St. Joseph, Protector, Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Gracious St. Joseph, protect our sisters and nuns from all evil as you did the Holy Family.

Kindly keep them ever united in the love of Christ, ever fervent in imitation of the virtue of our Blessed Mother, your sinless spouse, and always faithful in devotion to you.

St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, protect the Jesus awakening in each of our sisters and nuns.

Amen.

St. Joseph Terror of Demons, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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We pray to you St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, to guide and strengthen our priests.

That they may model your fidelity.

In their uncertainty let them be attentive to Our Lord for guidance as you were.

Let our priests teach and lead us with as confident a heart as yours.

Let our priests hold as lovingly in their hands the body of Jesus, as you had done with the Holy Child.

And in their final hour let them too look into the eyes of Jesus and Mary and know peace as they enter into eternity.

We ask all this in Jesus name. Amen.

Leaning into Light

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Day unto day takes up the story and night unto night makes known the message. ~Psalms 19:2

It had been weeks since the last time it was warm enough to walk—a relative statement since it was only twenty degrees outside. I discovered my boots leaked while I walked along Leeward Drive. I stepped around slush puddles as best I could.

My cheeks and nose tingled from the cold. Today the sun had finally come out, and with all the snow it was blinding. The amount of snowfall since mid December set a record. Not only had there been a lot of snow, but nearly every day for the past month had been overcast. I wanted to feel the sun’s rays on my face, not filtered through glass.

Sunlight is important for us and the same is true for plants. Like houseplants, I too can become dull and stressed from an unusually dark winter.

There are specific terms for how plants respond to light. The one we are most familiar with is photosynthesis. This is how the plant absorbs sunlight, and through a series of metabolic processes, grows. Even when sufficient water and nutrients are present, without light plants die.

One houseplant that makes it obvious when light is low is the Maranta. It exhibits a photonastic response to light by folding its leaves together—and this is how it got its common name, Prayer Plant. This response to the lessening of light is also true of Oxalis (shamrocks), and the flowers of tulips and South African gazania. When light dims, they fold.

When a lot of houseplants are crowded around a window we see a directional movement—stems and leaves bend toward the sun. Growing towards the light is called phototropism.

There is another way plants move in response to light. Heliotropism is a plant’s ability to follow the sun across the sky. We see this occurring in the rotating heads of the sunflower. The sunflower’s botanical name is Helianthus, from Greek comes helios, for sun.

Of all the plant responses resulting from light, the one I was most fascinated with as a grower was photoperiodicity. It signals the plant what season it is and when to flower…and ultimately set fruit. Photoperiodism is the specific duration of light—long day/short night or long night/short day—needed for a plant to set bud. A familiar plant that needs long nights to color up is the poinsettia. The longer days of summer allows the carnation and bellflower to flower, as well as oats and clover. In both situations—long day or long night—light duration is essential.

The parables I find with light are as familiar to me as the Bible’s parables of seeds and soil. And evoke as many questions as to who am I as a Christian.

How do we grow in the Light of Christ? Do we fold up when God does not feel near? When we turn toward the Light, are we so focused on it that we become lopsided and turn our backs on our world? Can we, like the sunflower, be attentive to the Light and follow it throughout our day? Do we in our long nights wait for the Light? In our long days do we trust there will be rest?

We are illumined by the light of the Gospels. I pray that the Light of Christ is always felt and followed. That we continue to grow and bear spiritual fruits. And in our days we carry the Light, in our nights console those in darkness.

Image by Marge Steinhage Fenelon,  copyright 2018, all rights reserved. Permission granted, 2019.

St. Patrick, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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St. Patrick was a great missionary, and is a beloved patron saint. As we near his feast day, let us ask him to pray with us as intercessor for our missionary sisters and nuns.

Lord Jesus, watch over your missionary women—those brave sisters and nuns dispersed throughout our world—who leave everything to give testimony to your word and your love.

In difficult moments, sustain their energies, comfort their hearts, and encourage their work with spiritual achievements. Let the image of you crucified, which accompanies them throughout life, speak to them of heroism, generosity, obedience, love, and peace.

Amen

Pope Benedict XVI, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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Lord Jesus Christ, eternal High Priest,
you offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the cross
and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit
gave your priestly people a share in your redeeming sacrifice.

Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests.
Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood
may be ever more conformed to you, the Divine Master.

May they preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience.                                        Let them be shepherds according to your own heart,
single-minded in service to you and to the Church,
and shining examples of a holy, simple, and joyful life.

Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother and ours,
draw all priests and the flocks entrusted to their care
to the fullness of eternal life where you live and reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen

~Pope Benedict XVI