Saturday, December 17, 2011


There is a smell coming from the kitchen tonight. It's a meaty smell, with cinnamon and eggplant and onions and mysterious, wonderful spices.


John Paul has played a major role in the preparation of this meal, which--I think--we are about to eat. He has been busy about the pans with Mommy. Oh what a fine fellow he is!

The Janaros surely have Greek ancestry. Even the unusual name, my great uncle used to say, has an ancient lineage, perhaps pointing to some Byzantine heritage. And all the Sicilians in my mother's family are from Catania, the "Greek" side of the island.

Perhaps this is why I feel within my own heart a mysterious crossroad between East and West. I am synthetic and analytic, mystical and logical; I love spicy food, and a good stout. But it's more than that. It is a mystery of relationships, of ancestors who are real people and who continue to exist. They are, I hope, with God or on that final purifying journey to Him. They know me. I pray for them, and I pray to them. My ancestors.

It was from my African Catholic friends in particular that I learned the importance of appreciating the "communion of saints" concretely, in terms of my own forebearers. So much of who I am has been passed on to me through them, and my life continues to be linked to theirs. Because they are still alive, in Christ, in the communion of saints, even if their bodies were sown in the earth hundreds of years ago.

Who are they? I think their prayers have something to do with the desire in me to be a "place" where East and West meet. Why does the separation, and the lack of understanding, wound me? Why do I "feel" it personally?

Why does the smell of Moussaka from the kitchen raise all these reflections in my mind and heart.

And the children are a world. They take Ireland and Spain and the Philippines from their mother along with my Mediterranean heritage. People from many nations look upon our little family, and many depend on us for their prayers. They also help us. We must remember them and love them.

It's time for dinner. May the souls of our ancestors and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. And pray for us.