In Their Sacrifice, 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, forever and ever. Amen.

~ Pope Benedict XVI

Image by Congerdesign at pixabay.com.

The Secret of Grandmother’s Violin

.

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.

Increase in Sanctity, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

.

Precious Lord,

We pray this day for our consecrated women that their sanctity continues to increase and that their communities continue to grow so that they may serve those who are in need. We pray that our Sisters and Nuns continue to see you in the least of humanity, but that they also see you in those of power who fail to see you in themselves. We pray that they help bring you to those who are poor and impoverished in body or in spirit. Guide them Lord and grant them boundless grace.

Amen.

Image by Stevepb, Pixabay.com.

Suffering and Terminally Ill, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

.

A friend who was a priest had passed away not long ago.

I would like to ask that we pray for all our priests who suffer with chronic pain, for our priests who are sick with terminal illnesses, for those trapped in a body fallen to coma, and for those in the end stages of life.

Let us also pray for the priests, and all caretakers, who care for their ailing brother physically and spiritually, that those who serve the suffering have endurance during such trials.

Amen

No Escape, the Tortured Entrapment of a Fetus

.

I don’t know how to manage this, how to process the intrusive images hammering my consciousness. Being prone to nightmares I am careful about what I read and watch. Having battled with PTSD—though I’m not so sure it can ever be said in a past-tense—I have been trained to recognize potential triggers and disarm anxieties. Most times I succeed, other times horrors are so pervasive that they cannot be escaped; to be concise, Unplanned and Dr. Gosnell.

Years have passed since the last time I’d had nightmares about neighborhood boys torturing animals or grown men abusing dogs. I was just a little girl and helpless to stop the frequent crimes. My screams at the abusers, my screams for the suffering animal, only seemed to excite the abusers and increase their abuses. Feeling frightened and helpless, I would run away and hide. But the images were already burned into my psyche and the sounds of the violence echoed in my mind.

I think there is a sort of numbing that takes place, a kind of dissociation between the abuser’s self and another living creature. There seems to be a thrill in their ability to exert power over a thing. Control and manipulation appears to be at the heart of abuse, and the heart of the abuser shrivels.

Is this what the pro-choice people have produced and encouraged in their desire to control life? Have they created heartless creatures with shriveled souls?

Like many women I too have been exposed to conversations about abortions that are framed with a sort of perverse etiquette. The politeness of discussing abortions, and the right to choose to remove a parasitic fetus, is like inducing a bowel movement…it’s a procedure. There’s no connection of what a fetus is, not for the mother or the abortionist, for if there were a connection the horror of torturing a baby would not take place.

I cannot be part of these discussions; the reality of confined torture is too deep. I am not equipped to be a warrior or a soldier is this battle. The most I can manage to say from my self-protective stance, as I prepare to walk away, is “I disagree. Abortion kills a baby.”

This past week with the movie Unplanned, I was overexposed to the abominations of abortion and the memories from 2013 of Gosnell. Nightmares rob me of sleep, intrusive images destroy my peace. I find myself hiding in my prayer space as the horrors of these events pierce my mind. There was no escape from the emotional firestorm; there is no escape for infants tortured to death during an abortion.

I don’t know that I want to understand the dissociation and the full-on disconnect of abortion advocates.

Through these days of struggling to regain mental balance, I pray hard. Yes, I pray a little for me to persevere, but pray more for the shrunken damaged souls of abortionists and post-abortive parents. For in my faith I’ve been taught that the soils of their souls are still viable as long as they draw breath. My challenge is to see in those desert soils, in that ravaged land of their souls, the potential of fruitfulness.

May the Lord save all of us trapped in this storm: For those with words of fire that reveal Truth that they not despair. For those nearly paralyzed by the horror, that they find a way to pray through the suffering. For those who perpetuate the torture of abortion and for those who realize too late what they have done and live in shocked remorse.  And may the Lord embrace us when, as in the hymn, we cry out “Come, Lord, for faith is growing cold…Need make us bold.”

This is about as bold as I can get.

Image by Ilona Gr from Pixabay.com.

(2013)