WINTER (Dec-Feb) - Catholic Rural Life

WINTER (Dec-Feb)


A Prayer in Advent

DEAR God, all over the world now, the children of Holy Mother Church are singing: “Send down dew from above, you heavens, and let the skies pour down upon us the rain we long for, Him, the Just One. May He, the Savior, spring from the closed womb of the earth!”

We know, Lord, and we have seen, what drought does to the land. We know, too, and have seen, the ravages of frost and cold. We have walked in barren fields and up dry hills, through dead, silent woods and lifeless valleys, and along thirsty beds of once flowing streams.

We have seen, clearly enacted for us upon the land, what our life would be without You. We can understand, now, how we should long for Your coming. Come, dear Lord and Savior, and do not delay! Rise up in Your power and come!

Let the rain of Your grace water the parched soil of our souls. Let the warmth of Your love thaw the coldness of our indifference. Let the life of Your Body and Blood vitalize our deadened energies, and stir us up to fruitful labor in Your vineyard.

O eternal Father, rouse our hearts out of the sleep of sin, so that we may clear the path of Your Son into our souls. Each year in Advent, You gladden us with the thought of our redemption. Grant us, we pray You, that, as we receive Your Son as our Redeemer now, we may, in the future, gladly and confidently meet Him as our Judge. Amen.

A Prayer in Winter

DEAR Lord, the summer is over and gone, and the harvest is once more past. All the wealth and warmth of the summer sun is marvelously packaged now, in seed and fruit and vegetable, and stored away in bins and cribs and basements.

Thank You, dear, generous God, for all Your goodness and for all Your gifts. All summer long You are working for us, storing heat and health and nourishment in the fields and woods. Now, when the air is cold, and there is no fruitfulness in the earth, we can live on what the summer and the harvest have stored up for us.

Thank You for Your unnumbered kindnesses to us, dear God. Help us to make good use of the riches of the earth. Help us to be generous, even as You are, and al ways avoid selfishness and greed.

Help us, too, to store up spiritual wealth in the summer of this life, while we can yet work. Otherwise life’s autumn will come, death will call us, a spiritual winter will set in and we shall be found poor and unsheltered not for one season only, but for the winters of eternity.

Lord, we trust in You, that, cooperating with Your many graces, we may make good use now of our rich opportunities. And may we then reap a rich spiritual harvest which we will enjoy with You and Your saints in the eternal spring and summer of heaven. Amen.

A Prayer at Christmas Time for Country Living

LORD Jesus Christ, when, on a winter’s night I look up through the clear air at the stars, I can be very close to You and to Your native Bethlehem. It was at night that You first came to this earth. It was under the same stars that now gleam in this night sky that Mary first held You in her arms. It was by the faint light of these stars still shining tonight that the shepherds found their way to the stable, and discovered You, as the angels had said they would, lying in a manger.

Dear Christ, it is especially at Christmas time that I see and understand how close You are to those who live on the land. We have so many reminders of You! The stars and moon at night and the sun by day — the same stars under which You were born; the same moon that shone that night on Bethlehem; the same sun that brightened Your first days on earth.

The stable, and the farm animals that shared their quarters and their warmth with You, their creator. The sheep and the shepherds that came to adore You — rough men, but good, truthful, honest, and sincere.

O Jesus, Son of the everlasting God, You are so wonderfully made one of us at Christmas time! You are our God, but You are our Brother, too. You are our King, but You come as a helpless little baby, longing for our love.

Help us today and always to see You in all those with whom we come in contact. Let us never forget Your own instruction, that whatever we do for the least of those around us, we do for You. Help us always to serve You in the generous, selfless spirit of this season, and we shall then be real Christians — more and more like You — other Christs. Amen.


New Year’s Prayer for Church and State

ALMIGHTY and eternal God, You have, through Jesus Christ, revealed Your glory to all nations. We pray You to preserve the works of Your mercy, that Your Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Your name.

We pray You, who alone are good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life our Chief Bishop, Pope Francis, the vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of His Church; our own Archbishop and Bishop; all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise among us the functions of the holy ministry and conduct Your people into the ways of salvation.
We pray You, O God of might, wisdom, and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, to assist with Your holy spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of the United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Your people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion, by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy, and by restraining vice and immorality.

Let the light of Your divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge, and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his Excellency, the Governor Of this state, for the members of the Assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Your powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise to Your unbounded mercy all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Your most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal. Amen.

A Prayer for the Whole Family (Feast of the Holy Family, First Sunday after Christmas)

DEAR Lord, bless our family. Be so kind as to give us the unity, peace, and mutual love that You found in Your own family in the little town of Nazareth.

Saint Joseph, bless the head of our family. Obtain for him the strength, the wisdom, and the prudence he needs to support and direct those under his care.

Mother Mary, bless the mother of our family. Help her to be pure and kind, gentle and self-sacrificing. For the more she resembles you, the better will our family be.

