My Italian Garden
When I heard that we would be going to Italy for three months and staying through June, I have to admit that I was not liking the fact that I wouldn’t have a garden. I love being able to plant something, watch it grow, and then eat and share the fruits of our labor. There is such a satisfaction to me in providing for my family in that way …
even though they don’t always appreciate all the yummy tastes
What an unbelievable blessing it was to me … an unbelievable gift from God … to find out that the place we would live would have a little courtyard AND in that little courtyard would be a little spot to have a garden. God didn’t have to do that for me … for us … but He did!
When we first arrived, I went out and bought some lettuce, spinach and beet seeds. With some extra special help, ages 12, 10, 8 and 6, we got in as much seed as we had room for. It has been so fun to watch things grow … even the neighbor has enjoyed it.
|Here is one row of the lettuce and another row of spinach. I was able to get two rows each.|
|Here are the beets. We won’t be here long enough to have the beets, but we really like to add the greens to our salads. A great way to get extra iron!|
After I had my seeds in, I noticed I had some extra room for a few herbs. Who could live in Italy and not have fresh oregano or basil?! I went to the garden store and bought parsley, basil, oregano and sage plants. They have been fun to have in the garden and maybe the next person who lives here, will enjoy them too.
As we have been studying Medieval Times, we have also been studying about the way herbs were used in that time period. Today we will learn about some of these same herbs and have Spaghetti with Herbs and Garlic Sauce for our supper. I’ll share the recipe below….
|Oregano, Sage and then Basil. The Parsley is behind it.|
Spaghetti with Herb and Garlic Sauce
1 pound Spaghetti
8T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4T each, chopped fresh Parsley, Basil and Oregano
salt and pepper
Cook spaghetti in large saucepan of salted water. Meanwhile, heat a little butter in a smaller pan and add garlic, cooking very gently over low heat. Do not allow garlic to brown. When the pasta is done, drain it well and return it to the pan. Pour the oil, garlic mix and herbs in to the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Mix quickly and thoroughly. Serve immediately with a little parmesian cheese if desired.
God’s grace and mercy can be viewed as two sides of the same coin. Grace on one side gives us what we do not deserve; mercy on the other does not give us what we do deserve.
Grace, often defined as unmerited favor, is offered freely by God “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). It is offered to us only through faith in Christ so that we may clearly understand that it is not obtainable by any adherence to the law. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17).
The law is holy, just, and good (Romans 7:12), but unfortunately it magnifies our sin and shows us how far we are from reaching the perfect standard of our holy and righteous Creator. Thankfully God’s amazing grace overpowers our magnified sin, as it “superabounds” above our transgressions. “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).
God is also rich in His mercy toward us (Ephesians 2:4), as He extends His loving compassion to us despite our sinful condition. Our salvation is rooted in God’s mercy, as He “hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
Grace and mercy are glorious gifts from God that should take us to our knees in worship and adoration. We can bring absolutely nothing to God except a humble and thankful heart as we trust not in our works, but solely in the finished work of Jesus Christ at Calvary. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). Thank God that “His mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136:26). MDR
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Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.
– Pope Francis
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Prayer for Mercy and Help
Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down,
That the mountains might quake at Your presence—
As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence!
When You did awesome things which we did not expect,
You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence.
For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,
Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.
You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.
Behold, You were angry, for we sinned,
We continued in them a long time;
And shall we be saved?
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on Your name,
Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us
And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities.
But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord,
Nor remember iniquity forever;
Behold, look now, all of us are Your people.
Your holy cities have become a wilderness,
Zion has become a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation.
Our holy and beautiful house,
Where our fathers praised You,
Has been burned by fire;
And all our precious things have become a ruin.
Will You restrain Yourself at these things, O Lord?
Will You keep silent and afflict us beyond measure?
– Isaiah 64
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A Prayer to be a Vessel of Mercy
Heavenly Father, thank You that by Your Holy Spirit You have bestowed on each of Your children different spiritual gifts, (or just one special gift..) that by Your grace is to be used for the encouragement and edification of the whole body of Christ. Thank You Lord for the way that You have gifted each of us in a very special and precious way, enabling us..by Your grace, to make a unique contribution, to the furtherance of Your plans and purposes in the body of Christ – that HE is all in all. Father, You have given me a special heart of love toward my brothers and sisters in Christ.. and although I am not gifted to teach, or to carry out some of the more overt gifts of the Spirit, I do wonder if You are developing in me the precious gift of encouragement, mercy and love towards my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Lord I pray that if You are taking me down this route, that You would use me as a sanctified vessel, that not only to pour out mercy and love without measure on other people, but that You would use me to encourage others to show the same mercy and forgiveness to their brothers and sisters in the body of Christ – and in the wider world beyond. Lord I know that in and of myself I have nothing that commends me for this special ministry of mercy and edification, for I know that without Christ I can do nothing – but praise God that in Christ I can do all things – for He gives me the strength. May I be pliable clay in the Potter’s hand and permit You to shape me into the person that You would have me be and use me in Your way and in Your time to Your praise and glory, in Jesus name I pray,
– Author Unknown
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Prayer of Thanks For God’s Mercy
Dear Father God, I praise and thank You for Your loving-kindness and great mercy which is new every morning and remains steadfast and sure throughout the day – to strengthen and hold. Thank You for the glory of the cross.. knowing that I was a estranged from Your heart of love and an outcast from the kingdom of heaven. Words cannot describe the wonderment that You sent Your only begotten Son to come to earth as a Man – and to live a life of rejection and sorrow, and to suffer and die for me on the cross of Calvary – so that I might be forgiven of all my sins and live with You eternally in heaven.
Thank You Father that although I was unworthy to approach You glorious throne, and enslaved in the kingdom of darkness, yet in Your mercy and grace You stooped down to me and lifted me out of the Satan’s bondage and from the cesspit of sin, and seated me together with Christ in heavenly places and showered me with Your undeserved grace and favor. Thank You that I am now one of Your redeemed children, in Jesus’ name I pray,
– Author Unknown
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Merciful Lord, it does not surprise me that you forget completely the sins of those who repent. I am not surprised that you remain faithful to those who hate and revile you. The mercy which pours forth from you fills the whole world. It was by your mercy that we were created, and by your mercy that you redeemed us by sending your Son. Your mercy is the light in which sinners find you and good people come back to you. Your mercy is everywhere, even in the depths of hell where you offer to forgive the tortured souls. Your justice is constantly tempered with mercy, so you refuse to punish us as we deserve. O mad Lover! It was not enough for you to take on our humanity; you had to die for us as well.
– Saint Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)
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