The bread is in the oven. The delicious aroma has brought every child of mine into the kitchen. "What is for dinner?" they inquire. All eyes are fixed on me and their lips are curved in a smile. Looking back at them I answer, "A special potato soup. The making of this soup can make one a saint!" Ears perked up and eyes full of questions, they stay and await the rest of the story. My soul is giggling deep inside of me as I watch each one of them gathers close to the counter.
And the story begins: Once upon a time there was a family blessed with six little souls. They played together and learned together and they all loved God very much and wanted to be saints. It was a cold and gray day outside their house, but inside the warmth was inviting and the smell of dark brown bread was so thick and delicious you could taste the bread without even eating it! The children opened the pantry and found a basket of a most lovely buttery yellow pomme de terre, or in vernacular: potatoes! And because they were a prayerful kind of lot they had to stop and see the love of God in each little potato while they washed them and scrub them. The joy of their pure hearts radiated as they worked. How blessed they felt washing the potatoes, working as wee stewards in God's wonderful kingdom. They have learned that when we do work with our hands we sanctify ourselves and in the process bring out the magic of whatever we are touching. So you now see why they were so excited scrubbing the potatoes; for them, they were more precious than diamonds.
One of my little boys suggested that as they peel the potatoes they can count all the gifts that an ordinary day has to give. Peel....the gift of water, peel....warm socks, peel....rain, peel....the rooster crowing, and so on as they went on peeling and growing in saintliness. After the potatoes were peeled it was time for them to be cut in small pieces. Their mommy did that and as they watch her they were chanting the words of mercy and love: "Jesus Christ son of God have mercy on me a sinner!" And the words came out from their lips from the depth of their wee souls and sanctified their work, their soul and their home.
Peeling garlic was another magical thing. Brothers and sisters piling the tough shells of the adorable looking bulbs and the fun to see how many wee little garlic babies they can count at the end. What a great and amazing thing this garlic bulb was and what a sanctifying job it had! Who would have thought that it will be a bulb used to say prayers for others in need? But as each tiny garlic clove came out, so the prayers for a soul in need fell out of their mouths like dew on the grass.
As they filled the pot of water they were overjoyed with how a simple gift as water can bring new life out in the garden, sustain a man in his thirst, and how out of waters we come out new souls as white as the snow in the winter. When the soup was quietly bubbling away to perfection their mother read to them a old favorite written by a Saint:
“Do whatever falls to your hands,
in your circle and in your situation–
and believe that this is and will be your true work;
nothing more from you is expected.
It is a great error to think that you must
undertake important and great labours,
whether for heaven, or, as the progressives think,
in order to make one’s contribution to humanity.
That is not necessary at all. It is necessary only
to do everything in accordance with the Lord’s commandments.
Just exactly what is to be done? Nothing in particular,
just that which presents itself to each one
according to the circumstances of his life,
and which is demanded by the individual events
with which each of us meets.”
~ St. Theophan the Recluse from “The Spiritual Life
The bread was out of the oven. And my six little blessings were resting after the peeling and cutting and all things needed for sanctification. Their souls were stirred by love and their hands were guided by their desire to be Saints! All was quiet for a while except the soup bubbling happy away. What a privilege for a soup to be a part of the amazing process in which souls are made for Heaven!