Night Prayer

EAZmyqHXYAA7SKBToday’s guest writer is Leigh Anne.

Night Prayer

Protect us, Lord as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in His peace.

Since I arrived in Gruver, my brother pestered me everyday to let him show me how to do the prayers of the Liturgy of the Hours, I said no for probably a good week until finally I caved and said, “Okay, show me how to pray night prayer.”

There is an app you can use to pray the different prayers throughout the day called iBreviary but Ryan was nice enough to give me my own book.

My parents started praying night prayer with us and now it is something we aim to do as a family every night. I enjoy night prayer with my family. I don’t mind praying alone and sometimes that is what we need–quiet time with the Lord. But praying as a family only makes us stronger–especially during this time of uncertainty and difficulty.

The part of the prayer at the beginning of this post is my favorite part of night prayer. I find when I say it, I am overcome with a different kind of peace–the peace that you can only find in the Spirit of the Lord.

I would encourage you to pray with your families. I still struggle to get excited about night prayer, bus as I said, praying as a family only makes us stronger.

So if you take nothing else from this piece, remember this:

Protect us, Lord as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in His peace.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Control

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We Pray the Rosary Every Morning

NeighborsHere in the United States we are blessed with an abundance of food and the many markets and stores where we can buy our groceries. In Gruver, the middle of nowhere, we still have a grocery store, and I hope we never take it for granted. We almost lost our grocery store because the family that owned and operated it was retiring. Losing the grocery store was a source of concern for the entire community. A couple of families rose to the occasion. They bought the old store did an extensive remodel, and now Gruver has a small but quaint grocery store, and I love the name… Neighbors.

Neighbors provides a service to our community. It is not only a place to buy grocery items, but it also employs many of our youth.

Anyway… I was in the Neighbors the other day picking up some groceries for supper. The kids were stocking the aisles. (They have been working extra hard during this pandemic). I walked by one young lady, and she turned and looked at me and said, “We have been praying the rosary every morning. Every morning mom says, Come on let’s pray the rosary.” I thanked her for telling me, and I told her that I was proud of them, and it did my heart good.

This year during Lent, one of the things I have been trying to do is pray the rosary every day. Since the pandemic began, and I have been working from home, I try to go on a walk around town and pray the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet.

The rosary is a powerful prayer. The prayer has been invoked for centuries. The rosary has been prayed in many dire circumstances before battles, after attacks, and during times of sickness and death.

This mother that calls her children every morning to pray the rosary is calling them to battle, and prayer is the battle ground. When we take up prayer, when we pick up our rosary, we are picking up our armor, our sword for battle.

Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one. And take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:13-18)

leighandrosary

I had a Facebook friend comment the other day to a picture of Leigh Anne holding up some rosaries she had made. She said,

Is it weird that I’m not Catholic, but find peace in holding a rosary? I love holding and smelling (I know….extra weird) my Bible too. But the rosary just feels different.

You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate the rosary. If you feel uncomfortable praying Catholic prayers like the Hail Mary feel free to substitute a prayer you are comfortable with. The Lord hears our prayers.

As I was walking down the streets of Gruver, I was thinking about this young lady that told me she had been praying the rosary every morning. It struck me how blessed I was that she would share this with me. I thought to myself what a moment! It was a moment of pure Grace.

The young woman’s name… Gracee.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Covid-19: In the Distance

Fr. JimWe have another guest writer for Mary Mail today. It is Fr. Jim Schmitmeyer. He is the priest at St. John the Evangelist in Borger, Texas. Fr. Jim taught our deacon class homiletics, and his classes were great! Fr. Jim is also an author. You can find his most recent book Preaching at the Truckstop: Homilies on the Way to the Big Bash on Amazon.

Covid-19: In the Distance

In times of persecution, Catholics have gathered for Mass in secret, in the dead of night, like vagrants huddle around a trash-can fire to warm their hands and pass a pint.

The stories about clandestine Masses involve priests who break unjust laws and put their lives at risk to offer the Holy Sacrifice, such as in England in the time of St. Thomas More and Mexico in the time of St. Miguel Pro, and many other places as well.

These Masses are part of our history, stories of stalwart faith practiced behind the Satan’s battle lines: in concentration camps and POW camps, in damp cellars in the city and cattle barns in remote country.

Now, today, we have Masses in a time of pandemic, simple liturgies with less than ten people in attendance. We call them “live-stream.” But, remember the biblical deer who longs for rushing water? Well, these “live-stream” Masses bring only the promise, not the quenching, of sacramental thirst.

It’s not the same. Not even close!

For Catholics accustomed to the flowing currents of a Sunday Mass—the standing, the kneeling, the crawling babies, the elderly with walkers, the sloshing rhythm of people singing, the glint of light on a chalice—the experience of watching a live-stream Mass is akin to a fourteen-year-old viewing a video of classmates swinging from ropes over a creek only to plunge into water teeming with tadpoles, turtles and crawdads.

