About Me

My photo
Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Brownie Theology

I felt sort of bad that my eyes glazed over when Sister St. Aloysius was explaining how making brownies on All Souls Day was the ultimate sacrifice for her so I asked her about it again. It was wonderful that I did that, because the consequent suffering on my behalf had to have blown the roof off Purgatory, at least for the half an hour that followed.

She explained that the more uncomfortable she made herself, whether purposefully or by accident, the more she could offer for the Poor Souls. Giving away her favorite treat is just the top of the iceberg. She didn't actually assign a value for her sacrifices, but I will, in order to explain her thinking.

I'm not sure if it's not more math than theology but here goes:

How to Score Sister St. Aloysius' Suffering:

1. The Brownies are made from scratch. 100 points.
If you use a mix, it's a tablespoon of water and an egg, stir, blob into a pan. Voila! Delicious brownies. Made from scratch, the brownies involve melting chocolate pieces (on my really clean stove, 50 points for me), and quite a few more ingredients that must be measured.

2. She measured everything. 100 points.
Sister Saint Aloysius is one of those natural cooks who doesn't measure much of anything left to her own devices.

3. She gives the brownies away. 100 points.
She loves brownies more than anything but will not so much as taste the batter or lick anything off her fingers.

Now, we can't really award points to suffering, but here's how her theory works if we were to break it down mathmatically:

If she were to have simply make brownies from a box she would only make 100 points for having given them away (#3). She likes to cook and brownies from a box are an enjoyable easy treat.

Now she has 300 points instead of 100 points because she added #1 and #2.

She purposely made the brownies from a recipe she had never seen before so she would be forced to measure everything. That ups the points for #2. I'll add 50.

She was made the brownies from a very promising recipe she found in a fancy magazine she saw in the doctor's office while waiting for Sister Mary Fiacre's cholesterol results, making the no taste/give away factor all the more high. I'll add another 75.

She burned her thumb. hmmmm..........25 points..........it wasn't bad. She was joyful about it. 25 more points.

She spilled flour down the front of herself and was very upset about how stupid she was for not wearing an apron. Minus 10 points.

She worked even more slowly with no apron and made sure she didn't spill anything else on herself just to make it harder. Plus 15 points.

Teddy loves chocolate. I know animals aren't supposed to eat chocolate, but Teddy eats chocolate whenever he can get away with it and he's not dead yet. Maybe it's only dogs who aren't supposed to eat it. Maybe every time he eats it he's giving up one of his nine lives. She gave the spoon to Teddy. The spoon that had the only taste of the fabulous new recipe on board. The wonderfulness of it was not even lost on Teddy who can purr really, really loudly.

Listening to Teddy purr over the chocolate, 30 points. Feeling jealousy toward a cat, minus 40.

(I am often jealous of Teddy. No one can sleep like that guy.)

It didn't end there. The brownies smell great when they're cooking, they have to cool and be cut and wrapped up to give away. 300 more points.

She made a double batch. This doubles all the points she has received so far.

She wrapped each brownie individually to give away, 300 more points. She used that horrible cling wrap that constantly clings to itself. 1000 points. It was the expensive decorated kind. Minus 50 points.

She was very proud of her beautiful, individually wrapped, made from scratch from a fancy recipe brownies. Minus 400.

She saved one brownie out for Sister Mary Fiacre. Plus 400.

What's her score?

I don't know.

It doesn't matter since I made it up anyhow and since we don't even know how much suffering it would take to free a soul,the math is all moot.

I do understand her thinking, although it gave me a headache. Oh joy! 500 points.


Anonymous said...

That photo of Teddy cracked me up! He looks like he has been spooked or something, maybe he has a tummy ache from all the chocolate he is eating? Anyway, I loved the "brownie points system". You are a creative soul!

You know, I find it curious that you (Catholics) think you can pray one out of purgatory. I have always heard that, but since I didn't grow up in the Catholic religion it just seems a bit hard for me to grasp. In my religion you have to repent for your sins done before you die and all you have to do is believe in Jesus dying for our sins and then you get to go to heaven. I just find it interesting how different religions interpret things differently. We all want to go to the same place in the end, we are just finding different ways to get there?


Sister Mary Martha said...

so let me get this straight...I kill you, say I'm sorry and go to heaven? Shouldn't I have a better understanding of my evil act before I get to heaven?


I go about my merry life 'believing in Jesus" and walking by all the homeless people judging them as winos and stepping into Target to buy a new set of coffee mugs with chihuahuas on them and go home to watch "The Bachelor" and I'm still going straight to heaven? What a good deal!!!!!

It is just this sort of thinking that leads me to worry about the possibilty of a future war in heaven.

Tracy said...

Sister, Teddy looks like my cat, Angel. She's not a real angel. We just call her that. If she were a real angel, she wouldn't pee in the kitchen so often. Or at all.

Something has been bothering me ever since I began reading your online essays, and it's not the possibility of a war in Heaven. How, exactly, does one pronounce "Fiacre"? Not having ever heard the name spoken aloud, I can only imagine it would be something like fee-AY-cur, but that sounds too strange to be right. Please enlighten me, Sister!

Sister Mary Martha said...

I'm not sure how the French might actually pronounce it, but we say "Fee-AH- cra". The saint's name is also French slang for taxicab. I believe the story is here somewhere.

Kasia said...

Can Teddy offer up his displeasure at having been covered in that blue blanket? He looks pretty unhappy...

dutch said...

This Protestant would like a brownie.
Please Sister?

Tracy said...

Thank you, Sister! That's one less thing to keep me awake at night. :)

The Crescat said...

imagine if the penance points Sr Fiacre could gain by shipping those, to say... oh, I don't know... Charlotte NC c/o ME!

Tim said...

Teddy looks drunk or crazed!

Arkanabar Ilarsadin said...

I don't know for sure one way or another about cats, but cocoa/cacao in any form is toxic to dogs.

pelecypods said...

Love this story and picture of cat. I like Sister St.Aloysius make brownies but cannot eat them, I just make and give away. I love chocolate but it don't love me.

Donna. W said...

I had never read this entry, Thanks for linking to it! Funny stuff, sister. By the way, I've given bites of chocolate to every dog I ever had with no ill results. Oh, they all die, but the deaths are unrelated to chocolate.
(From one of the separated brethren)