Christ the Bridegroom John Burger | Apr 10, 2017 - Eastern Hospitality' showcases recipes from a monastery kitchen and food for thought from spiritual masters.

At a time when Christians are supposed to be “giving up stuff,” what are a monk and a nun doing in the kitchen cooking tasty meals?

All Lent long, the two religious have been producing weekly cooking programs, tempting viewers to think about food rather than encouraging them to practice self-denial.

But there’s more to their web-based program, Eastern Hospitality, than meets the palate.

Reminiscent of other religious-themed cookbooks and TV programs — such as Brother Victor Antoine’s monastery recipes or Father Leo Patalinghug’s Grace Before Meals — Eastern Hospitality blends simple recipes with food for thought. Each web-based program, running between 15 and 30 minutes, brings in a guest speaker to offer a spiritual reflection. Both the cooking and the reflection are tied to the current religious season or upcoming commemoration.

But it all takes on an Eastern flavor, since it’s produced by Eastern Catholic religious—hence the name. The hosts, Mother Gabriela and Abouna Moses, follow religious practices with roots in the Orthodox Church.

And though the vehicle for their message involves cooking, the aim the two have is to help people better integrate religious practices, including fasting, prayer and charity, into their daily lives.

“I think we’re trying to encourage people to live the faith by practicing the traditions of the Church,” said Abouna (or Father) Moses, who is a monk at Holy Resurrection Monastery in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin. “Those have been lost over the years for all kinds of reasons, so we’re trying to help people reconnect with the traditions.”

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Teachings of Christ

'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:53-54 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing." (Proverbs 9:13 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

If you want, or rather intend, to take a splinter out of another person, then do not hack at it with a stick instead of a lancet, for you will only drive it in deeper. And this is a stick – rude speech and rough gestures. And this is a lancet – tempered instruction and patient reprimand. “Reprove,” says the Apostle, “rebuke, exhort,” but he did not say “beat” (2 Timothy 4:2). And if even this is required, do it rarely, and not with your own hand.

St. John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent", Step 8, On Freedom From Anger and On Meekness