taking a collective sigh of relief. The Liturgical Calendar has had a shift in the liturgical seasons and now we are in the slower-paced, less festive Ordinary Time. We have come through the cycle of Christ's birth, life, passion, death, and resurrection. The festival season of Easter is over, and we've had Pentecost. We were filled with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Now the Church gives us time to let those fruits grow within us; it is the growing time of Ordinary Time, reflected with the green liturgical color. My son calls this the BIG Ordinary Time because the green section on the Liturgical Calendar wheel is the largest section.

Ordinary Time is anything but ordinary. It's unfortunate our English language has that definition of the word. The use of the word "Ordinary" is merely meant as in time, ordinal, keeping track of the number of weeks. The General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar explains this time:
VI. Ordinary Time

43. Apart from those seasons having their own distinctive character, thirty-three or thirty-four weeks remain in the yearly cycle that do not celebrate a specific aspect of the mystery of Christ. Rather, especially on the Sundays, they are devoted to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects. This period is known as Ordinary Time.
It's also known as ferial time, a time without feasts. In the Traditional Calendar this season is referred as "Time After Pentecost". I find both titles in English fall a bit short, but we just have to look at the Church calendar and around us (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) to understand what this liturgical season should mean to us.

Weatherwise, this is summertime. (Yes, not officially, but meteorologically it is). My vegetable garden is planted, and now I'm waiting for it to grow. We're deep into lawn mowing season in the suburbs, and the forecast is for hazy, hot, humid days, with the usual afternoon thunderstorms. We are watching our little gardens, tending and weeding, keeping them from pests and diseases.

We'll be spending more time together as a family, either on outings or vacations, or family celebrations. We stay up longer, enjoying the sunlight. The heat almost forces us to slow down the pace. Those with children in organized sports will be sitting poolside, field side, or perhaps bleachers, with lots of car trips. But again, we're doing a lot of it together.

Perusing the calendar for the next few months, there are many saint feast days that we are commemorating. These saints give us the example of how to LIVE our Faith. They are part of our family, and we'll be spending time with them. We'll continue the instructions of the mysteries of our Faith and meditate on the teachings of Christ during this season, and use the example and intercession of the saints to apply it our lives. We've got to slow down the pace to be able to listen, to tend and weed our souls, and allow those graces we've received at Pentecost to grow -- and then share the harvest.

The cookbook I pull out this time of year is Twelve Months of Monastery Salads: 200 Divine Recipes for All Seasons by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette. There are lots of ideas for vegetarian salads. I either use them as sides for our main meal, or some recipes can be adapted by adding strips of chicken or steak or tuna on top.

But I'm leaving you with a very simple spinach salad of my own concoction; a green salad to reflect our green growing time!

Spinach Salad
Ingredients::1 pound fresh spinach
sliced mushrooms
1 avocado, diced (optional)
8 slices bacon
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped or sliced
2 tablespoons red vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Cook bacon until very crisp. I use a microwave and paper towels to keep down the grease and odor. But if you want to use the drippings over the salad, fry in a pan or oven.
Wash spinach; trim if necessary. With paper towels gently pat dry.

Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper and whisk. Put the spinach leaves in a large bowl. Add avocado cubes, chopped eggs, and mushrooms. Break the bacon into pieces and sprinkle into salad. Add the dressing and toss all ingredients and serve immediately. Optional, pour a few tablespoons bacon drippings on salad, toss, and serve.

The bacon adds a salty dimension, and I use hormone and nitrate free bacon. But this salad can be made as a dinner salad by adding cooked chicken pieces, either substituting the bacon, or just adding the chicken. Pin It


  1. Lovely post Jenn, the salad sounds divine!!

  2. I made this tonight - really yummy! I added the chicken and made it dinner.

  3. Thanks, Meredith!

    And I'm glad you liked it, Cindy! Thanks for posting feedback on the recipe! It always helps!