Lord Jesus, bless the children of our family. Help them to be obedient and devoted to their parents. Make them more and more like You. Let them grow, as You did, in wisdom and age and grace before God and man.

Holy Family of Nazareth, make our family and home more and more like Yours, until we are all one family, happy and at peace in our true home with You. Amen.

Dedication of the Rural Family to the Divine Majesty

ALMIGHTY and merciful Father, whom Your only-begotten Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, has named the Husbandman, or Farmer, graciously accept our praise and adoration. All things were made by You and all that we have is Yours.

Our lives and our talents, our home and furnishings, the soil and its fruits, the animals and their abode, sunshine and rain, fruit and harvest are all from You. By their use we are to come more securely to You. For all Your gifts, O God, we offer You our thanks.

You have made us branches of Your Son, the true Vine, members of Your kingdom, and sheep of Him who is our Good Shepherd. In gratitude and love we promise to remain ever close to the divine Heart of Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

We humbly beseech You to look with favor upon this Your family and to sanctify its members. Bless also our home, our flocks and herds, our fields and labors. Keep from us all attacks of Satan and preserve us from all evil, through Your beloved Son in the charity of the Holy Spirit.

With filial affection and reverence we humbly dedicate ourselves to the Blessed Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Keep us ever in Your love, faithful and true unto death.
We place this our dedication in the pure hands of the Immaculate Mother of God, the patroness of our beloved country. May the Most Holy Virgin Mary carry this offering of ourselves and all that is ours to the throne of Your divine majesty. Grant us through her intercession, we beseech You, the grace to pass through things temporal that we may not lose those which are eternal. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Church Unity (Church Unity Octave, January 18-25)

ALMIGHTY and eternal God, You have promised that there will someday be but one fold and one Shepherd. Hasten that day, we pray You, in Your most merciful kindness and generosity. Pour the light of Your grace into the minds of our non-Catholic friends so that they may see the truth, and fully realize that the truth is one and undivided. Give them also the strength of will needed to follow in the direction of the light You give them.
Let us, their neighbors and friends, not be a hindrance to their conversion by our bad example. Rather let Your goodness be made clear to them by the virtue of our lives. Then may they finally all be brought to You, the Light that enlightens every man who comes into the world. Amen.


A Prayer for Candlemas Day (February 2)

LORD Jesus Christ, You are the true Light enlightening every soul born into this world. Today we celebrate the feast of Candlemas. Before Holy Mass, the priest blesses the candles, whose wax is the humming summer’s work of countless bees. The flames of these candles will shed their light upon the altar at the Holy Sacrifice.

Help us to realize, this day and every day, that our own humdrum daily work, if it is done for love of You, and in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, will be a supernatural work, and will shine brightly before You for all eternity. Help us realize, too, each time we see the blessed candles at Holy Mass, or at the bedside of the sick, that they are a symbol of Yourself, the Light shining in the darkness of this world.

Help us to live in that Light, to make it our own, and to kindle it in the souls of others, increasing the area Of light and lessening the darkness in the World This, dear Lord, help us do, through the merits of Your own dear mother, Mary, who did everything for love of You, from the moment she brought You into this world till the day she joined You in the realms of light at her death.

Then we, too, working for You, shall be light-bearers who will help to spread Your kingdom on earth, and increase the number of those who dwell in heaven, the city of eternal light. Amen.

A Prayer for the Wood-Lot

DEAR Lord Jesus, ever since You were nailed to the cross, wood has become a sacred thing. In every tree we are once more reminded of Your great love for us. Bless these trees of ours, let them grow tall and strong and reach full maturity without any injury. Keep far from them the terrible force of lightning. Let them not be torn and broken by the impact of strong winds. May they have a plentiful supply of water, and be protected from every blight and worm and insect.
May they always be a reminder to us, Lord, of Your glorious passion and death. May they help us to remember always that we are Christians, and that, as such, we must follow You our leader, Jesus Christ crucified. We must be willing to take up our cross daily, and follow You. Then will we also reap the fruit of our labors, and rise to a new life with You, because we have been willing to suffer with You. Amen.

A Prayer for Lent

DEAR Lord, we are now in the holy season of Lent. We begin to realize anew that these are the days of salvation, these are the acceptable days. We know that we are all sinners. We know that in many things we have all offended Your infinite majesty. We know that sin destroys Your life in us as a drought withers the leaves and chokes the life from the land, leaving an arid, dusty desert.

Help us now, Lord, in our feeble attempts to make up for past sin. Bless our efforts with the rich blessing of Your grace. Make us realize ever more our need of penance and of mortification. Help us to see, in our ordinary difficulties and duties, in the trials and temptations of every day, the best opportunity of making up for past infidelities.

Every day we are so often reminded in field and wood, in sky and stream, of Your own boundless generosity to us. Help us to realize that You are never outdone in generosity, and that the least thing we do for You will be rewarded, full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and flowing over.

Then we shall see, in our own souls, how the desert can blossom, and the dry and wasted land can bring forth the rich, useful fruit that was expected of it from the beginning. Amen.

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