Guard them Our Lord, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Our Loving Lord, hear us as we pray for our Sisters and Nuns.

We pray that in their daily seeking, you come to them who serve you in patient hope.

As they make an offering of themselves, you come to them who have pledged to you their poverty.

In their carrying the burdens of our world within their hearts, come to them who have offered themselves through vows to persevere.

It is your face that they seek in us—in the child and in the dying, in those who are whole and those broken, in our silence and in the riot of torment—and their desire to wash us with your love.

Guard their hearts of joy and protect their tender souls, for this we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

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In Blizzards and Winter Storms, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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Lord Hear Our Prayer,

During this season of continued storms of snow and ice and freezing rain, in the relentless cold and winds that chill our bodies and our spirits, let us remember our priests.

They too struggle with this weather. Not only to meet the demands of being a priest, they also ache in their hearts for those who are most vulnerable: the poor and homeless, the elderly and the sick—those who have become isolated.

We pray for our priests who feel overwhelmed by the needs of their flock. We pray for our priests who work with limited resources to help those in need. We pray that our priests find strength in you for the burden they carry when they cannot help everyone who needs.

Lord hear our pray that our priests persevere in the challenges of a burdensome winter that threatens the people whom you have entrusted to their care. Amen.

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Painted Pony Beans and Nature’s Hold

Lima Beans

When my friend, Linda, and I bought this house thirty-one years ago we had to literally dig out the basement with coal shovels. It looked like a hoarder lived downstairs. With the help of Linda’s family the basement was eventually cleared, scrubbed and white-washed.

This January there was extensive (and expensive) work done in our unfinished basement. The ducts had to be cleaned, patched and insulated. The furnace too had to be repaired. Then there were the five slow leaking water lines that my repairs had been insufficient to stop, and the plumber wasn’t called until the washing machine hoses gave out. It’s not that I’m negligent about maintaining a home, it’s about financial priorities when poor.

With all the upheaval, the stacks of boxes, stored furniture, bins of lumber, shelves of paint and crates of gardening supplies were displaced or covered in a thick layer of dust. I was startled after the last repairman left; the basement again looked like a hoarder was living there.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of effort needed to clean up the mess. I have physical limitations and knew the basement had to be cleaned…somehow. The only way I could accomplish the task would be in small bursts. My goal was set: 30 minutes a day, four days a week until. I prayed for endurance.

The journey of a thousand steps (remember, I’m in a basement) began with the area under the stairs. This was my gardening hold that over the years had encroached nearly four feet into the laundry area. Wearing face mask and gloves, I wiped down and sorted through hundreds of vases, containers and pots. I allowed myself only one box for items I would keep. The sorting resulted in three large boxes for donation, four bags of garbage, and five crates of terra-cotta pots and saucers for a friend who would crush them for a small path in her garden.

Some items carried memories of a place or a person, and though I hesitated a moment to allow the memory to float through, most of the objects were easily passed along.

That was except for when I came to several crates of nature elements.

Inside a paper grocery bag were ten-inch long by one-inch wide canoe shaped pods from a trumpet vine. The back of the light brown pods were smooth and as soft as flannel. Each pod was slightly curved, and nested in that bag they looked like little wooden smiles appropriately sized for snowmen.

My fascination with dried beans goes back to childhood when I would stir the farm market’s bins of seeds with my hands. That enchantment is still with me fifty years later. A two-gallon apothecary jar contained Painted Pony beans, coppery-brown with speckled white rumps. There were three two-quart mason jars filled with shiny black Turtle beans that have a white dotted midpoint; I had planned to create a small mosaic-like plant stand with their little dots facing up. I also had jars of magenta striped Crimson beans, large Limas, and chocolate-on-honey Pinto beans.

The next crate had cones. Pug-nosed sequoia, long papery spruce, feathery Douglas fir, and pine cones with their incrementally spiraled crowns.

Another crate had palm-sized rocks gathered from lake sides and woodlands, and a small 50# kraft bag of white sand. Peeking into a 35-gallon bag, I found it filled with driftwood.

What was it about these items that caused such resistance to being discarded? I easily pass along purchased items or gifts from friends, but these…these unearned gifts from nature…I was unwilling to part with.

Standing there circled by crates of pods and beans, rocks and wood, I found myself in a revealing paradox. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34).  And I wondered…What is this hold that nature has on me? How, in my cloistered life, do I connect with others?

I sat down on an empty crate and picked up the jar of Painted Pony beans. Placing my hand inside, I stirred them with my fingers and wondered where I needed to let go.

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Naiveté of a New Life, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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When the decision is made to progress into a new way of life, the associated fear of the unknown can halt our movement. Sometimes we are faced with our own naiveté when we discover that we don’t even know what we don’t know.

And though we’ve prayed, and sought advice from those more experienced, only the person, within themselves, can we quell the anxiety and choose to step into the unfamiliar.

Let us pray for those beloved women who have discerned a calling to become Sisters and Nuns. Let us pray for their concerns to be transformed into trusting God’s will, for if God had brought them to the edge of such a life, he will surely guide them to fruition.

Let us pray, too, for those consecrated Sisters and Nuns who mentor the novices to be all they have been called to be.

In Jesus name, Amen.

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Rule of St. Benedict, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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In the Rule of St. Benedict it states for the monastery Abbott:  

Let him who know, then, that he who has undertaken the government of souls must prepare himself to render an account of them…he may be sure beyond a doubt that on Judgment Day he will have to give to the Lord an account of all these souls, as well as of his own soul.

 That, not only for our Abbots but also for our priests, is a demanding—possibly terrifying—responsibility. It is one that few of us would be willing to undertake unless called.

Let us pray for these courageous men willing to step into such a perilous job description. Let us pray, always, that Our Lord grant them the strength and perseverance in the governance and guidance of the souls under their watch.

Amen

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