Lead On, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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Dear Lord,

Hear my prayer for your priests in my life. I pray that they will persevere in their calling in the face of ridicule and hate for the sins of their brothers. I pray that they find strength in you in a world that devalues the purpose of their work, and often sees them as useless and archaic.

Sweet Jesus help me remember to thank them for the offering of their lives to lead mine towards you. I am only one small soul of the many that they touch, but may my heart be always grateful and pray for the priests who guide me to be more than what I think I can be.

In their blessing me, may I always bless them in return.

Amen.

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Pursuing the Hidden through Advent

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On gloomy winter days I often drive country lanes. This time of year several farms have Christmas decorations up and some even decorate the out-buildings.

One such barnyard was filled with a gaggle of kids squealing and running towards an old oak tree. By the looks of it, hide-and-seek had not gone out of fashion with this family. We’ve all played the game as children and know that it’s not only about seeking concealed friends, but about knowing where the designated “It” child was in relation to the home base.

There has been an unrelenting question, more like a small battle, simmering about my prayers. It has to do with pursuing the hidden: how do I serve Our Lord—find him really—in daily life? To hunger for Christ is to seek him, to long for him.

There is a directionality to love. It matters that I not draw Our Lord into relationship with me, but that I give myself in relationship to him. And to this end work must be done.

My visits to the care home for women had become predictable. The ladies watched for me on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Several of them noted my absence over a Thanksgiving week. And yet, being with the women had not become routine for me. As I don’t have the experience of being a mother or a caretaker, tolerance for basic humanity often escaped me. I am easily overwhelmed by my senses. I have yet to become accustomed to—not cringe from—grubby hands clasping mine or odorous sick rooms. I’ve not yet mastered Jesus in the smells.

To hunger for Christ is to seek him. He is felt in the oratory and in prayer, but that is not where we find him. The living breathing Jesus is found, hidden, beneath the rubble of humanity. Christ is loved and found in the land of the living.

To desire Our Lord is to seek his love here in this realm before our eternity. To have found enough of his love is to make our purgatory short.

I wonder where I am that I keep asking “Where are you Lord?”

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Advent, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Pray with us, Our Holy Mother Mary, as we pray for our sisters and nuns who in this Advent season prepare they way for others to experience the Incarnation.

Guide them Blessed Mother to more fully embrace your son in their own hearts as they journey towards Christmas.

Help them to not grow weary in service to all of us who need these women in our life.

We pray all this in the name of your son, Our Lord Jesus.

Amen

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As Winter Comes, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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For some folks I know, the coming winter is not starting off well, as mine had not several years ago when I faced similar issue; the furnace had stopped working and it’s really old.  Their house is cold, the water pipes are getting colder, and winter has just begun.

Let us pray for our priests who also struggle in the cold, that their dwellings remain warm and secure. That they are safe travelling when called upon during winter storms to aid a parishioner. Let us pray, and continue to pray until Easter warms us all.

Amen

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Drifting Prayers that Rise and Fall like Snow

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Sitting in my oratory, I finished the Salve Regina prayer. I then looked from the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe out the window at a gray winter’s morning. I felt heavy that morning, down, and I didn’t know why. Kissing the blue millefiori rosary in my hand, I returned it to the porcelain dish, and the beads chimed against its sides. I picked up the Liturgy of the Hours from the table and rested the book unopened on my lap next to the long-haired silver cat purring in her sleep.

Thoughts drifted, memories came and went, prayers and praise rose and fell. Somehow, conflicted in the solitude, I felt grateful and sad.

Again I looked out the window. The morning’s light had increased and I saw it was snowing. A delightful memory filled my heart…

I was seven again, lying on my back on the Flexible Flyer sled and wearing a one piece red-quilted snowsuit. It was early morning, very early. Snow had fallen through the night and when I woke the flakes were still coming down. In my excitement I’d hastily bundled-up, pajamas underneath, and in the pre-dawn light left the house without breakfast. No one would be at the hill and I could play freely.

Two blocks away was Martin Road Park and a sizeable hill for sledding. Up and down I went a dozen times or more, until I lay panting and happily spent beyond its skirt. Rolling over on the sled I faced the clouds and giggled as snowflakes landed on eyelashes, and cried with a love so deep there were no words. The only thing I could hear that morning was my heartbeat and breathing. Snow is quiet and it quieted a world that was, for me, hard and loud. At the age of seven I had experienced, for the first time, the sensation of peace.

Since that moment, snow has carried for me that memory of peacefulness. It quiets the world. It slows people down.

My focus returned to the oratory and fell upon my grandmother’s gold-tone crucifix. The snow outside continued and I wondered if manna had fallen the same way in the desert—if it lightly built up on stems and leaves and covered the ground. I wondered, too, at the conflicted People of God who praised and soon griped at that perfect gift grown tiresome.

And I see in myself how often I gripe about something that is ultimately for my good—forgiveness for example. Forgiveness, much like gathering up manna can be a chore, and tiresome in its repetition. But ultimately it brings what we need, and I know how grateful I am that forgiveness exists.

I stood and walked to the window and watched the snow coming down and make white all that seemed dead and dark. I felt again the peace the seven-year-old me knew, of gently falling grace.

(11/15)

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