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Stealing Grain Bundles and Remembering St. Myron of Crete

August 8th is the day we remember St. Myron of Crete. He's a fourth century saint who, even from his youth, knew how important it is to share with those in need. Here is a recipe tor us to enjoy for our own lunch, and another that we can share with our neighbor for another day.

While I was driving my sons to play street hockey with their friends, my younger son was lamenting to his brother that he had forgotten his hat. The older brother, wearing his own hat proudly, teased him, as brothers usually do. Under the seat in front of him, my son saw another hat. It wasn't his, but surely his brother would let him borrow it. Suddenly the debate began.

"Why should I let him wear it?"

"He forgot his own hat, what will happen to mine if I let him?"

"C'mon, Mom! Do I really have to share everything?"

"Yes", I said. "Yes, you really do have to share everything".

Sainthood isn't for wimps. It takes character. It takes a vision so pure and so clear that you would sacrifice nearly everything to illustrate the smallest measure of truth, because Christ IS truth. In order to fulfill Christ's desire that we give our tunic when somebody takes our cloak, St. Myron, our saint of the day, did something so radical that anyone might think he was insane. In the end, his gesture of over-the-top generosity won two more souls away from sin and into the Body of Christ!

When St. Myron was a young man on the Island of Crete, he worked on his family’s farm. One day, he came upon some thieves in his threshing barn, preparing to steal his grain. Not revealing that he was the owner of the grain, he offered to help them bundle it into their sacks and carry it away. When the men came to realize who their accomplice really was, they repented, and dedicated the rest of their lives to Christian living. At the urging of his neighbors, who marveled at his goodness, Myron entered the priesthood and it wasn't long before he became Bishop of Crete.

He lived to the age of 100 and died peacefully at about 350AD.

Here's a lunch recipe to commemorate St. Myron the Wonderworker. Quinoa is a grain that is one of the most complete vegetarian sources of protein and it tastes great, but if your family is fond of another grain like rice or farro or barley, feel free to substitute. It's fun to let the children bundle up their grain, like the saint, and steal them away for their lunch or snack, knowing that you let them.

St. Myron's Quinoa Bundles

Rinse 1c quinoa and cook it for 15 minutes in the small pot of boiling salted water until it is soft and the circular grain is visible. While this is boiling, prepare the dressing for the grain in a small blender:

1 clove of peeled garlic

a 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger

the zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 c tahini (peanut butter is a yummy substitute) and

1/2 cup of olive oil, (optional)

salt and pepper to taste.

When the quinoa is fully cooked, mix it, along with:

1-2 shredded carrots

a large handful of coarsely chopped mint (parsley may be substituted) and about

½ c finely diced red onion

with the dressing and stir everything together to combine. Place a heaping tablespoon of the quinoa at the base of a large soft leaf of lettuce and roll the grain into a bundle ( just like St. Myron!) tucking in the sides as you go, and steal it away, with mom's permission, to enjoy! Makes 24-30 little bundles.

St. Myron's Mushroom & Barley Soup Mix

St. Myron shared his grain with the thieves when he was trying to save it up for himself. Let's share our grain by making these soup jars. There will be six of them, so we'll have plenty to share with our neighbors!

1 1/2 cup dried lentils

3 cups medium pearl barley

2 cups dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms

6 tablespoons dried minced onion

1 Tbsp granulated garlic

2 Tbsp dried thyme

2 Tbsp ground black pepper

3 Tbsp salt

6 bay leaves

Prepare six pint size jars, clean and dry. Into each one, pour 1/4 cup lentils, 1/2 cup barley and 1/3 cup mushrooms, each in a layer. Add a Tbsp of granulated onion,1/2 tsp. granulated garlic, a tsp thyme, a tsp of pepper and 1-1/2 tsp salt to each jar, and top it with a bay leaf. Put the lids on the jars and, for a decorative touch, cover the lids with a 4" round circle of fabric and tie it in place with a ribbon or piece of raffia. Label it as Mushroom and Barley Soup Mix. Now make a tag with instructions for your neighbor as to how to use your gift. The tag should say:

St. Myron's Mushroom & Barley Soup Mix

Place the contents of this jar into a pot or a crock pot with 2 quarts of water or your favorite prepared soup stock. Bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour or so until it's done. Enjoy!

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