Ascending Christ, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns


O Christ of the Ascension, we pray that You will strengthen and refresh those holy women who have answered Your call to be set apart with You. They are for the world a sign and symbol of the faith You ask of each of us; they sustain us through their prayers and the work of their hands. We ask that You sustain them in kind, Lord. Let Your grace fill them with love, that they may delight in serving You today, and rejoice. May You bring laughter, light, and peace to each of them, and to their communities. We ask this in Your name. Amen.

~Calah Alexander, 2014.

Image by Manfredrichter at

Ascension, Thursday’s Prayer for Priests


Dear Jesus , right before your Ascension into heaven you told your apostles to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth upon receiving the Holy Spirit.

We pray for our priests to be similarly inspired and strengthened to spread your Gospel message in a world in need. May our priests do so  joyfully and with sincere dedication, with your  guidance and your grace. In remembering your ascension, help them to seek what is above, so as to teach and guide us here below. We ask all this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Image by dimitrisvetsikas1969 at

Pinched Back

Platycodon grandiflorus

There are several perennial flowers that bloom more abundantly when pinched back in late spring and again after about 4 weeks in early summer.

Those flowers are of the type called ‘terminal bloomers’, meaning they flower on the ends of stems. Perennials in my yard that are terminal bloomers and trimmed back include mum, sedum, platycodon (balloon flowers), and the shrubby Annabel hydrangea.

Because these plants bloom on the ends of stems, by pinching back the tips the plant sends out additional lateral (side) stems and thereby creates more terminal ends for blooms.

The other day, after yet another rain, I saw from the kitchen window how leggy some of the plants had become. I had failed to finish the task of pinching back started several weeks ago and now, with all the rains the platycodon and mum were getting long and floppy—the stems soft from rapid growth due to the warm rains.

My arthritic body ached—which was the reason I had delayed the chore for so long—but knew what had to be done, and it was such a small chore. As soon as there was a break in the rain I slipped on my boots and grabbed the nippers, heading out to the garden.

It felt good to be in the lushness of an early summer garden, and to enjoy the birds singing and tree frogs chirping.

Good for about 7 minutes!

My back and knees began to hurt so I rushed through trimming the remaining plants. Being careless, I cut several stems too far, and having done so knew the flowering would be inhibited rather than enhanced.

Closing the shed and heading for the house I prayed…

Dear Lord, I ask that in my own frustrations of who I am as I mature, trying to grow too fast through the storms of aging, that you do not prune me with such reckless abandon.

As I dried the nippers and pulled off boots I knew Our Lord would prune with love, attentive to the flowering to come.

Image by Walter Stern at

Before Striking the Ground


Horses fascinate me.  From the stout and powerful march of the Percheron to the rhythmic gate of the Paso Fino. Watching them trot and gallop freely in pasture is a simple beauty from God.

While driving country lanes, I came upon a boarding farm and pulled over to watch the horses running and tossing their heads, and noticed something never realized before.

In dressage it’s called passage: a slow, cadenced trot executed with great elevation of the feet and characterized by a moment of suspension before the feet strike the ground.

That motion, the moment before the hoof strikes the ground, a brief second of suspension in the continuation of a walk. That is how I pray at times, an elevated lightness mid-step, somewhere between silence and closeness.

Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning,  that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.

Henri J. M. Nouwen


May God’s peace lighten us this day.

Image by Irhaij at



Seeding the Holy Spirit, Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns


Heavenly Father,

Today, once more, sow your words in the hearts of our Sisters and Nuns. Till patiently the soil of their souls so they may continue to be fruitful and bring to you a rich harvest.

Let their nourished souls bring the Holy Spirit to nourish our lives. We ask all this in Jesus name.


Image by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB, all rights reserved.