Apples, anyone?

We began this month with the feasts of all Saints and all souls. We remember and honour these valiant men and women who showed us how to be truly human and truly divine. As we pray for the repose of our dearly departed may we find comfort in knowing that they remain with us and that life is changed not ended.

At no other season is this change more evident than autumn. I like spring – the promise of new life, the kaleidoscope of flowers in bloom and the longer days. But I love autumn when trees are heavy with fruit and the leaves turn yellow, gold and red, changing their dress each day in glorious russet shades. Early mornings are covered in mist and filled with the heady scent of late summer’s blooms. I love evening walks and lying on the grass, watching the sun go to sleep while birds sing a lullaby. Oh, and the roses in their second bloom. I love harvesting the fruits of the earth – potatoes, beans, berries from brambles, etc. I love climbing apple trees (we have six which have been here for ages, and two planted a couple of years ago that are already bearing fruit) and picking juicy, crisp, pink, red and green apples and windfalls. Ah, the thrill of life bursting at the seams.

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Nothing can beat a freshly picked apple for breakfast or lunch or a snack. This year’s bumper crop (we’ve stored more than enough until spring) also allowed me to experiment on different recipes. Have you tried fried apples, grilled apples, roasted pork with apples and potatoes? Or the scrumptious tarte tatin (served warm with vanilla ice cream)? I’ve made blackberry and apple jam, apple jelly, caramelized apples, apple crumble, apple pie, apple tart, stewed apples, roasted apples, apple sauce, etc. I even tried it with fried rice – yummy! I’ve also learned how to freeze apples and am about to make apple crisps.  (If you’re interested, just let me know and I’ll pass on some recipes. Or if you have some really good ones, please tell me about it!) We’ve been sharing the apples with friends, the workers doing the renovation of the convent and even the horses grazing near the church (thanks to MaryLou for the photos with my four-legged friend).

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Such abundance gave me a deeper understanding of give us this day our daily bread in the Our Father. We ask not only for food each day but also for knowledge and skill so that we can make the most of God’s bounty, especially for winter months when everything seems to die. This involves study, work, the generosity to share and a lot of fun! Isn’t it exciting to create something new or transform raw materials into works of art? Or in this case a delight to the palate.  In the midst of abundance one can just let nature’s gifts go to waste or throw away what one doesn’t want or notice at all (like buying berries from the supermarket when you have them in your own backyard).  It is very easy to take things for granted and forget to share with others one’s good fortune. For Paulines, it’s two of the Ps in the vow of poverty – providing and preserving.

The spiritual life is the same. God is constantly giving us graces – it is up to us to be aware and grasp the wonders, the marvels and the gifts he lavishes on us. It requires attentiveness and openness to receive. But how does one store up treasures for heaven, where neither moth destroy nor rust corrode? How do I gather them up and what preservatives do I use? What chemical processes do they require? Should I put them in special containers? The Gospel phrase that comes to mind is: “Give and it shall be given you, pressed down, gathered together, running over will they flow into the fold of your garment, for the measure you measure with will be measured back to you.” Both in the natural and spiritual realm, it is in sharing the gifts and spending one’s self that one is nourished…

I’ve also been busy in the apostolate with recently released new titles and trying some things on the web. I’ll tell you about it in the next post. We also had a book exhibit at a Religious Education Teachers’ Conference last month.  The teachers showed great enthusiasm in their work and in the resources that we had on display. It was a very enriching experience and an eye-opener. Although most of us immediately identify religious education with the Christian faith, it actually refers to informing  children about different world religions. In pluralistic Britain religious education means teaching Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc., with Christianity as one of the topics among many. Very challenging for the teacher and the Pauline apostolate indeed! Prayers, please.

I was reading about why leaves change their colour at this time. No amount of scientific explanation can subtract from the spectacular display of autumn. As the temperature drops, nights lengthen and golden leaves carpet the grass I hear the Master’s invitation to celebrate life as it unfolds.

Praise to our ever-changing God whose love never changes!

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About rosefsp

I am a religious sister (yes, a nun!) from the Daughters of St Paul whose mission is to share the Good News. I love to read, write and take photos.
This entry was posted in Musings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Apples, anyone?

  1. coco says:

    hi, seng. thanks for the reflections, so full of life and hope and for the amazing pictures. Great!!! thanks so much and thanks to God who created these wonderful things for us to enjoy and to treasure. take care.

