Pope Benedict XVI, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests


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.


~Pope Benedict XVI

Broken and In Need to be Carried


The seeds of fox-tail grass and Queen Ann’s Lace are ripe and fallen into the flower beds. The perennials that survived the summer’s drought have gone dormant, their dull wilted leaves droop against other plants and fallen branches from the locust tree. The brown-eyed Susan’s are dried out; their black buds and crinkly leaves snarled with rampant bind weed.

Looking at the scene my emotions move from my chest to my throat and I feel myself tearing up. This isn’t the first time I’ve looked at my yard with dismay. The enormity of the mess and the side-effects of medication leave me feeling despondent. But what can I do?

Sometimes I get overwhelmed by emotions. There isn’t a woman among us who hasn’t had the mental turmoil associated with hormones…though admitting to it is another thing. Or the man who hasn’t at one point in his life, turned his face away, hiding a flush of emotions.

There are times when our feelings escape our control, whether of love, sadness, fear, or anger. We are faced with situations where we can’t hide what is going through our hearts. We must figure out how to work through the challenges, adjusting to a new way.

I remember when I was ten an athletic young man in the neighborhood, who was helping my father unload a truck, had both of his legs crushed below the knee by a freak accident—the brake-lines of the semi-truck blew, pinning him.

I watched this strong young man after he came home from the hospital. I saw that when you are broken you depend on somebody else to lift you. His initial frustration and anger by the loss only lessened when he accepted his situation. He had a loving family to hold and hug him in his suffering as he healed. He had “buddies” that carried him up and from and through his limitations. He found humor as a way to be at peace with what he could not do.

Family and strong buddies are good. But what about those of us who are single, without family or supportive friends? Who do we turn to when there is no one to hold us, hug and console us, or lift us up and through? How do we find someone to manage a portion of our life that we cannot? I don’t know the answers yet. I’m trying to figure this out along the way.

I am touched by the beauty of love when I see a needy soul embraced in the circling arms of another. Whether in tears of joy or of sorrow, they are cradled and supported in their humanness.

I can imagine Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene embracing each other with joyful tears as the Christ’s miracle of feeding the thousands unfolded. I can also imagine them at the foot of the cross collapsing together in each others arms in anguish at the suffering of their beloved Jesus.

We share with the Holy and among ourselves a common thread of emotions. Our spouses, family and close friends help us to navigate and embrace our feelings more fully. Sometimes, as with what I am facing now, we turn to Our Lord to help us find someone that can assist us in our need.

For me, I need to find a gardener, and a gardener-of-the-heart, to help me get things back in order. Maybe after that I can return to my gardens and again walk them in peace.

Image Pixabay.com, CCO, Creative Commons.


A Needed Darkness, Rain Moving In

Curtains Rain file0001774425054Before sunrise the intense heat and humidity of the past few days was broken by the cooling air that preceded a storm.

Gathering myself into the morning, while waiting for the coffee to brew, I opened all the windows. When I lifted the sash in the oratory, the breeze drew the sheers delicately against the screens and then, just as softly, floated them back and up into the room.

I breathed deeply the fresh unconditioned air.

The rain started with a drizzle. The thunder rumbled long and distant, then near, then rolled past and away.

I didn’t know what to expect of the storm. The wind was picking up, making the tree limbs sway, and the thunder had become more frequent. I looked at the southwest sky, saw it was evenly gray and lacked the blackish-green mottling of danger. The birds continued their morning songs—a good indication of a regular rain—and so I was unconcerned as I sat down and picked up the breviary.

With windows opened wide the breeze moved easily through the upstairs hermitage. I listened to the rain drops plink on the aluminum window sills; it steadily grew into a persistent thrumming.

It was a needed darkness, a good storm, a refreshing rain. Sipping my coffee I prayed:

Dear Lord,

I thank you for the storms that move through life. Though there is darkness, there is assurance of its passing. You send the rain to cleanse, the thunder to make us attentive, and the wind to remind us that all things move according to your plan.

Although I do not like the darkness, I know your storms draw me down and away from the often consuming blaze of this world. And for every storm that moves across my heart, I will embrace it as a time to patiently wait for your return.

I pray to be strong enough to hold fast when storms become intense. And if I grow weary, to know I am not alone and to call out to angels, saints, and friends to shore me up.

I praise you Lord for dark nights and stormy days that deepen my desire for you.


(June 30, 2013)


(Image by cgiraldez at morgefile.com.)


Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests. You have given them to us for our needs. We pray for them in their needs.

We know that You have made them priests in the likeness of  Your own priesthood. You have consecrated them, set them aside, anointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.

Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as we are, needing to be ministered to, as do we, to be consoled and forgive, as do we. Indeed, we thank You for choosing them from among us, so that they understand us as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our beings, our lives, our faith.

We ask that You give them this day the gift You gave Your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus: Your presence in their hearts, Your holiness in their souls, Your joy in their spirits. And let them see You face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.

We pray to You, O Lord, through Mary the Mother of all priests, for Your priests and for ours. Amen.

~John Cardinal O’Connor

Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

Image morguefile.com

Emmaus Prayer for Priests 

Lord Jesus, hear our prayer

For the spiritual renewal of priests.

We praise you for giving their ministry to the Church.

In these days renew them with the gifts of your Spirit. 

You once opened the Scriptures

To the disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Now renew your ordained ministers

With the truth and power of your Word. 

In the Eucharist you gave the Emmaus disciples

Renewed life and hope.

Nourish priests with your own Body and Blood.

Help them to imitate in their lives

The death and resurrection they celebrate at your altar. 

Give priests enthusiasm for the Gospel,

Zeal for the salvation of all,

Courage in leadership,

Humility in service,

Fellowship with one another

And with all their brothers and sisters in You. 

For You love them, Lord Jesus,

And we love and pray for them in Your name. Amen