Tag Archives: prayer

A Lovely Morning

Even though it was the day after a holiday where I stayed up late, I got up early this morning with the intention of going to the 6:30 am Mass at OLGC. 

When I got there, there was a disturbing lack of cars in the parking lot, although it was only 7 minutes until the start of Mass. Plus, there were a few cars *leaving*… Not a good sign.

It turns out that there is only a 9 am Mass today, which I wouldn’t be able to make. I sat in my car for about half an hour, watching all the birds, praying, and just enjoying the morning.

I headed into downtown Plymouth and was greeted by these pretty flowers on the corner of the street where I parked:

From 2013-07-05

Then, I decided to treat myself to breakfast at Panera. I got a breakfast sandwich and actually sat down in a seat by the window, looking out at other people starting their day.

Of course, I also stopped by the Starbucks next door and grabbed an iced mocha. 🙂

I went back to the church, to see if anyone had shown up yet to unlock the doors so I could pray, but as I was driving there, I saw Fr. John driving in the opposite direction… So, no praying in the church for me!

Instead, I took a photo in front of the Lourdes grotto:
Good Morning, OLGC!

And sent it to Fr. John. You know. So he wouldn’t miss me or something… LOL! 🙂 Fulfilled my duty as the annoying little sister for the day! Yay! 🙂

7 Quick Takes: Friday the 13th!

— 1 —

God’s grace has been enveloping me this week. I am in awe of the gifts that He gives me and the way in which his is protecting me from my own sinful nature and deformed will, so that my heart may be conformed more closely to His. I supposed I shouldn’t be *that* surprised, since I pray for this all the time, but seeing Him answer that prayer is simply amazing!

— 2 —

Garden of Gethsemane

The most beautiful sight of the week has to have been the sight of my priest praying, prostrate, in front of the empty tabernacle on Holy Thursday evening. I stumbled upon this scene by accident, but it took my breath away. I couldn’t help but think of our Lord in the garden of Gethsemane, praying to the point of sweating blood — for us. To see my priest doing the same thing… What else could I do, but to be one of the apostles? So, I stayed some distance away and prayed (I *didn’t* sleep!). I prayed for him and for our parish, but I also spent quite a bit of time in prayer just to the Father. If he was praying in the place of Jesus, as an alter Christi, then I wanted to unite my prayers to theirs (his and His). I prayed at a bunch of altars of repose that evening, and I participated (as best I could) in many wonderful liturgies and events during Holy Week, but none captured my heart so much as those few quiet minutes of prayer in the garden.

— 3 —

Just a little bit of medical irony this week…. I had my follow-up appointment with my Pulmonary Medicine/Critical Care doctor yesterday. I was tachycardic, my blood pressure (instead of the nice 106/70 that it was last time) was 131/91, and my O2 sats had dropped from 99 to 93 (although the nurse, after trying a couple different fingers, saw it blip up to 95 momentarily and back down to the 93 it had been for about 5 minutes and recorded the 95).

So, even though my numbers were worse, apparently I was “good enough,” because he walked in and said that “healthy people can’t stay,” and told me that if I continued to do as well as I have been, I can stay out of the clinic until NEXT YEAR! 🙂

— 4 —

Wall of Books

Hi! My name is Jenn, and I am a book addict. I recognized this truth about myself this morning as I was walking in the dawn light to my parish’s library to return a book. Typically, I run up book fines like crazy, but I am trying very hard, at this library anyway, to return my books on time. Nevermind the fact that I am currently reading something like 40 books. Or that I already have 2 other books checked out from this library, one on loan from the book exchange at work, about 7 checked out from the library at my other parish and several books at my house which I haven’t finished. Nevermind all that. Because when I stepped into the library this morning, aware that I was there not 12 hours previously (and I read 2 books at that time), I had the urge to check out yet another book

— 5 —

Writer’s Block… Who would have thought that it would happen on a 7 Quick Takes??? I know that a lot of things have happened this week, but when the time comes to put them into a blog post, I end up staring at the computer screen for an uncomfortable period of time. Does this ever happen to you, too?

I have been thinking that it might be helpful to keep some Sticky Notes on me, so that I can write myself a reminder during the week to prepare for Fridays…

— 6 —

Is it odd that in this highly digital age, having several computers and a smartphone, that I am still enamored of Sticky Notes? I have them everywhere in my house, in my books, in my purse… And, even though I have a Kindle, for books which are not purely for pleasure-reading (which is most of the books that I read these days), I prefer to have a physical book in hand. I used to be very anal about keeping my books looking as pristine as possible, but it seems like I have entered the phase in my life where I want to underline or highlight things which strike me and am enjoying the idea of having books which look “lived in.”

— 7 —

IMAG2616

Speaking of Addictions…. I also seem to have a love for photography, which is perhaps not surprising to those of you who know me. I used to instruct photography. Probably the most useful Christmas present which I have received lately is a small point-n-shoot digital camera that my parents got me. I had mentioned wanting to get a small camera which I could keep in my purse, so that I always have one on hand.

IMAG2613

So, I now have a small, purple Nikon that I take with me everywhere. Granted, it’s a point-n-shoot, with all of the weaknesses of such a camera (which is occasionally frustrating), but the ability to take photos at any time is so awesome! Like yesterday, while I was visiting the parish library, and happened to notice all of the flowers… 🙂 Photos will be coming… As soon as I get home where I can download them! For now, you can see a few I took with my phone (the day before, when I had left my purse in the car… while visiting (again) the parish library… 🙂

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Vocation Friday

God has given me an amazing weekend! My heart was filled with love and joy, and I felt His presence throughout the events of the past few days. He is always with us, but I treasure those times where I really feel that He is with me.

I was so full of squee today that I am sure that I was annoying to the people around me. I just wanted to hug everyone. I didn’t, but the impulse was there.

Some of my thoughts from the day:
“I have amazing friends.
God loves me.
I don’t need anything beyond what I have, and still he gives me more. :)”

I am excited about maybe being able to go to the upcoming diaconate ordinations. I don’t yet have the same love for the diaconate as I do for the presbyterate, but I’m hoping that perhaps this ordination will help me expand my love for all ordinati. 🙂

About lunchtime, I had these thoughts:
“God allowed for the existence of peanut-butter topped cinnamon sugar toasted bagels.
God is my friend. :)”
It was mentioned that God also allowed for marshmallows and their fluff (which I wholly despise and reject as the source of all evil), so I had to note that God does permit for bad things to happen, sometimes. Quite obviously, marshmallow fluff is not of God. 🙂

Then, the Holy Spirit had me do something I had not intended to do.
See, I have a vocation as an intercessor. God has given me a particular person to pray for, and I pray for him daily. Beyond daily, really, almost constantly. 🙂 Because he happens to be a priest, I took one of those Chalice of Strength books a while back because it contains many prayers specifically for priests, and I thought that might be helpful to me. I noted at the time that there was an organization with which you could register as spiritually adopting a specific priest and they would send you biannual newsletters and suggestions for ways in which you could pray for the priests and the priesthood in general. I decided not to do this. This is a job that God has given to me and I felt that I didn’t need the recognition of having some sort of “membership” to give authenticity to this. I wasn’t doing this so as to be part of a community or anything, but because God wanted me to do it. I did not feel at the time that God was calling me to this organization.

Earlier in the summer, as I was taking a walk, I felt God speaking to me about the angels and encouraging me to ask them for their intercession, particularly as it applies to my vocation in praying for my one particular priest, and in general for all priests. Okay. I kind of noted this at the time, but as more time passed, I hadn’t really incorporated this into my daily prayers. I let it fall off the plate.

During lunch, I pulled out my Chalice of Strength book (which I don’t do all that often, really), and the little flyer in the back fell out. So, again, I read about signing up with their organization to spiritually adopt a priest. I, grudgingly, went to their website and took a look – highly skeptical of the website’s ability to make me interested in their program.

However, when I got there, my mind was changed. The organization was called “Opus Sanctorum Angelorum,” or “The Work of the Holy Angels”. Hmm. Angels.

As I read more, their program is really there to support you as you pray for priests, with the help of the angels, which is basically the message that I have been getting. They were an anonymous organization, so that I wouldn’t be recognized in any way – which was important to me. I just want to do God’s will. I began to realize that maybe God wants this for me now. To help me be a better intercessor.

There were two choices: you could (a) either submit a name of a man whom you already know as someone who you would permanently spiritually adopt or (b) ask for the name of someone for whom you would pray for a year, and at the end of the year, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, you would get the name of a different person. You could request a priest, bishop, seminarian or a man discerning his vocation.

Well, God already gave me one person, and I felt that he was definitely permanent, so I submitted his name for that. By doing that, I did not feel in any way that this “legitimized” my calling to pray for him, since I felt that I already had all the legitimacy that I needed – that this was a true calling for me to be his intercessor.

As I was on the website, I kept looking at it. There was something more for me here. I had one permanent, adopted “child” already. But there was something about this yearly program. So, after some prayer, I decided to enroll in this program, too. Since it is only a year commitment, I saw it as more of a “foster parent” arrangement. 🙂

So, in a way, I am expecting. Similar to a pregnant woman looking forward to the birth of a new child, I am waiting to be gifted with a new child of my own – to love, care for and, most important of all, to pray for.

With this new commitment, I anticipate being asked to give more of my time and myself for their benefit. I pray for strength and grace to truly be able to act as a good intercessor on their behalf and to follow God’s direction. I pray for the grace to become more holy, so that my prayers may be more efficacious for their good. I pray for them, personally, and for their vocations. I pray for all of us that we may answer God’s call anew every day and, as is written in Ephesians, to “live a life worthy of your vocation.”

As a final bonus to my Friday, Fr. Acervo is giving a talk “On the Priesthood.” My day could not get any better! 🙂 I love God! 🙂

How to Pray for Priests

From Opus Sanctorum Angelorum — Crusade for Priests

The answer is not a particular prayer or even a particular form of prayer, but rather, “pray frequently for priests and offer a variety of your good works for their sanctification”. Here are some suggestions that may help make your prayers more effective.

1. ‘Adopt’ or pray for a particular priest or bishop that you find especially troubling, rather than one you like. This requires a greater sacrifice and therefore will school us in the selfless love of Christ and be more meritorious and efficacious. Our charity is like a chain, as strong as its weakest link. By working on our ‘weak links’ of charity we ourselves will grow and contribute more to the building up of Christ’s Body, the Church.

2. Pray especially for newly ordained priests. They are like young plants in the garden: tender and in need of special care. Their immersion into the apostolate, their lack of experience, isolation and, at times, disillusionment are especially painful at the beginning of the ministry. A recently published study reported that an estimated 10-15 percent of American priests leave the priesthood within five years of their ordination.

3. Offer up a portion of your sufferings for priests, be they sickness, hardship, sleepless nights, an upcoming operation or other discomforts.

4. Pray for the souls of priests in purgatory, asking them to intercede for their fellow priests on earth. It would be good to gain at least one plenary indulgence a week for them. In general, prayers for the poor souls, who cannot help themselves, are a great work of mercy, to which is attached a great work of mercy: when they get to heaven through our prayers, they never forget to pray for us poor sinners. To their gratitude we can recommend and direct their prayers for priests.

5. Offer up at least one rosary a day for priests. When possible, pray the rosary in a Church before the Blessed Sacrament and with others.

6. Fast with prudence and the approval of a priest or spiritual director for the sanctification and conversion of priests, especially for those in the state of mortal sin and in the grip of the devil. For as Christ Himself has told us, there are some kinds of demons that can only be driven out by prayer and fasting (see Mk 9:29). And Pope John Paul II has stated that the “first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil are prayer and fasting.” (Evangelium Vitae, 100.2).

7. If you say the Liturgy of the Hours, offer it up in reparation for all the priests who have stopped praying their Office. If you do not know how to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, consider learning how to do so; it is the official prayer of Christ our High Priest in and with the Church.

8. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily — or at least every Friday — at 3:00 PM. the Hour of Mercy, asking our Lord to be merciful to His priests. The Lord revealed to St. Faustina that great graces are attached to praying at this time. “At three O’clock, implore My Mercy, especially for sinners, and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion.” (Diary, 1320). It is therefore helpful and efficacious to pray also at this time the short but powerful ejaculation, “O blood and water which poured forth from the Heart of the Savior as a fount of love and mercy, I trust in Thee.”

9. Make the Stations of the Cross, at least, once a week for priests. Try to do this at the three O’clock hour, if at all possible. For Christ told St. Faustina, “My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant.” (Diary, 1572).

10. Visit a sick person in a hospital or in a nursing home in reparation for priests who have failed to console the sick and offer them the consolation of the sacraments.

11. Make a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament at least once a week for priests. If you are already doing this, try to make another one, or spend another half-hour before the Blessed Sacrament, or at least try to make an extra visit to a church or chapel.

12. Make at least one communion of reparation each week to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to repair the irreverence of priests and in expiation for the sacrilegious masses offered by priests in the state of mortal sin.

These are just a few of the prayers and sacrifices that can be offered up for priests. There are many others. But what needs to be stressed at the present moment is the critical necessity for all of us to do something extra not only for the sanctification of priests but also something extra in reparation for the sins of those priests who have failed the Lord.

Pope John Paul wrote a letter to all the bishops of the United States when a similar but less severe priest scandal rocked the Church in America. At the end of his letter the Pope warned bishops, in words that now seem prophetic, “Yes, dear brothers, America needs much prayer — lest it lose its soul.” Let us, then, redouble our prayers and sacrifices for priests, so that America may grow in holiness and so come to fulfill its mission to be a witness to the gospel of Christ in the modern world.

Our Lord promises: “He who receives you receives Me, … and whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” (Mt. 10;40-42) May the reward of the Lord be the grace that you might always have a priest who gives you daily Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and at the end of this life eternal happiness.

Lord, please give me the grace to progress on my journey towards holiness, so that I may be a more efficacious intercessor for our priests. Amen.

Take Nothing for Granted

Last night, my brother came over, which was great. I don’t get to see him all that often. He stayed until about 12:15 am, when I finally had to go to bed, so that I’d be able to get up this morning. About 3 am or so, my roommate woke up and was violently ill. Poor girl — I hate being sick like that. I got up and gave her some baking soda water to try and calm her stomach, then tried to lay back down for a little while.

Of course, then I overslept. I ran around and figured that I’d at least attempt to make the very end of Mass, even though I don’t like walking in late. I pulled into the parking lot about 6:50. Mass always goes at least until 6:58. People were already leaving. How strange. As I walk in, a friend was walking out, so I asked her if Mass got out early today. She said that no priest ever showed up.

“Are they okay??” I ask, worried now. This is not typical.

She shrugs, “They probably just slept in.”

True, that’s most likely what happened, but what if something happened and someone’s really hurt or ill or had to go to the hospital??

So, I went into the chapel and prayed, prayed, prayed.

Then, I thought about what the other people might think, who also go to the 6:30 am Mass. I was concerned that they might be upset with the priests, and I prayed for their understanding and forgiveness, too.

I prayed for all the people who don’t get to go to Mass every day; for the priest shortage; for the upcoming Year of the Priest.

I prayed for Fr. John. I prayed that he was okay and that nothing bad happened that he had to take care of. I prayed that whoever had not made it to Mass, that they were okay and that they wouldn’t get too upset at themselves for missing (if it was a sleeping-in kind of thing). I prayed that Fr. John wouldn’t get too mad at whoever missed Mass. I prayed that (if it were a sleeping-in kind of thing) our priests weren’t working themselves too hard. I prayed that if they needed the extra sleep that God would heal them in mind and body and refresh them. I prayed that they would have stamina and endurance and be able to fulfill all the tasks which God calls them to. I prayed to the Blessed Mother to take care of her sons, to protect them and to care for them.

I prayed and I worried. I said things like, “God, I trust You that everything will be okay, but please, please keep him safe!”

I went to Starbucks to get my morning coffee, and on the way back decided to stop by the church again — to see if anyone had showed up for the 8 am Mass. On the way back, I was praying for him to be okay, and alternately thanking God that he *was* okay. Which was a little bizarre. I got to the church, and Fr. John’s car was there, so I was a little relieved. I gathered up the toys I had to give him and went inside and waited for a little while, but didn’t see him. I snuck down to the church proper, and saw him sitting on the far side, praying. I didn’t want to bother him, and it was getting late, so I left to go to work.

I’m glad he made it in. That something’s not grossly wrong, but I still pray that he is okay and not sick or overly tired or facing any big problems. May the Blessed Mother continue to care for him.

I was running **really** late for work now. So much that I knew that if I parked in the commuter lot and waited for the bus, I would be definitely late. So, I had to park in the structure. That’ll be $10 for the day. Ouch. But I’m glad that I at least know that he made it to church. I hope that if it was Fr. Lee who was to say Mass this morning, that he also is okay.

Worry. Pray. Worry. Pray. Whew! Caring for priests is a hard job! 🙂

Adam Update

I got a call from Adam’s mother last night. Adam is not doing well. He’s currently on a ventilator at Troy Beaumont hospital. His MRI yesterday showed inoperable brain metastases.

Please keep praying for Adam, and his family.

Happy Updates: Prayer Works!

A little while back, I posted, asking all of you to pray for Henry, who was born 2 months premature.
(Original postings here and here)

As you can see, Henry is doing well, getting big, and already digging into those ham sandwiches! 🙂
(Okay, okay, the photo is staged… but still….)
Henry Inspecting Ham Sandwich

Thank you so much for your prayers! Prayer really does work! Praise God! 🙂

Prayer of the Day

I’m probably going to end up repeating myself a lot on this blog, but praying the Liturgy of the Hours/Christian Prayer really gets me sometimes — and I just have to share! 🙂

To you, Lord, we lift up our souls; rescue us, do not let us be put to shame for calling out to you. Do not remember the sins of our youth and stupidity, but remember us with your love.

This one seems particularly fitting for Reconciliation.

Short Note on Prayer

“Prayer lifts the soul into the heavens where it hugs God in an indescribable embrace.

Prayer is the desire for God, an indescribable devotion, not given by man but brought about by God’s grace. As St Paul says: For when we cannot choose words in order to pray properly, the Spirit himself intercedes on our behalf in a way that could never be put into words.” — From the Office of the Readings

What a great thing to keep in mind! That prayer is a gift. It is not my list of demands to God, but the free gift of a relationship with Him. He *allows* us to communicate with Him. He doesn’t have to. How often do we — do I — take for granted the fact that I can talk to God, and He can speak to me?

I have had it happen before where I am completely unable to string together a coherent thought, but have the desire to communicate something to God. But God knows even before we do, so the words aren’t really necessary; and being coherent isn’t necessary, because He has perfect understanding. This is not to say that we shouldn’t pray, because God hears us anyway. As the way we were made, God is constantly inviting us to respond to Him and to seek a relationship with Him. Prayer is a gift, but we need to cooperate.

May the Lord God bless you!

Please pray for Blàse

Please pray for Blàse, a 3-week-old little boy who is in the NICU with many medical difficulties, mostly cardiac. He recently had open heart surgery, and he and his family could really use your prayers.

Thank you, so very much!