Do Not Be Discouraged, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Blessed Virgin Mary, pray with us this day for our Sisters and Nuns. In the face of unending need, let them not be discouraged but always serve with joy. Let their hearts, so often moved with pity, always reveal their devotion to your Son. May their faith in Him help them to persevere through seemingly insurmountable tasks.  Guide them Mother, encourage them in their desire to love, as God loves, in a world that often does not love back. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, Protect Our Priests

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More than ever we need to support our priests; the many who are good that will be publicly ridiculed for the sins they did not commit. These men are now called to a radical holiness, and placed in the direct line of fire from all that is evil and ugly.

In the Litany of St. Joseph, he is named The Terror of Demons, he is also called the protector of the Church, the Bride of Christ. Our priests are part of this body, this Bride that has been tripped and sullied.

In this time of scandal, let us pray for our holy priests by name—our pastors and associates, including our deacons and seminarians at our home parish. Let us openly encourage and support them for the role they must play in the healing to come, and the new generation of saints they must lead.

Saint Joseph, I present to you this day Father (N.), priest of Jesus Christ, and beg you to be to him advocate and defender, counselor and friend. Open your heart to him as you opened your home to the Virgin Mother in her hour of need. Protect his holy priesthood as you protected the life of the Infant Christ threatened by cruel Herod.

In darkness bring him light; in weakness, strength, and in fear the peace that passes understanding. For the sake of the tender love that bound you to the Virgin Mary and the Infant Christ, be for him, Saint Joseph, a constant intercessor and a shield against every danger of body, mind, and soul so that, in spite of his weaknesses and sins, his priesthood may bring glory to Christ and serve to increase the beauty of holiness in his bride the Church.

Prayer from The Raccolta.

St. Michael the Archangel, protect them in this battle.

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Blessings and the Hummingbird

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It was mid-morning and the sun had finally dissolved the fog from the cool damp night. I saw that some of the leaves still glistened with dampness.

Making the bed I pulled the white and periwinkle quilt up and over the pillows and glanced out the upstairs window. The blue Rose-of-Sharon grows just below. Moving about the blossoms was a Ruby Throated Hummingbird.

He seemed to be moving a bit slower—maybe the cool night slowed him down. During the summer the hummers tend to dart about the gardens, frenetic in their search for food. On this morning the little guy was more systematic, feeding steadily from one group of blossoms before moving on to the next. I suspected he was laboring to build up reserves for his migratory journey south.

Labor, lavoro, arbeit, labeur, trabajo, no matter what language, it is to toil, to strive towards a goal, to work for gain. Like most people, I associate labor with something tangible. The little hummer was acquiring food.

Lately I have been reflecting on soulful laboring. It too is for gain…of peace in love.

I work daily to accept changes in my life. Aging is normal, premature aging is annoying. What I gain in working to accept, is a drawing closer to Our Lord. In moving nearer I’ve discovered he has blessed me with the gift of blessing others who come to my aid.

We’ve all heard that it is better to give than to receive, and I have adjusted my views of being a recipient. To willingly accept someone’s gift of assistance is to double the blessing for the giver. It kind of goes like this: The essence of kindness and generosity, which are two Fruits of the Spirit, are expressed through a great desire to do good for others. It is in the fulfilling as well as in the desiring to give that these fruits grow. This virtue runs throughout the Bible and we first read of it in Genesis 18 when Abraham saw three men in the hot sun and “ran from his tent” begging them for the favor to serve them—for them to bless him in his ability to come to their aid. We see this same yearning to assist when Mary “goes in great haste” to the pregnant Elizabeth to assist the aged woman, and Elizabeth blesses her.

What I have found happening in my little corner of the world is that by being blessed with someone’s help—they being first blessed by the Holy Spirit to act—I bless them secondly for their loving deed. They grow in holiness and I grow as well by letting go of self deprecating thoughts. To be generous with myself, as my abilities are redefined, can be a chore. To be kind and gentle applies not only to our words and deeds with others, but to our interior dialog as well.

There are those who unexpectedly assist me—reaching for products over my head, carrying heavy boxes of kitty-litter, lifting cumbersome bags of groceries into the back of the car. Of course I thank them, but I go one step further and ask their name. There are few things sweeter to the soul than to hear one’s name spoken in a blessing or prayer. For a moment in time those words, wrapped safely around someone’s name, infuse peace and the purest joy.

To be acknowledged is to feel purposeful in your work. To be blessed for your blessing of help is to acquire a piece of heaven on earth…and gain nourishment for the journey ahead.

(8/2013)

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Unceasingly Seek, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Blessed Mother Mary, hear our prayers for our Sisters and Nuns that they seek God with a calm, unceasing movement, directing their whole lives into one single course towards Him. Strengthen them in unwavering  faith in  the face of evil. Let their longing for God envelope and dominate all of who they are, in their service to others, as representatives of Eternal Love. We ask all this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

BVM, Stand Beside Them, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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O Mary, Mother of Jesus you were with Jesus at the beginning of His life and mission. You stood beside Jesus when He was lifted on the cross and gave His life for all. We ask you now to be with our priests, who give themselves in service to God’s people. Intercede for them that they may grow in holiness; proclaim God’s word with courage; celebrate the sacraments with joy; and be among God’s people as Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was. We offer this prayer to God, the Father, through your intercession, in the name of your Son, Jesus, and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen

(A novena prayer for priests, origin unknown. Possibly associated with Opus Sanctorum Angelorum)

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Mother Mary Would Love this Blueberry Pie!

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Summer celebrations are great fun! The weather is usually perfect for outdoor gatherings with foods made fresh from whatever is in abundance.

Here in Michigan, from June-September, the blueberries are in—big and plump and full of flavor. No more of the little half-pint containers trucked-in from states far, far away. Nope. For eight to ten weeks 2 lb. cartons show up at the market, and the berries find their way into just about everything, from breakfasts to sauces at dinner.

The harvest is at its peak by mid-August, about the time of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. My tradition for this holy day is to bake something special—don’t all celebrations need a special treat?—using blueberries, of course.

This year I offer you a favorite pie, made only in mid-summer when the blueberries are most flavorful and their skins, being fresh,  are still thin.

Blueberry and Sour Cream Pie

9” pie shell, unbaked (Yes, I buy mine)

Filling:

1 c. sour cream

1 egg beaten

1 tsp. corn starch

2 tbl. flour

¼ tsp. salt

1 ¼ c.sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

3-3 1/2 c. fresh blueberries

Topping: using a fork, mix together and refrigerate while pie bakes

2 tbl. sugar

3 tbl. flour

3 tbl. soft butter (the real stuff!)

3-4 tbl. chopped walnuts, can substitute with pecans or almonds

Preheat oven to 400º

Press out crust into a deep 9” pie pan. (HINT: To be sure the pan will hold ALL of the ingredients, measure our 4 ½ c. of water and pour it in the pie pan. If it holds the water, the pan is big enough.)

Combine the first seven ingredients and mix on low for about 3-4 minutes. The mixture should be smooth and creamy. Gently fold in the blueberries and pour in to pie shell. Bake for 40-45 minutes (the center should be set, not soupy).

Remove from oven and sprinkle topping—which will be kind of sticky—on pie. Place it back in the oven and bake another 15-20 minutes, until topping browns.

Cool completely on a rack so filling sets. And don’t be bummed that, like most pies, it shrinks down when cooled.

Serves 8 (Ha! Usually)

This pie is tender and flavorful and best served  without whipped cream or ice cream on top…but then again, ice cream on the side is always welcomed!

Images Pixabay.com, CCO Creative Commons.

Mother Mary Teach Them, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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O Immaculate Virgin, help remove from the hearts of our holy women any reluctance to giving themselves fully to God. Keep them from being immersed in the things of earth. Teach them how pure their hearts ought to be, so that they will never refuse anything to the Lord, and will always be able to repeat with you their sweet, prompt fiat. Illumine their minds, then, with the light which emanates from your resplendent purity, so that no attachment, no earthly affection may remain hidden in them to prevent their leading a life truly and fully consecrated to God.  They have entrusted, in a very special way, a vow of chastity; guard it and make it pure, not only in body, but also in mind and heart. With your help, O Mother most holy, let their heart belong wholly to God. Amen.

(Adapted from Divine Intimacy, p.29)

Still, Many are Witness to Your Word, 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

 

A Drought That Did Not Kill

There is a bit of a drought going on in my corner of the world, both in my thoughts and in my garden.

A familiar quote that kept  coming up this week is…

I will never look into the eyes of a person God does not love.[1]

…I like that. Sometimes I recommend this quote to others, those caught in a cycle of self deprecation, to keep it in mind when they look in the mirror.

As for the garden…even in a drought, it blooms:

Lantana camara ‘Anne Marie’

Platycodon grandiflorus ‘Astra Blue’

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Annabelle’

Anethum graveolens, Dill!

Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’ (I think…)

Anemone x hybrida ‘Serenade’

And this guy

Let us pray for rain to refresh our wearied soil.

[1] Don’t know the origin of this quote, but it sounds like a paraphrase of any number of the Church doctors.

Images Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB, all rights reserved.

St. Michael the Archangel, Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

St. Michael the Archangel, continue to guard our holy women from the lies of the devil.

Let them not doubt their efforts to be the hands of Christ in a world that devalues the lessons Jesus taught.

Keep them free from anxieties and fears so they may continue to grow in the peace that only God can give.

Help their Guardian Angels to guide them from the near occasion of sin.

Keep them strong, safe, and able to draw near to one another in times of uncertainty.

We pray all this in Jesus name, Amen.

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