Friday, June 24, 2011
The Truth, The Whole Truth & Nothing But The Truth
Summer is here (well, not really in Wisconsin), the grills are fired up and we’re all dreaming of that perfect hamburger. Even my vegetarian friends dream of a big, juicy hamburgers!
But there is a quagmire through which we must navigate if we’re seriously looking for the perfect hamburger. You see, most hamburgers are far from perfect. In fact, they’re usually overcooked, too lean, industrially modified, vacuum sealed, injected with tons of hormones, overly marinated and in need of much recitation.
Frankly, it’s downright hard to find a good old-fashioned hamburger of any real quality in most cities these days. Allow me, then, to lead you into all truth concerning hamburgers.
And if you’re up for it, afterwards I’d like to invite you to think about the role of the Holy Spirit and what it means to be lead into ‘all truth’. Because just as is the case with burgers, there are lots of imitations out there claiming to lead us into the Truth. But make no mistakes: there is only one Truth, that is, one Gospel, plain and simple.
So first, let’s talk about the truth of that great American classic, the hamburger, or, if you’re in my maison, the cheeseburger.
Most historians agree that the first modern hamburger was introduced to the world in St. Louis at the World’s Fair of 1904, and was an instant success. It was made of ground chuck, cooked medium-rare and served on a buttered and toasted bun.
Today, however, most meat is actually commercially processed lean ground round, overcooked and served Atkins style – I mean sans the bun! And I suppose that’s okay in a pinch, but if you want to real burger, follow these guidelines.
The TRUE Hamburger
3 pounds fresh ground chuck
4 buns from a local bakery (don’t buy commercial, please!)
2 TBSP butter, melted
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
Sprinkle of thyme
Room temp. cheese of your choice
Condiments as you wish
Find a local butcher and ask him to grind fresh for you some ground chuck! Assuming you’re feeding four, request 3 pounds (you will shape the 12 oz. patties yourself at home). Don’t get anything with less fat than chuck. Don’t let him press the patties. You may, however, choose to add in a touch of USDA Choice or higher sirloin. At all costs, avoid ground round, ground ‘beef’ and all other overly-lean variants. I’m leading you into all truth for the sake of taste and quality, not into a fad diet for the sake of stroking your vanity. You may add a small amount of ground lamb, too.
Do not have the meat vacuum packed; instead, have him wrap it in paper – like you would take home fresh cut steaks, chicken, etc.
Keep the meat cold until you’re ready to form the patties.
Preheat the grill to high. Whether or not you use charcoal or gas is of little relevance, really. Just have a nice hot fire before grilling.
Spray the racks with a little cooking oil to prevent sticking.
Lubricate your hands with a small amount of olive oil.
Form patties into four equal droplets (you may use a scale if you’re picky about exact weight), add a little salt, pepper, olive oil and a small amount of thyme. Press them out so that they are slightly less than an inch thick.
Place the meat on the grill for 6 minutes (or just when you begin to see juices forming on top of the patty). Flip the burgers and cook for another 7 minutes. If the grill flames up, turn the heat down. Above all else, DO NOT press the patties down, and don’t turn more than once.
Remove from the grill, add the cheese of your choice (Cambozola, cheddar, Stilton, etc.) and let stand for 10 minutes. The perfect burger is medium-rare. If you want yours medium, simply cover the burgers with foil for the ten minute rest period; the meat will continue to cook.
Meanwhile, melt a small amount of butter in the microwave and brush the mixture onto the buns.
Place the buns on the grill for 40 seconds per side, which is just enough to slightly toast them. You may toast further, if so desired. Remove the buns from the grill.
Add your favourite condiments to the burgers and enjoy the TRUE hamburger!
A Final Word
For the perfect sautéed onions, slice one Texas Sweet onion and place in sauté pan on a hot grill rack. Add 4 TBSP of butter, 2 TBSP of White Wine Worcestershire, salt, pepper, 1 TBSP red wine vinegar, 1 TBSP lemon rind and ½ of bottle of good ale (or beer of your choice). Cook the onions until tender, but begin cooking them before you work on the burgers. Remove from grill and serve on top of burger.
Now, so far I’ve been telling you, dear ones, about the truth of the burger; I’ve been leading you into the truth, as it were.
However, if we apply this quest, this search for the truth, to our spiritual lives, we will be at once taken to the presence and promise of the Holy Spirit, the comforter, who, as our Lord did promise, ‘will lead us into all truth’. And being led into all truth, of course, is the gift and sure sign of presence of the Holy Spirit.
I don’t know about you, but I see many forces competing for the truth, both within and peripheral to my own self. The world says happiness is found this way or that way, and I’m tempted to seek fulfillment in things that are passing away. Sometimes – many times – I’m left dazed and confused by what seemed to be so alluring and promising only to find out I’ve been duped by my own selfish ambitions.
But no matter how much I fall for what the world tells me, there is only one truth: ‘There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all’ (Ephesians 4:5).
Thus, anything that takes us away from the Truth of God in Christ, that is, anything that diverts us from Him who ‘is above all and through all and in all’ simply lacks any truth whatsoever. And the Holy Spirit, our comforter and guide, leads us only one way: closer to God!
I mention this because I recently had a spirited encounter with a friend who was considering leaving his wife for a younger woman. He told me he thought God had closed the door on his marriage, it had grown cold and maybe God was calling him to leave his wife for his young secretary. He had really spent quite a bit of time justifying his own behaviour. He reminded me of myself; quite ofen I spend more time justifying my own choices than seeking reconciliation and restoration and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
But I digress…
After I picked up my tongue off the floor, I reminded him that God only opens doors that lead ever closer to His Most Sacred Heart, not towards our own ambitions and desires of the flesh.
With as much pastoral sensitivity as I could gather, I reminded him of St. Paul’s stern warning to the Church at Rome: ‘For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit’ (Rom 8:5-6 RSV).
My point is this: The Holy Spirit leads us to the fullness of the Trinity, not to ourselves. And the Triune God, dear ones, never leads us away from His own revelation in the Sacred Scriptures and the Sacred Tradition of the Church, period.
St. Paul follows up his warning to the Church at Rome with yet another truism: ‘To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace’.
May we, then, set our minds only on things of the Spirit, for in so doing we shall join all the heavenly hosts – those thousand tongues who sing – for they know a lifetime lived in the Spirit of God is truly one of ‘life, and health, and peace’.