A Most Austere Prayer

Let us pray:

O Father, who art in Heaven,
Rescue us from worldly temptations
Such as fresh bread
Purchased from a good local bakery
Sliced and toasted golden brown on the outside
And the ruination of a soft pillowy crumb within,
Slathered with softened butter and preserves,
Or topped with an egg fried Spanish-style
In a quarter inch of olive oil
Until the edges are brown and crispy.
O Lord, rescue us from such temptations,
That we may focus on carrying out Your will.

O Father, protect us from the deviancy of pasta,
Whether noodles or extruded into shapes,
Whether coated in a rich cream sauce
Or a tomato sauce infused with herbs
Or just some garlic sauteed in olive oil
Or even boxed fluorescent orange mac and cheese.
O Lord, cast pasta away from our mouths
That You may speak the gospels through us.

And potatoes, O Holy Father, potatoes!
Those high-glycemic apples of the underworld.
As the Grace of Your only Son’s blood sacrifice
Rich in tannins, with signifiers of blackberries and red currents,
Underscored with notes of dried red florals and salted dark chocolate,
Hath cleansed mankind of our sins,
Thus we ask for Your Grace and Strength
In resisting finely mashed potatoes whipped in buttermilk
Or oven-baked potatoes broiled until crispy on top
Or potatoes chopped and fried with onions and herbs
Or even potatoes zapped in the microwave
Served with sour cream and pepper
But most of all from chips,
Nasty chips !
Nasty perditious chips !
The Prince of Lies whispers in our ear
That one chip will be enough,
That one taste will be enough,
But as with all sins, O Lord,
One sin follows another
Until the entire bag is empty.
Close our ears to these lies, O Father!
Make these susurrations as discordant as chainsaws
As children screaming in restaurants
As neighbors renovating the apartment upstairs
So that we may not be tempted
By salt and vinegar chips
By dill pickle chips
By hickory smoke chips
By sour cream and onion chips
By those ketchup chips they sell in Canada
By cracked pepper chips
By any potato chip of any flavor anywhere.
Already potatoes led our Irish brethren to famine
Please Lord, do not allow them to claim another soul.

O Father, spare us from tortilla chips also,
Whether salted and plain
Or loaded up with sour cream
And refried beans
And salsa
And salsa verde
And guacamole
And grated cheese melted under a broiler
And maybe olives on top.
As Your Son resisted his three temptations in the desert
May we resist the temptations of loaded nachos
And thus carry out Your Will.

We look to You, O Lord
And place our hearts and souls in Your Care.
Please lend us Your strength
That we may be well prepared
For St Peter’s measuring tape
And St Peter’s bathroom scale.
Shield us from temptation
So we may join You
In our eternal reward:
Plates of steamed green vegetables,
Half-scoops of cottage cheese,
And on occasion
Bits of stale dry Melba toast.
Amen.