On Being a Mouse

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It’s turning cold outside, and with it comes that scratching sound that distracts me from my prayers. They’re running up the chimney wall and across the ceiling. With any luck the rodents will run under the bathroom sink and into the cheese-filled trap.

I’m conflicted. I really hate having to kill mice. They are funny little things. One late summer evening sitting in the yard, I watched a pair of them scurry, hop, and tumble with one another under the sunflowers, gathering fallen seeds from birds.

I remember from childhood sleeping on the floor in the back room and, having saved tiny pieces of bread or corn from dinner, would place it under the radiator. Soon enough my “pet” field mouse would run up and snatch my gift. It wasn’t long until the little rodent was waiting for me to feed it. It would tickle my finger tip with its tiny paws, eat, and eventually dart off. The mouse was always aware of any danger to its tiny being and would run for cover at the slightest threat.

Having grown up in Detroit in an area where personal threat was a very real thing, I am (still) uncomfortable and distracted in public. For the love of God, I set that fear aside. It is not just the opportunity for physical harm that keeps me mindful of my surroundings, but mental and spiritual peril as well.

I fret over what my responsibility is in public situations. When men are being sarcastic and mean to women, or mothers being verbally abusive to energetic children, cell phone users speaking inappropriately in public spaces and ignoring their companions and children, and the general rudeness of people living under stress and the oppression of being without a sense of God.

My confidence of being a good Christian often wanes in public.

To be some sort of a presence of Christ we all work at being attentive to people and their wants, confusions, challenges, and stories. It is in our silence that they reveal their needs. I attempt to be a source of calm, offering prayer so the Holy Spirit can work in them.

I sidestep sharing on the same level. The encounter is not about me. They needn’t know more than I am a gardener, Benedictine Oblate, and that I love to pray—the people I meet fuel my desire to do so.

I see myself as a mouse, scurrying about the perimeter of life to avoid detection, and at the same time aware of what is going on around me. I snatch up little morsels of food I find—those little bits and pieces of human sorrows, needs, and emptiness that are dropped—and carry them back to a place of safety for prayer.

Meanwhile, the devil prowls about ready to pounce, and sometimes I get caught in his claws. Wounded, I know where to find healing. And from the wounding I learn to be more vigilant, to circle sooner behind the Holy and wait.

It’s not about being perfect in our encounters, or praying more. It’s about doing and being our best no matter how small we are.

Image by Shutterbug75 from Pixabay .

Saint Faustina, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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This prayer from St. Faustina holds significance these days when the title of Priest is bearing the brunt of being tarnished by those who in their ranks who have fallen…and hard. Let us pray for the endurance of our good and holy priests, let us also pray for mercy and justice for those who have sinned and created a generation of victims.

Lord, give us holy priests; you yourself maintain them in holiness. O Divine and Great High Priest, may the power of your mercy accompany them everywhere and protect them from the devil’s traps and snares which are continually being set for the souls of priests.

May the power of your mercy, O Lord, shatter and bring to naught all that might tarnish the sanctity of priests, for you can do all things.

I ask you, Jesus, for a special blessing and for light for the priests before whom I will make my confessions throughout my lifetime.

Amen.

~St. Faustina Kowalska

Image by Didgeman at pixabay.com.

His Sacred Heart, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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O Jesus, Eternal Priest, keep your priests within the shelter of your Most Sacred Heart, where none can touch them.  Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch your Sacred Body.  Keep unsullied their lips daily tinged with your Precious Blood.  Keep pure and unworldly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of the priesthood.  Let your Holy Love surround and protect them from the world’s contagion.  Bless their labors with abundant fruit, and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here, and their everlasting crown in the hereafter.  Amen.

~St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Image by Redheads Rule at pixabay.com.

To Slow the Decline

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I wrote about how both God and Satan work incrementally.

Not so long ago I came upon this quote in the book, Song of the Sparrow by Murray Bodo, OFM:

We drift away from God so easily; not fast but easily. And before we know it, we are far downstream from God trying desperately to break our acceleration and reverse our direction.

As a Benedictine, we are called to be pray-ers in the world. And I do pray — for people by name, for groups and their causes, for our near-sighted government, and for our world where the infection of evil is spreading, seemingly at an exponential rate.

I don’t know that I can pray hard enough, fast long enough, offer up suffering deep enough to even slow the momentum of decline. I am but a beggar.

I can only hope that the Lord hears us, and helps us. I’m assured He hears us, even when we fail to listen.

Image from morguefile.com.

In the Course of Priestly Life, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests

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O Jesus, our great High Priest,

Hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priest, Father give him a deep faith, a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of his priestly life.

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

O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your son who is close to you because of his priestly ordination, and because of the power which he has received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs him so much.

Be his comfort, be his joy, be his strength, and especially help him to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy.

Amen.

Prayer from Catholic Ireland.

Image by J. Plenio at Pixabay.com.