In all Stages of Life, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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O Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests; for Your unfaithful and tepid priests; for Your priests laboring at home  or abroad in distant mission fields or in fields of war; for Your tempted priests; for Your lonely and desolate priest; for Your young priests; for Your dying priests; for the souls of Your priests in purgatory.

But above all I recommend to You the priests dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I attend and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy communion; the priests who taught and instructed me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way.

O Jesus, keep them all close to Your heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

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Goldfinches, Illumination, and Elections

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I’m really not very political and just barely politically correct.  But still, I wonder what the results will be of the upcoming state elections, and also the local proposals. I try to make informed decisions but tend to give up about half way through the learning curve, feeling less illuminated than when I started. I have found over the years that after an election, what I’d hoped was accurate information was advertising in the name of game and gain.

Truth is important to me. Not the appearance of truth or relative truth, or a proposed truth stretched so thin it becomes transparent. Is it so because everybody wants it to be? Or is it so because it is claimed true in the name of God? Does anyone really carry the full light of truth? I doubt it. So…how do I weigh truth?

I remember a couple of months ago several Goldfinches rocketing across the backyard. I wondered if there was a disagreement about whose yard it was. Typical of these lively little birds, they are unconcerned about my purpose or presence in what they have claimed as their territory. They continued to dart about and I wondered if it was a sort of Goldfinch-game. I watched them flittering and listened to them titter from the lower limbs of the Sunburst Honeylocust tree.

That day was a yellow day. Yellow is pure, a primary color and according to research evokes energy and illumination, and brings awareness and clarity to the mind. Besides the yellow finches, the narrow leaves of the locust were vivid chartreuse, flowering nearby in light-gold the Rudbeckia ‘Irish Eyes’, and the Lemon Drop daylily was in all its glory.

The little birds continued darting about the yard; one of them repeatedly landed on the top of an empty daylily stalk and reached for the seed head of a nearby grass. The stalk looked as though it was strong enough to bear the weight of the tiny finch but was too weak to do so. The little bird rode the not-so-sturdy stalk downward, and then flew off to a tree branch. It looked at the frond of grass seeds, flew again to the daylily stalk beside it, and again rode it downward. The truth is, no matter how often the finch comes to the stalk, the daylily stem will not bear its weight.

Reflecting on that yellow day I now wonder… How often do I latch onto something too weak to bear the weight of truth? Do I continue to land in the same place in hopes that the more I try, the better my chances are of the situation changing?

I’d like to think I’m smarter than a goldfinch. But I can see that sometimes a simple truth is evident in the smallest of things. Just because I want it to be so doesn’t mean it will hold up under the weight of reality.

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10/12

For the Aged or Ill Sisters and Nuns, Tuesday’s Prayer

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Lord our God, you have called our Sisters and Nuns to serve you and one another in love. Bless our sick Sisters and Nuns today so that they may bear their illness in union with Jesus’ sufferings and restore them quickly to health.

Bless those holy women who have grown old in your service and give them courage and strength in their faith as they approach your eternity.

Lead them all to eternal glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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To Thirst for Mass, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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O my God, pour forth upon thy priests the spirit of sacrifice in its fullness. It is their glory as much as their duty to be victims, to consume themselves for souls, to often live without human joys, to often undergo mistrust, injustice, and persecution.

May they reflect upon what they say each day at the altar: “This is My Body; this is My Blood.”  May they reflect on it and apply it to themselves:  “I am no longer myself, I am Jesus, and Jesus crucified. I am, like the bread and wine, a consecrated substance which has ceased to be itself”

O my God, I burn with the desire of the sanctification of Thy priests…May they keep in their entire person the habit of their noble functions. May one find them simple and great, like the Host, accessible to all and superior to other men.

O my God, make them carry away from the Mass of today the thirst for the Mass of tomorrow, and may each of them, filled with gifts received, have the grace to communicate them generously to others. Amen.

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Broken and In Need to be Carried

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The seeds of fox-tail grass and Queen Ann’s Lace are ripe and fallen into the flower beds. The perennials that survived the summer’s drought have gone dormant, their dull wilted leaves droop against other plants and fallen branches from the locust tree. The brown-eyed Susan’s are dried out; their black buds and crinkly leaves snarled with rampant bind weed.

Looking at the scene my emotions move from my chest to my throat and I feel myself tearing up. This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at my yard with dismay. The enormity of the mess and the side-effects of medication leave me feeling despondent. But what can I do?

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by emotions. There isn’t a woman among us who hasn’t had the mental turmoil associated with hormones…though admitting to it is another thing. Or the man who hasn’t at one point in his life, turned his face away, hiding a flush of emotions.

There are times when our feelings escape our control, whether of love, sadness, fear, or anger. We are faced with situations where we can’t hide what is going through our hearts. We must figure out how to work through the challenges, adjusting to a new way.

I remember when I was ten an athletic young man in the neighborhood, who was helping my father unload a truck, had both of his legs crushed below the knee by a freak accident—the brake-lines of the semi-truck blew, pinning him.

I watched this strong young man after he came home from the hospital. I saw that when you are broken you depend on somebody else to lift you. His initial frustration and anger by the loss only lessened when he accepted his situation. He had a loving family to hold and hug him in his suffering as he healed. He had “buddies” that carried him up and from and through his limitations. He found humor as a way to be at peace with what he could not do.

Family and strong buddies are good. But what about those of us who are single, without family or supportive friends? Who do we turn to when there is no one to hold us, hug and console us, or lift us up and through? How do we find someone to manage a portion of our life that we cannot? I don’t know the answers yet. I’m trying to figure this out along the way.

I am touched by the beauty of love when I see a needy soul embraced in the circling arms of another. Whether in tears of joy or of sorrow, they are cradled and supported in their humanness.

I can imagine Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene embracing each other with joyful tears as the Christ’s miracle of feeding the thousands unfolded. I can also imagine them at the foot of the cross collapsing together in each others arms in anguish at the suffering of their beloved Jesus.

We share with the Holy and among ourselves a common thread of emotions. Our spouses, family and close friends help us to navigate and embrace our feelings more fully. Sometimes, as with what I am facing now, we turn to Our Lord to help us find someone that can assist us in our need.

For me, I need to find a gardener, and a gardener-of-the-heart, to help me get things back in order. Maybe after that I can return to my gardens and again walk them in peace.

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10/12

As Missionaries, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Dear Loving God our Father, Merciful Jesus our Brother, Holy Mother Mary, our world is in such turmoil. The sufferings of your children are great, their diseases of body, the persecutions that sicken the heart and soul, seem insurmountable.

We pray to you that our missionary Sisters and Nuns do not succumb to the despair of the people so desperately in need of their strength.

We pray they do not fall victim to the same diseases of body, and fear in their hearts that surrounds them in their service as your hands — your presence in our stricken world.

Lord we pray for the protection of their souls, the strength of their minds, and continued courage in their hearts.

Amen.

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Send us Good and Holy Religious, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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O Jesus, Good Shepherd, who have come to save what was lost, you have established the priesthood of the Holy Church, so that the work of Redemption might be perpetuated. We ask you urgently: send laborers into your vineyard! Give your Holy Church worthy and holy priests. Give your Holy Church religious brothers and sisters. Grant that all those whom you have chosen from all eternity may follow your call. Do not allow anyone who is unworthy to ascend the steps of the altar.

Confirm all priests and religious in their difficult vocation and bless their efforts and labors. Grant that they may be the salt of the earth which preserves from corruption and that they may be the light of the world which enlightens the faithful by their words and example. Grant them wisdom, patience and fortitude in order that they may promote your honor, propagate your Kingdom in the hearts of men, and guide the souls which have been entrusted to them to eternal life.

Amen

Prayer shared from https://www.praymorenovenas.com/

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Intimate Prayers in a Garden

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Gardening at home is a private thing; it’s when I look really bad and after a lot of it, smell even worse. It is something I have always done alone…for more than the obvious above-mentioned reasons. It feels similar to being in the Adoration chapel, and a time of intimate conversation with God. In the garden I feel as if I can touch Him, lay my hands upon His very skin. I find it to be a very personal and sensory connection with the Creator. I remember getting goose-bumps the first time I read this verse by Edna St. Vincent Millay, “God, I can push the grass apart and lay my finger on thy heart.” I still get all bubbly inside when I read it.

Working in the gardens at the retreat center with volunteers is different, like going to Mass; it is a public gathering as community. We present ourselves differently at church by our dress, interactions with one another, and our way of being present with God.

There is a willing vulnerability when praying alone with Our Lord, and like most private conversations, a freedom within that seclusion. I remember a close friend explaining his sense of being vulnerable when he married and knelt down to pray for the first time with his wife at his side. His hesitancy of being that exposed to another person, a nakedness of soul if you will, took some time to get over. I know I have boldness in private prayer that I would be hard pressed to reveal in the presence of another.

This boldness is present when I garden, too. The conversation is not a monologue either. I listen, or try to, for the whisper of insight.

I remember a time when that intimacy with God in my garden was about to change.

Three friends, volunteers from the gardening society at the retreat center, were coming to my gardens. They had become aware of my increasing physical limitations from an arthritic spine, and the loss of strength in my arms. I was grateful, humbled, humiliated, tearful, and awash with a whole lot of emotions. I was feeling exposed and opened to being judged by the state of my gardens. After all, I was the St. Francis Garden Society Coordinator and people had expectations of amazing landscape designs on the property of such a person. I was humbled that my prayers for help were answered, and so quickly, and surprised by the anxiety of what that answer involved.

I would have to let go of my hermetic tendencies and learn a way to be willing and accepting of others in my private life.  I would learn about receiving charity with the same joy in which I gave it. I had to disarm the shame I felt for being the one in need.

My friends came, they dug and cleared the mess in a dozen gardens. As they toiled in my yard I did what I could do, and made them fresh tomato soup from what was picked off the vines that grew among the weeds.

I worked hard too, to figure out how to manage the coexistence of anxiety and gratefulness that swirled in my heart. Answered prayers are sometimes disconcerting even while they are full of grace.

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For New Communities, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

 

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Come Holy Spirit and guide our Sisters and Nuns in the formation of new communities.

In their venture let them be free of the anxieties that distance them from trusting in God to provide.  Help deepen their confidence in one another during uncertain times. In humility let them feel Christ’s presence in all that they do. Lead them to persevere with resolve to do God’s will.

In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

 

Image by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB, all rights reserved.