Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Invoking the Garden Saints ~ A Morning Prayer for the Nation

There are saints beyond counting, most of whom fit into one category or another. Of course, there are the apostles. Then there are martyr-saints, saints who were kings and queens, monks and nuns, popes and bishops. There are saints who were married with children (finally recognizing that lay people are supposed to be holy too). Dig around (no pun intended) and we see there's even a category of Garden Saints. 

Here's a home-made morning prayer we might offer on behalf of our needy country (and others too) suffering, what Pope Francis has called, an epidemic of animosity. But the right politics won't put us back together. As a nation we need to do some very deep, personal, inner work - sometimes called spiritual gardening. Might the Garden Saints plant seeds of new goodness, unity, reconciliation, courtesy and healing in our hearts. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I arise today in the gentling of Francis,
   in his lauding of the Creator.
I arise today in the common sense of Brigid,
   in her community-building and inner flame.
I arise today in the discipline of Cuthbert,
   in his interior hermitage and animal friendships.
I arise today in the persuasion of Ansovino,
   in his awareness of the littlest and sharing of plenty.

Holy Dorothy of Caesarea,
   we'll need your patience today.
Holy Elizabeth of Hungary,
   may we care for one another.
Holy Fiacre of Meaux,
   may our hearts be closed to no one.
Holy Isidore and Maria,
   bless us in our prayer.
Holy Kessog of Scotland,
   cover us with justice.
Holy Nauchlan of Deeside,
   stave off our spiritual hunger.

The ever-bloom of Mother Mary, be ours this new day.
The generosity of Phocas, be ours this new day.
The watchful gaze of Magnus, be ours this new day.
The non-hate of Werenfried, be ours this new day.
The ordinariness of Adelard, be ours this new day. 

May Joseph, whose staff bloomed lilies, delight us.
May Swithin the rain-maker, uphold us.
May Rita, whose winter-garden bore figs, shield us.
May Urban, who tended vines, strengthen us. 
May Valentine, with his rooster, inspire us.


  1. Anger and hatred run rampant around us, so much so that we take it in stride and consider it normal every day behavior. So let us look to these saints to remind us that God expects more of us and that we must soften our hearts and open the door to healing ourselves, the nation and the world.

    1. It is being said that during this election time of over 19 months, hatred and anger have been normalized in our country. Normalized: that's a very sad thought.

    2. I agree that it is very sad to think that these emotions are a part of what we read every day in the paper or see on the news. I wish that the media would print/broadcast some warm and heartfelt stories of generosity and humanity more often. Maybe then we could look at that as expected and normal.

  2. A prayer for any time of day. Thank you Fr. Stephen.

  3. Deep spiritual work, like cultivating a garden. Labor bears fruit.

  4. This reminds me of the Canticle of the Creatures composed by St. Francis.
    Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
    who sustains us and governs us and who produces
    varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

  5. Sometimes I just want to give up the hope of having a better world, but here I find a way to keep my faith alive. When I read your posts of late, I get the sense that you understand what is going on and yet you keep encouraging us to pray and not lose focus on what is truly important. I am holding on to this thought. I have even taken the time to look up some of these garden saints. Just reading their stories has shown me that we can all stand up to adversity even when the darkest times have fallen upon us.

  6. Wherever the new day begins the sun has the big job of pushing away darkness. On Easter night, all the candles lit from the New Fire have the great task of pushing away a church full of darkness. I think Christians have to share in that task - though for sure Christ has won that battle - we're supposed to advance his cause. I don't want to suggest it's easy, because it's not. And I'm as vulnerable before all that's going on as anyone else. But I want to hold on the best I can, trying to find and put forward what is good and beautiful and true. Bless you in the Advent time.

  7. I miss you more than you know Father, but it gives me great comfort to think of you and your own garden saints spread about watching over you. I would like to think that you say a little prayer peach time you pass one by going about your day. I pray for you that you are happy.

  8. I am happy, and each day, so aware of the blessings that accumulate with increasing years, my prayer deepens in gratitude. Bless your family in the Advent time.