Pope Saint John Paul II, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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This is more than a prayer just for priests, but for all religious..so let us pray:

Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of God, to you we turn. With your “yes” you have opened the door to the presence of Christ in the world, in history and in souls, receiving in humble silence and total submission the appeal of the Most High.

Grant that many men and women may know and hear, even today, the inviting voice of your Son: “Follow Me”. Stretch out your motherly hand over all missionaries scattered throughout the world, over religious men and women who assist the elderly, the sick, the deficient, the orphans; over those who are engaged in teaching, over the members of secular institutes, the silent leaven of good works; over those who in the cloister live on faith and love and beg for the salvation of the world. Amen.

~ Pope St. John Paul II

Image by Anaterate at pixabay.com.

Guided Past Hell

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November offers a unique spirituality in the prayers for the deceased. In the northern hemisphere we experience the dormancy of nature, a seasonal dying back to new life in spring. The cycle in nature of death and new life is reflected in our Catholic tradition. November is the month to remember the dead and their in-between time in purgatory, waiting new life in heaven.

In an article at Aleteia I wrote about dying, and my comfort with the strange grace of purgatory. Another thought that comes to mind is the accompaniment of our soul by the angels and saints as it leaves the body.

I’ve often been curious why this would be necessary. If the soul is meant for heaven wouldn’t it be drawn to God, like a sliver of metal to a magnet?

In the soul’s journey from the body—and earth—does it, in its most vulnerable state, need to be protected through enemy territory? Does it need to be protected from evil principalities that may try to snatch it at its weakest, when fear and uncertainty are at their peak?

The Catechism (CCC 1864) teaches that sin against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable. Is this the sin we face with our last breath of whether or not to accept Mercy? I wonder if the angels and saints come to us as an affirmation of heaven when the forces of evil, at our final moment, attempt to cloud our certainty of forgiveness and thereby gain our hell.

On the Roman Catholic calendar, the Feast of the Archangels is on September 29 and that of our Guardian Angels a few days later on October 2. Celebrating the person of angels may take place a few weeks ahead, but I come to appreciate their existence even more as I pray in November for souls in transition; in the process of departing their body.

I’ve nothing concrete to base this answer, and pray my words do not conflict with the teachings of the Magisterium. I believe Our Lord in his deep love for the soul, offers it protection along the final road lined with thieves. As always, we must choose to trust His gift.

Image William-Adolphe Bouguereau [Public domain USA], via Wikimedia Commons. 

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 Adege at pixabay.com.

In Time and in Eternity, 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.

Image by Ania Opoka at Pixabay.com,

For the Birds; Nourishing the Least of God’s Creatures

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Feeding the birds during the winter is an activity a lot of people delight in. Through the years, I’ve picked up several feeder tips on how to attend to the needs of birds and deter marauding squirrels. Here are just a few…

Larger bird feeders are a convenience—you don’t have to fill them as often as the smaller ones. One issue with their size is that the seeds don’t always flow out to the edges where the birds can reach. A trick I picked up years ago uses a clear disposable 5-ounce cup (or a 7-ounce cup cut in half around the circumference). Before filling the feeder, turn the cup upside-down and center it in the bottom. Add seed, initially holding the cup in place, until feeder is filled. The seed will slide away from the plastic cup and toward the edges of the feeder.

Thistle seed is a favorite of finches and is eaten more in late winter and early spring…so keep this tip in mind. Filling a finch feeder with thistle seeds can be messy, especially if you use a mesh sock feeder. Here is a way to make that task easier by repurposing a watering can that leaks: remove the rose head on the spout—it might twist off or you might need to cut it off—then add seed and pour it out the spout into the sock feeder.

Peanut butter coated pine cones covered in seeds is a favorite winter food of many birds. Creating these feeders has often been a messy and time consuming activity until I read this tip that makes the project less of a challenge. Select cones that will easily fit into the wide mouth of a plastic peanut butter jar. Tie a string around the top of the cone. Remove the label from the jar and with a permanent marker write “birds” near the top and on the lid. Place the jar in a pan of simmering water until peanut butter is melted. Using a microwave will often melt and warp the plastic jar. When the peanut butter is melted, swirl the cone into the peanut butter until coated, and then roll it in a bowl of bird seed. Set the cone on wax paper to harden. I usually precut the wax paper to fit around each cone and use it to wrap the cone for storage.

We’ve all experienced the challenges of squirrels at our bird feeders. If you use a pole feeder, buying a baffle for it can be costly. Repurpose a metal Slinky instead. Secure one end of the Slinky to the bottom of an empty bird feeder around the flange that attaches to the pole. When you reattach the feeder the Slinky will slide down the pole. The moving wire of the Slinky confuses squirrels and keeps them from climbing up to the feeder.

Birds flock to a winter garden that has water available. Where I live, USDA Zone 5, using an electric birdbath deicer with a thermostat is the only real solution to keeping water thawed.  When using a deicer, be sure to keep the basin full. Use a dark basin to help absorb sunlight…and it is easier for the birds to see. Concrete birdbath basins should not be used because they slowly absorb water and, as that water freezes, will crack and break apart—molded plastics and fiberglass work best. Keep the bird bath close to the house so you can easily refill it during the winter.

Its fun to watch the birds, and gratifying to know that we can help nourish the least of God’s creatures.

Image by Dave Unh at Pixabay.com.