Today’s modern culture emphasizes that what is fastest is best, and what is concise is enough. As you enter these final months of the year, you may be heading back to school, closing out a fiscal year, beginning a new quarter or already thinking about 2020. Not matter where you are, I invite you to take an extra step, slow things down and think not about how eliminating a step will make your life easier, but how adding a step will make life for someone else much greater.
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He left for us the prayer we know as the “Our Father” or the “Lord’s Prayer.” In His infinite wisdom, the Lord connects each one of us together as brothers and sisters when we together call God “Our Father.” It is with this understanding, that we should live our lives daily acknowledging what we do for our brother and sister, we do for God and ourselves. As followers of Christ we are called to a different standard than that of the world. It is our duty not to rush through our day as a means to get to the end, but to make sure that as we journey though each day, we leave this world a better place for everyone.
As vicar for development of the Diocese of Brooklyn, I have the privilege of getting to know thousands of people who look beyond their needs and take the extra step to try to fulfill the needs of others. Those who sponsor our Catholic school students through Futures in Education, providing a Catholic school education to those who could not otherwise afford one, are among the best examples of how taking the extra step makes the difference. These donors do not have to sponsor a child nor do they directly and personally benefit from doing it. Some of our donors are wealthy, some are working class, and a few even live paycheck to paycheck, yet they all believe that taking the extra step and giving of their treasures does more for them than selffocus could.
Do not rush into the new school year, the last quarter, or 2020 thinking you will win the race thanks to speed, narrow focus, or brevity. Instead, remind yourself it is a journey you are on, and walk side by side with your brothers and sisters toward the open arms of our God, the only finish line worth heading toward – the spectacular finish line which requires deliberate — and extra — steps to reach.
MONSIGNOR JAMIE GIGANTIELLO is the vicar for development of the Diocese of Brooklyn and host of NET TV cooking show, “Breaking Bread” Netny.tv/shows/breaking-bread/, and pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel – Annunciation Parish, Brooklyn, NY.
Apple Ricotta Pancakes
Apple Ricotta Pancakes make a great treat before the school day during the week, or after morning Mass on Sunday. They’re light and fluffy, but filling enough to satisfy the whole family. The best part is it only takes a few extra steps to turn a regular pancake into a delicious surprise!
2 cups Pancake Batter
2 Apples (peeled and cubed)
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Coconut Oil
Place cubed apples in dish and cook in the microwave for about 1 minute. This will soften the apples and make them chewy. (If you prefer crispy apples in pancakes, skip this step.)
In a bowl, mix apples, ricotta cheese, and cinnamon into a batter, adding water to the pancake batter mix as needed. Do not overmix.
Preheat griddle or pan and coat with cooking spray.
Add some coconut oil, and allow to melt if solid.
Pour the batter onto the griddle or pan. This batter will be thicker than plain pancake batter so the shape of the pancakes will not be perfectly round, but they will be delicious!
Cook the pancakes, flipping them only once and not patting them down. This will keep them very fluffy.
Garnish with sliced apples and confectioner’s sugar and enjoy!
Apples may be substituted with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, peaches (do not microwave these) — or anything else you can think of!