Burning with Faith, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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O Jesus, our great High Priest, hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priests. Give them a deep faith, a bright and firm hope, and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of their priestly lives.

In their loneliness, comfort them. In their sorrows, strengthen them. In their frustrations, point out to them that it is through suffering that the soul is purified, and show them that they are needed by the Church, they are needed by souls, they are needed for the work of redemption.

O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your sons who are close to you because of their priestly ordination, and because of the power which they have received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs them so much. Be their comfort, be their joy, be their strength, and especially help them to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy.

Amen.

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Tendrils of Faith

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“As we extend the tendrils of our faith above and through the walls of our resistance, our lives become green, verdant, affirming… As we cling to our conscious optimism, finding footholds of faith despite opposition, our lives become rooted in the soil of grace. We are nurtured, prospered, and blessed.”

~Julia Cameron, Blessings: Prayers and Declarations for a Heartfelt Life (New York:  Tarcher Perigee, 1998) p. xii.

Image by StockSnap 27562 at pixabay.com.

Send us Good and Holy Religious, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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O Jesus, Good Shepherd, who have come to save what was lost, you have established the priesthood of the Holy Church, so that the work of Redemption might be perpetuated. We ask you urgently: send laborers into your vineyard! Give your Holy Church worthy and holy priests. Give your Holy Church religious brothers and sisters. Grant that all those whom you have chosen from all eternity may follow your call. Do not allow anyone who is unworthy to ascend the steps of the altar.

Confirm all priests and religious in their difficult vocation and bless their efforts and labors. Grant that they may be the salt of the earth which preserves from corruption and that they may be the light of the world which enlightens the faithful by their words and example. Grant them wisdom, patience and fortitude in order that they may promote your honor, propagate your Kingdom in the hearts of men, and guide the souls which have been entrusted to them to eternal life.

Amen

Prayer shared from https://www.praymorenovenas.com/

Image Pixabay.com, CCO creative Commons.

Taproots and Stability

The stability of any plant is contingent on healthy and strong roots. Some plants have a lateral root system made up of wide spreading roots, nearer the surface; others have a deep central taproot that has a network of roots all along its shaft.

A tree that has a taproot is one of few plants that are found thriving in hardened soils such as clay—which, by the way, is rich in nutrients bound too tightly for most plants to utilize. As the tree begins to develop, its tiny root hairs push down and through the compacted soil, penetrating the clay, absorbing the nutrients, and as it grows becomes solidly anchored.

I was reminded of root systems when reading Suffering and the Courage of God by Robert Norris (Weavings XVII, 5, p.12).

 “[Jesus] was not standing passively accepting abuse, but nobly, without fear, facing his enemy with courage and compassion, because he was rooted in a goodness deeper than suffering. Even in the midst of suffering, the taproot of his spirit was deeply anchored in the goodness of God.”

It is not hard to imagine, or maybe you remember, a storm of such power that trees were uprooted. Did you notice the exposed roots? Often those trees had wide surface roots that held them secure through most storms. But when hit with the full force of a wind shear, especially when the soil is weakened by repeated rains, their roots were not deep enough to hold fast.

Persistent pain, whether physical or psychological, is like repeated storms that weaken our footing, and can uproot us if our roots in faith are not deep and sound enough. Pain is a normal part of the experience of life and contributes to our development. Words from an unknown poet speak of purposefulness in that suffering, “There is a ministry of pain…in the making of the soul.”

Only if we stay grounded with Christ.

Horticultural science revealed that if a tree’s root system is bruised or damaged, buffeted by winds, and still in the soil, it will grow more roots to create a greater stability against future storms—the organism becomes stronger specifically where the stressor was greatest.

Again from Robert Norris,

 “In the midst of agony, the sufferer stays connected to a larger goodness instead of being pulled out into the terrible vortex of fear, anger, helplessness, and grief that swirls in his soul.” (p.13)

There is a liberation of the soul in suffering, in the living into the pain knowing that there is healing—if not a cure—as it unites itself to God. The soul recognizes a life, an eternity, worth suffering for.

A prayer from a beloved priest kind of sums it up: Increase in me Oh Lord, my dependence on you.

Taproot (n.): something that provides an important central source for growth or development.

Image: Pixabay.com, CCO Creative Commons