Wednesday, July 13, 2011

While Barbecuing, To Whom to Pray

Last night we enjoyed a dinner at friends'. Through the too wide slots in his grill was the host offering involuntarily burnt offerings, and we had to decide to whom they were being offered. Of course, if you know your Old Testament, you know that YHWH alone gets the first fruits. We began to wonder who the pagans would think of in this case. (I learned about these individual deities from Augustine's City of God, which, believe it or not, is a font of information on such things.) Who was the Roman god of meat? Ceres was the god of grain, Neptune, I am guessing, of fish, Bacchus of wine, and Vulcan of fire.

But to whom did those pagan offer their way-ward hot dogs? Apparently, Hermes (aka Mercury) was the god of animal husbandry (as well as a million other things). Faunus (aka Lepurcus) was the protector of cattle and Faustitas of herds of livestock. Fornax was the god of ovens, and so I assume of b-b-qs too. If you were having lamb, then it was Pales who would be the object of concern. So there you have it.

Now we that we recognize that everything is God's and all the gods of the nations are demons, yet while recognizing that He deigns to dignify the heavenly host as agents of His mercy, we must ask, while barbecuing, to whom ought we direct our prayers for success? Ever into irony, the Holy Catholic Church, of course, looks to St. Lawrence as the patron saint of barbecuing. More generally for cooks, we have with Lawrence, Sts. Macarius the Younger and Martha. If you are doing much meat preparation, you'll want to seek the blessing of St. Adrian of Nicomedia, the patron of butchers.

Of course, if things do not go well at the barbecue - which was not the case last night - you might want to beseech St. Agapitus' intercession, the patron saint of abdominal pain.


  1. I think I can guess at whose house you ate.

  2. haha. Not too many would discuss these things, eh?!