Starving and Eager to be Fed

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I was surprised this year by the return of migratory birds. It felt like the first week in February was too early with night temperatures still running near zero. With several inches of snow and ice on the ground there was very little food for the birds to forage or materials for building nests.

When I wrote this column, it was snowing…again…lightly…but still. Many of you know how much I love the snow, but this year the love affair is so over—I want a divorce! The weather had been hard on the song birds, too. There were days—and nights—of blizzard conditions where chickadees were under my awnings, fluffed out and holed-up.  A sweet but pitiful sight.

Red-winged blackbirds are usually the first to return to our area in the spring. They like open fields and are seen perched on teasel stalks. This week the only parts of the teasel showing were what was left broken and bent on the field of snow. There hasn’t been a sighting of the red-wings yet. These may be the wiser of the birds this year.

The bluebirds, the poor dears, have arrived.

Bluebirds are solitary birds and have territorial battles often. This week I saw them in a way as never seen before—in a flock.

While doing breakfast dishes, I looked out the kitchen window and was amazed to see 8-10 bluebirds in the crab apple tree. The whole flock of them each had a tiny apple and were pecking it frantically as if starved—which they probably were. The tiny apples looked like bells as they swung back and forth with the bluebirds rapid jabbing. The whole tree appeared to quiver.

A few crab apples had fallen on top of the snow and a couple of bluebirds were sharing in the meal, unmindful of each other. Not a single bird was disturbed nor gave up their fruitful dining when joined by an assertive red squirrel.

The territorial nature of the bluebirds was cast aside when they were desperate and their world harsh. The birds that first found food were a signal to the others who then followed. It is in times of hardship that they looked to one another for guidance and relief.

When things are tough we often come together, and by our actions point the way to what is good. When we act in community with what God has provided, all are fed.

Image by GeorgiaLens from Pixabay .

 

Our Lady of Fatima, Pray for our Sisters and Nuns

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Our Lady of Fatima instill in our Sisters and Nuns the confidence and perseverance to do the will of your son, Jesus.

Let them be a refuge to the poor and the needy in distress.

Let them offer a place of shelter for the wearied soul.

Let them be the hands and heart of your son in our world, that their work on our behalf may be the cause of their unending joy.

Amen.

Image by henriqueesteves1 from Pixabay .

Perils, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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Precious Jesus, guide your priests to choose wisely in a world filled with temptations and the lies of the evil one of their false goodness, that draw them away from what is true and holy.

They, like their sheep, are given the free will to choose. Protect them Lord from every evil that allures. Grant them peace in their sincere repentance when they have  fallen. Give them strength to desire God and all that is holy over their own desires.

Now more than ever our priests need protection. Hear our plea, accept our offerings and our prayers on their behalf.

Amen.

Image by Fz from Pixabay .

The Care of Reassembling

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Many years ago I made small stained glass windows. The vibrancy of the material—its waves, ripples, and bubbles diffusing light—was a feast of color to the eyes.

In workshops I learned how a small scratch directionally drawn would allow the glass to break in desired ways. I was fascinated by this breaking apart almost more than the construction of the final windows. There was some sort of comfort in watching the separation take place—a knowing that from a larger, undefined unit of glass I would construct a mosaic of joy.

With the small wheeled etching tool I would guide the scratch on the colorful glass from edge to edge. Then, with the small metal ball on the opposite end of the tool, I would gently tap, tap, tap as the fracture snaked along the barely visible line until the desired piece would fall away.

Great care had to be taken handling the glass at the moment of the initial break. The edges of both pieces were razor sharp and could cause significant harm if you were not careful. If the glass were improperly fractured, slivers of glass would shatter and pierce one’s hands or arms.

One would then smooth the edges of the broken-off piece and assemble it with others in a specific pattern. All these separate pieces were forming a vibrant and new window that light would bring to life.

Many of us may experience a breaking or shattering at some time in our lives. A significant piece of who and what we are is cut away somehow and only the purest pieces, those desired for another purpose, remain.

There has been for me, and for other women of a certain age, a reassembling from intentionally fractured and broken pieces. Pieces separated from an unrefined mass, and the sharp dangerous edges skillfully smoothed and purposely arranged by the Master’s Hand.

For all of us, each broken piece will reveal its own beauty in the Light, within a final construction that reveals a radiant new whole.

Image by Verdani from Pixabay .

Called to a Life of Service, Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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To be consecrated as a priest, monk, sister, nun, or hermit, working in the world or cloistered is a vocation of celibacy and poverty. It is a calling few want to hear in our western world.

Let us pray that those called to such a life will hear and be unafraid.

This prayer was found on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops web site:

O God, Father of all Mercies,
Provider of a bountiful Harvest,

send Your Graces upon those
You have called to gather the fruits of Your labor;
preserve and strengthen them in their lifelong service of you.

Open the hearts of Your children
that they may discern Your Holy Will;
inspire in them a love and desire to surrender themselves
to serving others in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ.

Teach all Your faithful to follow their respective paths in life
guided by Your Divine Word and Truth.
Through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,
all the Angels, and Saints, humbly hear our prayers
and grant Your Church’s needs, through Christ, our Lord.

Amen.

Image by Alex I from Pixabay .