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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For the Ill and Aged, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Lord our God, you have called our Sisters and Nuns to serve you and one another in love. Bless our sick Sisters and Nuns today so that they may bear their illness in union with Jesus’ sufferings and restore them quickly to health.

Bless those holy women who have grown old in your service and give them courage and strength in their faith as they approach your eternity.

Lead them all to eternal glory. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

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Direct their Strength, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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Look kindly Lord, on your priests, religious and laymen who left all to witness to your word and your love. Be to each one of them a “powerful protector and their strong support, their shade from the midday sun, their shelter from the desert wind, a guard against stumbling, an assurance against a fall…” (Ecc 34:19).

Sustain them in difficult moments, direct their strength, console their hearts and crown their works with spiritual victories. Let them not seek for earthly success or the goods of this world, but only your triumph and the good of souls.

Your Cross, which accompanies them through their lives, speaks to them of heroism, renunciation, and of peace. Be their comfort, their guide, their light and their strength, so that your name may be announced everywhere and that, surrounded by a larger and larger number of your faithful, they may sing a hymn of thanksgiving, of glory, and redemption. Amen.

-Pope John XXIII

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For Missionaries, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Dear Loving God our Father, Merciful Jesus our Brother, Holy Mother Mary, our world is in such turmoil. The sufferings of your children are great, their diseases of body, the persecutions that sicken the heart and soul, seem insurmountable.

We pray to you that our missionary Sisters and Nuns do not succumb to the despair of the people so desperately in need of their strength.

We pray they do not fall victim to the same diseases of body, and fear in their hearts that surrounds them in their service as your hands — your presence in our stricken world.

Lord we pray for the protection of their souls, the strength of their minds, and continued courage in their hearts.

Amen.

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