A Pope’s Prayer, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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O Jesus, Eternal Pontiff, Good Shepherd and Fountain of life, who by the special goodness of your Most Sweet Heart, have given us priests to fulfill in us the designs of sanctification which your grace inspires in our hearts, we ask you:  come to their aid with the assistance of your mercy.

O Jesus, may they have in their labors a lively faith; in trials an unwavering trust; in their decisions a burning charity. Grant that your Word, the irradiation of the Eternal Wisdom, may become through continuous meditation the never failing nourishment of their interior life. Let the example of your life and passion animate their actions and sustain them in their suffering, so that they may teach, enlighten and comfort us in our sorrows.

Lord, grant our priests the grace of detachment from purely worldly concerns.  Let them be first and foremost solicitous for your glory and keep them faithful to their duties.

Keep them pure in conscience till their last breath, so that when death comes to the body, they may place into your hands their mission faithfully accomplished so that they may find in you, Lord Jesus Christ, who on earth were their Master, the prize of the Crown of Justice, in the glory of the saints.  Amen.

-Pope Pius XII

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Tendrils of Faith

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“As we extend the tendrils of our faith above and through the walls of our resistance, our lives become green, verdant, affirming… As we cling to our conscious optimism, finding footholds of faith despite opposition, our lives become rooted in the soil of grace. We are nurtured, prospered, and blessed.”

~Julia Cameron, Blessings: Prayers and Declarations for a Heartfelt Life (New York:  Tarcher Perigee, 1998) p. xii.

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Crowning Glory, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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An Intercession from the Divine Office, with slight modification on my part, seemed appropriate to pray for our women religious:

Christ is the spouse and crowning glory of Sisters and Nuns. Let us praise him with joy in our voices and pray to him with sincerity in our hearts: Jesus, crown of holy women, hear us.

Christ, the holy women loved you as their one true spouse; grant that nothing may separate Sisters and Nuns from your love. Jesus, crown of holy women, hear us.

You crowned Mary, your mother, queen of virgins; through her intercession, let Sisters and Nuns continually serve you with pure hearts. Jesus, crown of holy women, hear us.

Your handmaids were always careful to love you with whole and undivided attention, that they might be holy in body and spirit; through their intercessions grant that the lure of this passing world may not distract Sisters and Nuns from you. Jesus, crown of holy women, hear us.

Lord Jesus, you are the spouse whose coming was anticipated by the wise virgins; grant that Sisters and Nuns may wait for you in hope and expectation. Jesus, crown of holy women, hear us.

Through the intercession of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, who was one of the wise and prudent virgins, grant Sisters and Nuns wisdom and innocence of life. Jesus, crown of holy women, hear us.

Amen.

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A Childlike Rhyme, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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Here’s a familiar prayer that as a child I prayed with my grandmother. Maybe share it with the children you love, so they too could learn it and pray for our priests.

A PRAYER FOR PRIESTS

Keep them; I pray Thee, dearest Lord.

Keep them, for they are Thine

The priests whose lives burn out before

Thy consecrated shrine.

Keep them, for they are in the world,

Though from the world apart.

When earthly pleasures tempt, allure —

Shelter them in Thy heart.

Keep them and comfort them in hours

Of loneliness and pain,

When all their life of sacrifice

For souls seems but in vain.

Keep them and  remember, Lord,

they have no one but Thee.

Yet, they have only human hearts,

With human frailty.

Keep them as spotless as the Host,

That daily they caress;

Their every thought and word and deed,

Deign, dearest Lord, to bless.

~Cardinal John J. Carberry

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Aprons and a Harvest

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Another season of harvest is rolling through. The farmers’ markets are bursting with food and folks eager to buy. It’s only been a few years since I last canned and pickled what grew in my gardens.

The other day I decided to make a black bean and corn salad, and unhooked the apron from the back of the kitchen door. I smiled at the thought of a young millennial friend who loves to cook, and wondered if she too wore an apron. As I tied the apron in place, I recalled the “Two Margarets”—I was named after my Italian grandmother—setting to work in a kitchen with bushels of harvested goods lined up in the side porch.

I remember…

…a draping bouquet of aprons. They hung together as colorful as a flower garden border: a meadow print, a faded red windowpane plaid, another a mint and white gingham, and a blue calico. Some had ruffles, and could be half or full, crossing the back or wrapped at the waist.

They were clustered together on a cup hook in the small kitchen pantry.  The ties would drag on the floor when they weren’t draped haphazardly over the pencil sharpener attached to the narrow door. A wonderfully curious association, the smell of pencil shavings mixed with aromas of cooking.

I loved the full apron, a thick cotton meadow print—a true 1940’s piece. Grandmother preferred the thinner white with the calico of blue forget-me-nots.  She and I would always wear one from the assortment of aprons when putting food by in August, or making jams for Christmas.

Grandma never failed to remove any stains that found its way onto the apron bodice. Boiling water was poured through the cloth from the backside for fruit stains, and rubbing peanut butter into a grease splatter always worked.  Good old ammonia in the washtub brought freshness to even the most well worn of cover-up.

The last of her aprons is folded away in a small shirt box at the back of the linen closet.  It doesn’t release the fragrance of pencil shavings, it isn’t one she wore very often; it’s a thin frilly pink and white laced half apron worn when serving company that came to our house.  It was the only one not ragged-out for dusting.

Chopping the celery and onions for the salad I was comforted by the memory of a grandmother who taught many things in the simplest of acts. She was a parable of living from the abundance, from grace to grace, no matter how meager or full the harvest.

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