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September 19: St. Zosimas the Hermit of Cilicia and His Friend, the Lion

Make some adorable Lion Cupcakes to commemorate this feast!

One of the saints to be commemorated this Thursday is the martyr Zosimas who lived in the desert of Sicily in the fourth century.  One day, the governor of Sicily, a pagan named Dometian went hunting in the wild and came upon the martyr.  He saw him calmly interacting with all the wild animals around him and the governor was amazed.  He asked Zosimas how it was that he was able to live out in the wilderness rather than in the city.  Zosimas answered that he preferred to live in peace in the wild with the animals for companions, rather than endure persecution as he would if he lived among the pagans in the city.  When asked what kind of training or magic kept the wild beasts from harming him, he replied simply that he was a Christian. Because of the fact that Christianity was forbidden in those days, Dometian became enraged and threatened Zosimas with torture and certain death if he refused to renounce his belief in Christ.  Rather than disappoint the Lord, Zosimas chose to be arrested. He was tied upside down with a large stone around his neck while he endured a scourging similar to Our Lord’s.  The soldiers also taunted him saying, "If the beasts do listen to you, tell one of them to come here, and then we will believe in your God."   At that, Zosimas began to pray and a huge lion appeared, went up to the martyr and tried to lift the stone to ease his suffering.  Everyone ran in fear.  The governor, afraid as well, gave orders to free the saint immediately, but he was already with Christ in heaven.  

In order to remember our friend St. Zosimas, my little band of saints used to bake up some really cute, and really delicious, lion cupcakes!  Just use your family's favorite recipe and frost them as usual, but be sure either to use peanut butter in your icing, or to tint it with a few drops of yellow food coloring, and one drop of red, to make your helpful beasts just the right shade.  Next, take a box of caramel corn, or even your favorite breakfast cereal flake as we did, and assemble a row of it around the edge to make the lion's mane.  Two cheerios can be used to make ears and some chocolate chips are the eyes and nose. Add two marshmallow cheeks (cut these in half with a scissors and flatten them out a bit), or use two white chocolate discs (these are white melting chocolate in the picture) and your lion is complete.  

While we enjoy our cupcakes, let's discuss this lesson a bit. Do you have a friend with a heavy burden? Burdens can be physical difficulties or illnesses, they can be worries, or they can be a job that's just really difficult to do, or do well. These may not be made of stone, but they are just as heavy on the soul. When these friends start to look around for help like Zosimas did, we can be like the friendly lion and help them. By lending a hand, a smile or a prayer, or even the gift of a cute cupcake, we can lift that burden, even if only for a while, and bring them relief.

God bless and happy baking!...and decorating!...( and eating!)

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