Grace dropped from the I-Cloud is a far cry from the feel of cool water on your skin. Yet, we are compelled to search for grace in every place.

This weekend, I will invite two catechumens to join me for a private Mass. I’ll unlock the door of the church, place sanitizer on a table nearby, and each one of us will keep a safe distance apart.

I will look for grace in that distance.

During the Liturgy of the Word, I will invoke God’s blessing on the catechumens, asking that the power of the sacraments “will conform them to Christ…and enable them to triumph over the bitter fate of death.”

Across the distance of an all-but-empty church, I will look into faces hungry for God, hungry for the touch of God. In their eyes, I will note defiance, a stubborn arrogance similar to the knowing glance of POW’s gathered around a Bible in the sight of guards with coyote eyes.

This Sunday, that Bible lies open to the death-defying verse that reads: “Lazarus, come out!”

Across the distance of a vacant church, I will proclaim words that flows like a river, an underground river, sweeping in its current forgiveness of sin, hope for the poor and life without end. The same hope once offered amid the tombs of martyrs in Rome, glimpsed from blood-soaked crosses in Nagasaki, shouted in the grito, “Viva Cristo Rey!,” as firing squads aimed their rifles.

Surely this faith, which no government can destroy and no secularism eviscerate, will not buckle in the face of a virus that wears a tin crown called corona.

Grace in the distance.

Grace in the murmur of the ancient Creed, its cadence the snap of branches breaking beneath the chest of a golden buck.

Grace in the distance.

Grace in a vision of once-and-future Sunday picnics: kids dashing to jump into a muddy creek, grey-haired grannies paddling canoes, teenagers shooting the rapids, weathered men casting lines to snag some trout.

Upstream, below the falls, water crashes against the boulders of time. Sacraments, like rainbow colors, hover in the sacred mist. They dissolve and fade. Then, in the distance, reappear in triumphal spray.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jesus Loves You

Please turn up your volume

Br. Simon on Twitter: @MonkSimonOSB

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fourth Sunday of Lent March 22, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Lent March 22, 2020

1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Ps 23, Ep 5:8-14; Jn 8:1-41

When we ran cattle, occasionally, we would graze sudan in the summer. One of the imagedownsides was that when the calves walked through the sudan. It would hurt their eyes, and some would become blind.

I would try to doctor the blind calves. I would put them in the chute, and I would inject a few cc’s of penicillin in their eyelids. We would cut up old levis and make patches for their eyes. I would glue the patch on they eye. I would glue it on the top, but leave the patch loose on the bottom, so some light would come in.

I never had much luck curing the blindness, but occasionally, I would cure a calf. Those calves always seemed much happier when they could see.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus passes by a blind man. Last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus was with the woman at the well of Jacob. Jesus told her he was the Messiah, and she believed him! She was so convinced. She ran into town, and told her friends. The woman at the well was spiritually blind, but after her encounter with Jesus, she could see!

Today, Jesus heals a man who is physically blind. He to is able to see! I’ll bet he was more excited than some of the calves I tried to help out. When  the blind man is questioned by the most religious men of the time, the Pharisees, he tells them that Jesus is a prophet, but they don’t believe him. The Pharisees are spiritually blind. So blind, they can’t see the Son of God even though he is in their presence.

This Lent is like none other. The world will be talking about this Lent for many years to come. Lent is a time for fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. The Lord has brought the fast to us. Many are home. Many of us have time on our hands. Maybe we can use this time to be with Jesus. Use this time the Lord has given us to pray. Pray for the end of the pandemic. Pray for all the doctors, nurses, and health care workers. Pray for all of those providing services that are essential to life.

We also can give. Give to those around us in need, and their are so many in need. When we spend time with Jesus. He will give us light. He will help us see.

Despierta, tú qu duermes, levántate de entre los muertos y Cristo será tu luz.

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light. (Ep 5:14)

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From the Desert to the Ark, to the Resurrection

Today we have a guest Mary Mail from my son, Ryan, who is a seminarian at St. Meinrad, Indiana.

From the Desert to the Ark, to the Resurrection

Remember the two greatest commandments? They seem so simple.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul,

with all your mind,

and with all your strength.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Mk 12: 29-31)

These commandments, however, are not simple.  They require a complete surrendering of oneself first to God and then to your neighbor.  

The image of “the desert” is traditionally used during the season of Lent.  It is an image that brings to mind isolation from the world. We give up things and empty ourselves to embrace this desert and it is there that we prepare for the rising of Christ during Holy Saturday.  

However, this year has not been a typical Lent.  For many of us, this Lent and Holy Saturday will be an entirely spiritual exercise that requires us to rely completely on God. What about Noah?  What was his Lent like?

He secluded his family in the ark

They protected themselves from an outside threat

They worked hard

They reflected and prayed

They relied completely on God

Jesus is coming!

Ryan

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment