Blooms of Fidelity, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory: that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church.

Mother of the beauty that blossoms from fidelity to daily work, remove us from the torpor of laziness, of pettiness, and defeatism. Cloak Pastors with that compassion that unifies and integrates: that we might discover the joy of a humble and fraternal servant Church.

Mother of the tenderness which enfolds in patience and mercy, help us burn away the sadness, impatience, and rigidity of those who have not known what it means to belong.

Intercede with your Son that our hands, our feet and our hearts may be swift: that we may build the Church with the truth in charity. Mother, we will be the People of God, on pilgrimage towards the Kingdom.

Amen.

~Pope Francis, Address to Italian Bishops, May 23, 2013.

Image by Gauravktwl at Pixabay.com.

Draw Down the Tips of Spring

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I am hungry for spring, for the scent of black loamy soil, for the sight of yellow-green tips of hardy bulbs, for the return of determined blue-birds and argumentative red-winged blackbirds.

I long to feel the warmth from sunlight on the smooth bark of poplars and willows, to draw down the tips of budding trees and deduce the patterned bud to be leaf or flower.

I have loved the fierce beauty of this winter’s storms. But I am tired of the grays and browns that remain once the snow is gone. I need the soft sun of spring to draw pigment into my world, to give me the beauty of “dappled things” as Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote in his familiar poem:

Pied Beauty 

Glory be to God for dappled things –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him. 

It often seems the longer I hunger the sweeter the gift once received. I may shed tears of joy when spring begins to birth.

Image by KRiemer at Pixabay.com.

 

Bearing Hope in a Suffering World, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Lord Jesus we pray that you strengthen our Sisters and Nuns to bring forth your hope and love in a suffering world. Where war has inflicted death, let our Sisters and Nuns work and pray for peace. Where famine has brought suffering, let our holy women feed the poor. Where earthquakes and floods have caused hopelessness, let our consecrated women provide relief. Where epidemic has spread, let our Sisters and Nuns care for life. We ask in Jesus’ name that God guard them from all evil. Amen.

(Adapted from Magnificat 4/8/2014, Intercessions)

Image by Deedster at Pixabay.com

Sanctify their Ministry, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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This prayer comes from an old leaflet that is a rosary for priests.

O Jesus, You are the Eternal High Priest. Because You are true God and true man, You are the only Mediator between God and man. Through You, the merciful Father gives man salvation and through You, man is led back to Him.

You have established priests as Your collaborators to perpetuate in the Holy Mass, the Sacrifice of Your death on the Cross and to sanctify souls through their ministry.

0 Jesus, choose from all the people of the world worthy and numerous ministers so that all souls may find salvation.

0 Jesus, Savior of the world, sanctify Your priests and seminarians.

0 God, who have established Your only-begotten Son as the Eternal High Priest, grant, we beseech You, that those who are chosen by Christ as ministers of Your mysteries may be kept always faithful in the fulfillment of their service.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Image by Skeeze, Pixabay.com.

Parsnips and Apples Soup, a Sweeter Fare for Meatless Fridays

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I love apples! Seriously. Love them almost more than chocolate. Biting into a warm, crisp, just picked apple in autumn is only one step away from doing the same in summer with tomatoes.

Living in Michigan, where apple production ranks number three in the States, the harvest of this fruit peaks in late September through early October. There are so many apples to choose from that I would have a great time every week at the farm markets buying mixed bags. I’ve long since given up storing a bushel of apples through the winter, buying instead a few specialty varieties each week.

Apples are wonderful to teach the youngest of children about our faith. When you cut an apple in half along the equatorial plane, the cross section in the core looks like a star; the five-pointed Epiphany Star. The five seeds inside the five-pointed star stand for the five wounds of Christ.

Children love stars, and while stars are not traditionally associated with the Lenten season, there is a weekly program for children, six and up, called The Seven Stars of Lent. This worship resource helps to prepare children’s’ hearts to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ.

A second apple story used to teach about the Trinity is cut an apple in half from top to bottom and note the three parts: skin, meat and seeds. The outer skin represents the Father who encompasses all, Jesus is the meat of the fruit that feeds us, and the seeds are the Holy Spirit that when planted, will bring new life. An apple wouldn’t be an apple if any one of these elements was missing; so, too, with the Trinity.

Now, since you’re cutting up all those apples for educational purposes, how about a recipe! This is a savory and sweet soup more for the adult pallet; try cutting the spices by half for kids.

Parsnip and Apple Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped sweet onion (Vidalia is best)

2 1/2 cups (about a pound) peeled and chopped Pink Lady apples (or any slightly tart apple is fine—Granny Smiths are too sour!)

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dry

3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

3 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) chopped peeled parsnip

1 clove garlic finely chopped

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup apple cider (don’t use apple juice)

1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Sour cream dollops when serving

In a stock pot, sauté onions in oil until tender. Add apples, curry, ginger, and cardamom.  Simmer for about a minute to dissolve spices, stirring constantly. Add broth, parsnips, garlic, and cider. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until parsnips are tender. CAREFULLY blend soup until smooth using a blender (or use an immersion blender). Serve with sour cream.

A side note here, I like to use oven roasted parsnips. They tend to be sweeter and lend a fuller flavor to the soup. Of course, your stove-top cooking time will be reduced.

Photo morguefile.com, by marybaird.