Holy Spirit Come, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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As we prepare to celebrate Pentecost remember to call on the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit to be showered on our priests, and for that matter, all religious.

Jesus, Good Shepherd,

You sent us the Holy Spirit to guide Your Church and lead her faithful to You through the ministry of Your priests.

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, grant to Your priests wisdom in leading, faithfulness in teaching, and holiness in guarding Your sacred Mysteries.

As they cry out with all the faithful, “Abba, Father!” may Your priests be ever more closely identified with You in Your divine Sonship and offer their own lives with You, the one saving Victim.

Make them helpful brothers of one another, and understanding fathers of all Your people.

Renew in Your priests deeper faith, greater trust in You, childlike reliance on our Mother Mary, and unwavering fidelity to the Holy Father and his bishops.

Holy Mary, intercede for your priests.

Joseph, protect them.

St. Michael, defend them.

St. John Vianney, pray for them.

Amen

(Author unknown)

Image by Julia Schwab from Pixabay .

Unexpected Beauty, Ancient and Alive

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After morning Mass at a 115 year old country parish, I decided to take a drive along farm lanes, through “God’s country.”

County roads here run straight and intersections at 90º a mile or two apart. I turned south along Hawley—roads were historically named after the land owner—and was surprised to see a hops farm. I wondered if the grower crafted beer or sold to local breweries. The grove was surrounded by a ten-foot-fence against deer browsing, and dozens of 16’ crosses pierced the earth. The cross-beams trailed heavy twine, secured at the base near the bushy vines.

I found the view unsettling as thoughts of Saint Paul Miki and Companions came to mind; twenty-six martyred by being hung on crosses in Nagasaki, Japan.  I shuddered and shook my head to clear the intrusive image of suffering.

Refocusing on my drive, I made note to come back to the farm through the summer to see how the vines progressed.

In south-central Michigan there are several small lakes, marshes, and muck-land farms—which grow celery, onions, cabbage, and peppermint. Crisscrossing three counties I drove past several, and had come upon a massive wetland whose beauty took my breath away.

Tussocks of tall marsh grasses glowed chartreuse in the morning light. They were surrounded by expanses of open water floating groups of lily pads and reminded me of paintings seen hanging in a restaurant by a local artist. The rains of the previous week had raised the water above the ditch-line; it reached the edges of the road.

I left the car and stood near what would have been the shoulder. The soft breeze carried the deep, low scent of a quagmire, and, lucky for me, was enough to keep the mosquitoes away. Up the road a fully grown, two foot Northern Water Snake casually made its way to the opposite bank. In the stillness I listened to the peeper frogs’ trill.

Then from behind, and startlingly near, a loud swish. Instinctively I ducked as a pair of Great Blue Herons flew a few feet above my head. Their bright orange beaks were slightly open, long black legs were extended and tucked tight against their gray bellies. I had never been so near these large, seemingly primordial birds and was amazed at their size.

My heart was beating fast from being startled. I watched with an overwhelming sense of reverence as they landed a few yards away. The pair stood poised in shallow water, and elegantly folded their powerful six-foot-span of wings.

I stood in awe of the vastness of the marsh, the holy silence of nature, and felt the boundless gift of peace that is God’s. It is a peace that though a gift must be sought, and like the Herons that came from behind, brings with it unexpected beauty, ancient and alive.

Ascending, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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Dear Jesus , right before your Ascension into heaven you told your apostles to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth upon receiving the Holy Spirit.

We pray for our priests to be similarly inspired and strengthened to spread your Gospel message in a world in need. May our priests do so  joyfully and with sincere dedication, with your  guidance and your grace. In remembering your ascension, help them to seek what is above, so as to teach and guide us here below. We ask all this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Image by Carl Lewin from Pixabay .

Plants for a Glorious Rosary Garden for Ascension and Pentecost

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A month dedicated the Virgin Mary, the week of the Ascension and Pentecost?!

What better way to celebrate all three than to consider planting a rosary garden dedicated to the Glorious Mysteries?

In my book through Ave Maria Press,  A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac , is offered the following suggestions for a summer full of blooms:

Glorious Mysteries

Resurrection of Our Lord; Faith: Easter lily, Lilium longiflorum; Resurrection plant, Selaginella lepidophylla, comes back to life even though it appears dead. It is more often grown indoors as an oddity or specimen plant. Also any of the delphiniums, Delphinium spp. symbolic of our salvation.

Ascension into Heaven; Hope: Lilac, ascension flower, Syringa vulgaris cvs.; Snowdrops, Galanthus spp, signify the consolation that comes to those who are filled with hope; the sweet almond tree, Prunus dulcis cvs., symbolizes hope, watchfulness, and promise.

Descent of the Holy Spirit; Zeal: Columbine, Aquilegia spp., has petals shaped like a dove (columba is Latin for dove); Pentecost rose, peony, Paeonia officinalis cvs.

Assumption of Mary; Happy Death : The assumption lily, Hosta plantaginea, in most regions blooms around mid-August—and the bonus is its fragrance is similar to Easter lilies; Belladonna lily, Amaryllis belladonna, whose name literally means “beautiful lady,” leafs out in spring, dies back, and then sends up single stalks of flowers in mid-August.

Coronation of Mary; Love of Mary: Cornflower, Centaurea spp., Mary’s crown; Yellow flag iris, Iris pseudacorus, Mary as queen (be careful, this plant becomes invasive in some regions).

The plants mentioned above are only a few options. You could also section off the rosary garden by using colors to signify each mystery.

Begin by using all white flowers at the first Glorious Mystery the Resurrection of Our Lord; blue flowers at the second mystery for the Ascension into Heaven. Of course red is traditional for the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost which is the third mystery. For the forth Glorious Mystery of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven, yellow suggests her luminous love of God and Jesus. For the fifth mystery, the Coronation of Mary, grow bright orange flowers for her crown.

Select hardwoods, annuals or perennials suitable to your Hardiness Zone and soil type. By planning for growing the right plant in the right place you will have a garden you can enjoy, and pray with, for years.

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay .