Holy Week’s Prayer for Priests (and Deacons)

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Beloved Lord, grace your priests and deacons with endurance in these holy days filled with rituals and prayers. Guide them, strengthen them, uphold them through the work they must do in honor to your son Jesus, in honor to his Passion, in honor to all of us who in our suffering remember the sufferings of the Christ. We pray the  consecrated hearts and hands of your priests do not grow weary through these blessed days through Easter. In Jesus name and with Mother Mary hear our prayers of perseverance for our priests and deacons. Amen.

Image by Helmut H Kroiss at Pixabay.com.

Ladybug Blunders

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When the hibernating ladybugs appear on the inside of my window frames I know spring is just around the corner.

These ferocious mini-carnivores are the darlings of my gardens. As a child I would tip the leaf they were crawling on so the ladybug would fall onto my soiled hand.  Then I would rotate my hand as it scurried across palm and fingers, tickling as it went. Eventually the little red bug would tire of my game and suddenly rocket into flight so fast that I never saw from where its wings had come.

I delight in seeing a few of them appear on my windowsills in late winter. My Franciscan heart won’t let me squish the little visitors, so I end up attending to their needs. Yes, it’s true; I give food and water to a bug. Plucking a leaf from a nearby houseplant, I place a droplet of water in the center and then lay it near the wandering red dot. Invariably these tiny creatures are thirsty and motor quickly aboard to have a drink.

After placing the leaf with its passenger onto the soil of a houseplant I lay a very tiny piece of apple nearby. I am not surprised when I check back on my tiny pet I find it sharing a meal with a few of its buddies. Eventually, weather permitting, they are released outside.

So there it was, a ladybug on the sill of the kitchen window. I was happy to see one after a long winter and I placed a drop of water near it. I laughed out loud as it latched onto the side of the droplet and was suddenly set afloat with its tiny black legs swimming frantically while its pincers sucked the water thirstily.

It must have tried to fly off because the next thing I knew it was upside down in the drain to the sink. To avert the impending doom I placed my fingertip nearby for it to latch on to, which it did, and pulled it to what should have been safety.

But my elderly hands desensitized by arthritis had moved in too hard and unintentionally injured the little creature. While lifting it back to the sill it slowly released itself from my finger and fell on to the counter and stopped moving. I was disheartened and chastised myself for being upset…it was JUST a bug for goodness sakes!

Reflecting as I tossed the expired ladybug into the waste-bin, I was reminded that at times our good intentions can go awry. Our desire to help and encourage if brought forth too abruptly can harm. The response “I didn’t mean to do it” says a lot about not having thought things through. And sometimes it’s impossible to undo what’s been done.

When I’ve done something wrong, something I can’t undo and I feel discouraged and despondent, I am reminded of the words from St. Francis de Sales that encourage me. He guides me to know that it is important to acknowledge what I have done, in all my weakness and humanness, and having done what I could to remedy it—move on with awareness to avoid its repeating.

And when I screw up it is usually much bigger than a ladybug.

(Originally ran 4/2013, and I liked it…so here it is again!)

Image by Myriams-Foto at pixabay.com.

Defending the Ideals of Easter, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

 

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Beloved Mother Mary, Mother of Sisters and Nuns, take to your heart your daughters who are close to you because of their higher calling and because of the power which they have received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs them so much. In this holy season of Easter be their comfort, be their joy, and be their strength. Loving Mother help them to live and defend the ideals that your son suffered and died for so that we may have life eternal.  Amen.

Image, Lenten Rose, by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl OSB. All rights reserved.

In Their Sacrifice, 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, forever and ever. Amen.

~ Pope Benedict XVI

Image by Congerdesign at pixabay.com.

The Secret of Grandmother’s Violin

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The black leather case hinges and latch were stiff and flaky with rust. Inside was my grandmother’s violin. The case had been unearthed during the archaeological dig in my basement that began in February. I was reluctant to open the case. I didn’t want to know if mildew had grown inside. For over thirty years, from one house to the next, I’d carted around this violin.

I moved back in with my grandmother when I was in my early twenties, and she in her mid-seventies. She allowed me to live with her while I regained my footing after a divorce. I brought very little with me, not wanting to keep reminders of a marriage that ended with infidelity; he had run off with my brother’s wife.

The peace filled home of my grandmother was decorated with memories of a devoted husband and family. Beveled glass doors led the way in to the house and in to the living rooms. The walls of those rooms were painted a soothing silver-sage, the color of perennial lambs-ear, and is the only color I remember them ever being painted.

Not wanting to disrupt her home, what little I brought with me needed to be stored and not in the basement. The small crawl-in attic would do just fine.

We both are women of short stature, me being the taller at five feet. Gaining access to the attic required a step ladder and a boost from my grandmother who stood on the ladder with me. Once inside I rearranged her boxes to one side and came across the violin case.  Crawling back and leaning over the access hole I asked her to whom it belonged. “Oh, that was mine. Before I started a family I played for a symphony orchestra.” I was shocked and stared at her in disbelief as she thrust one of my boxes up and into my arms.

Once my boxes were situated I opened the case and saw a violin in pieces; not maliciously so but unglued. Again leaning over the attic entry I mentioned to her the condition. She was not surprised and commented she probably should have unstrung it before grandfather tucked it away some fifty years ago. She stepped off the ladder and motioned for me to come down as she held onto its rungs. She wasn’t interested in discussing it further.

Soon enough the time came for me to move on and out of her home. Back into the attic I went and as I handed down my boxes I asked her if I could have her violin. She gave me a quizzical look and asked “What on earth for?” and I didn’t know why, really. It just seemed important.

I don’t think her children were aware that she had been a classical violinist. I never heard anyone ever speak about it. I knew she loved music and we would often listen to jazz, the Big Bands, or symphonies on the radio.

Whenever I looked at the broken violin, an Austrian-made knock-off of an Antonius Stradiuarius, I imagined my grandmother in a long black gown with wavy black hair bobbed above her shoulders—a radical cut in the 1920’s. I can see her arm moving rhythmically with the orchestra, nimble fingers deftly sliding along the fingerboard.

Grandmother rarely spoke of her life, her accomplishments and history. She was always a wife and mother first, then church lady and business owner. She possessed and projected grace and confidence even when angered at being confronted with something immoral or illegal. She tried to instill in her grandchildren a trust in God’s love. She said that to despair was to turn ones back on God. Though she cried deeply at the loss of her beloved husband, I never remember her despairing—ever.

Walking across the basement, I sat the dusty violin case on top of the dryer and gently opened it. The green velvet lining shined in the naked light of the overhead light-bulb. There was no smell of mildew or mold. All the pieces were still there and I touched each of them. While doing so I smiled at the former beauty of the instrument and the woman daring to be all that God had intended her to be; the diminutive Italian violinist, devout Catholic, and dedicated wife and mother…my namesake.

Image by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl OSB, all rights reserved.