  2. mayanfsp says:

    hi sr. oseng, i had a good bite of your “apple reflections”. warm regards and prayers…

  3. Tess Espina says:

    Dear Oseng,

    Thank you for your insights on the apples… so fresh, full of sap and ever green! The love of God unfolds day by day, always new…something to behold and to treasure but it needs grace to see and feel them even in the humdrum realities of life. Regards… Tess

  4. shalimarfsp says:

    hello sr. oseng, what lovely thoughts you’ve written here. i never imagined apples could be enjoyed in so many varied ways – yes, very much like our Pauline religious life that is so rich and so beautiful in ways only God could make possible.
    all the best to your work and looking forward to your next reflection.
    love and prayers…

  5. Rufa Luzoraga says:

    Hi Oseng,

    Beautiful reflection. I hope I can watch autumn too and the bounty of fruits.
    I love your write ups. Keep going.

    Love you always my sister in Christ.

  6. Francis Gustilo SDB says:

    Hi, kapatid.

    Wonder of wonders, your reflection comes at a most appropriate time. I’m here in Western Samoa about to give a training seminar to our young priests of Australia and Oceania. I’ve known some three of them before but the other six guys are completely new acquaintances.

    Your suggestive thoughts tell me to venture to experience the newness of this moment – nature and individuals, culture and people. I’ve holed myself for some two and half days now in my room because I needed to prepare myself well for the seminar. I realize I might be missing out on the learning opportunities because I am wishing to succeed at all cost on my craft – my comfort zone.

    I wish you could share this with my dear friend from the UK Fr Michael Winstanley who is not well. I heard from my Superior General that he had a trombosis while preaching a retreat in Canada and almost lost his life. After some medical interventions, he was able to resume his preaching and was even able to risk it to go back to the UK despite the possibility of an aneurism happening in his brain. He’s taking a good rest in Canterbury but I know for sure something like what you’ve written would be very helpful for him.

    I’ll send you his email address so you can send him your “Glistening on the Grass” regularly. Address him a line or two of comfort and consolation. It will surprise him somehow.

    Take care, my dear friend.

    Buddy

  7. ppp says:

    Sister, thanks for the various apple receipes, the beautiful description of autumn and the touching reflections on how to use grace and maximize it for others.

    Can I ask for your apple pie receipe? thanks so much. and I enjoy very much the pictures. Perfect autumn shots.

  8. LOURDES RAMIREZ-MAAT says:

    Hi Sis Rose,

    I shared your apples tonight with my better half Elmer, you know him, our high school
    mate, he remember that you went home here in the Philippines this year but I’m in Singapore when he got a chance to spoke to you, is this true, are you the one that he’s referring? If that’s true, i missed it!

    Thank you for always remembering me when you want to share your reflections and it
    really helped me strengthen our Catholic Faith…love it so much!
    God is soooo Gooood…Missed you sis in Christ, hope to see you again.

    • rosefsp says:

      Hi, Des,
      Yes! It was indeed a pity I didn’t get to meet you or any of our classmates – We were also busy with the 50th wedding anniversary celebration of my parents last June.
      Next time I come home, that’ll be 2012, let’s find time to meet with Pepot, Judith, etc, OK? And maybe some of our co-Arellanites?
      Bless you!

  9. Liz Fairless says:

    Hi sr Rose
    Thank you so much for sending your beautiful pictures as well as your reflection on the abundance of God’s provisions for us. I’m now quite hungry!
    every blessing,
    Liz

  10. sr let says:

    Hi rose!
    Thanks for sharing not only ideas, opinions, experiences, but also life, adventure, wonders of each new day that God offers as a sign of his presence.
    I would like to try your apple recipes, but wonder though when and where to find the time.
    Anyway, your articles bring me, wonder, hope and a sense of celebration….. gratitude above all else!

  11. Fr Mario says:

    Wow, ang galing naman. I am still here in my little room in Davao City, wishing I could also go into the worldwide web, as you are doing. Anyway, I may not have the apples you have. But we have our bananas and tomatoes and rice and cassava and corn. We are trying our best to empower farmers so that they may appreciate God’s treasures in the soil they till, the water that flows, and the sun that rises each day. They may be so much poverty outside, but deep inside every farmer, I am sure that there are inner forces that can unfold into new discoveries and recipes. How I wish I could be God’s instrument to trigger those inner forces! Keep up…

    • rosefsp says:

      Thanks for your comments.
      Madali lang po – ikaw pa na ang galing-galing mo. Just go to wordpress.com and all the tutorials, tips, hints are there to guide you each step of the way. And it doesn’t really take that long either.
      You are indeed God’s instrument, in more ways than you realize, for the growth of his reign…
      Praying for you.

  12. rosefsp says:

    Thanks for all your comments – it’s heartening to know you’re reading this space, and that somehow or other glimpses of grace shine through. Salamat sa Diyos!

    How I wish you were nearby so I can invite you here and share with you our apples and more. Pictures na lang muna, for now… Hanggang sa muli.

  13. helen agtarap says:

    Hi Ate,
    Thank you for such a beautiful reflection and for the reminder that one can only be nourished by giving and self-emptying.
    I love you ate, miss driving home with you by my side.
    Praying for you…..

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