One of the benefits of living in Oklahoma is that we get an extra growing season into late Fall/early Winter. Cold-hardy greens do especially well.
My kale and lettuce are nearly ready for harvest. The brussel sprouts and collards were struggling after a cabbage worm attack, but seem to be returning back to health. Since one of my goals is to re-connect my prayers to the rhythm of the seasons, I got to thinking that it would be nice to have some resources for celebrating the late harvest.
Below are some highlights of what I found. Even if you don’t have a garden, we all depend on the hard work of many farmers and harvesters for the food on our table. Enjoy!
- Psalm 65 – Thanksgiving for God’s blessings
- Psalm 67 – Prayers of petition and thanksgiving for a Bountiful harvest.
- Mt 6:25-34 -Learning to Trust in God as Does Nature
- Matthew 12: 1-8 – The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath (and the harvest)
- Matthew 13 – Parable of the Sower. This is not so much thanksgiving for the harvest as it is a parable about the Word of God. The harvest reminds us of what happens to the Word of God if planted and cultivated with care.
- Mathew 14:19-21 – Feeding of the multitudes
- 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 – Again, a harvest analogy for the work of God through the ministry of the church.
Blessings for Special Occasions from the Book of Blessings:
I. Blessing on the occasion of thanksgiving for the harvest
When the household and friends have gathered, all make a sign of the cross.
Leader greets with the following words:
Let us forever praise God, who in his all-embracing providence gives us food from the fruits of the earth. Blessed be God now and forever. R/. Amen.
Let us know bless the Lord, who has once again bestowed on us the fruits of the earth. Blessed be God now and forever. Abel offered his firstfuits to God; let us also learn to share our blessings for the good of those in need, so that we may be trrue children to the Father, who bestows his gifts for the benefit of all the peoples of the earth. R/. Amen.
Listen to the word of the Acts of the Apostles: 14:15b-17
Paul shouted to the crowd: “We proclaim to you good news that you should turn from these idols to the living God, ‘who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all Gentiles to go their own ways; yet, in bestowing his goodness, he did not leave himself without witness, for he gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filled you with nourishment and gladness for your hearts.”
Reader: The Word of the Lord. R/. Thanks be to God.
II. Blessings for the products of nature
Appropriate Scriptures include 1 Tim 4:4-5 and Wisdom 13:1-7
Blessed are you, O God, Creator of the Universe, who have made all things good and given the earth for us to cultivate. Grant that we may always use created things gratefully and share with those in need, out of the love of Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns forever and ever.
III. Blessing the products of human labor
Appropriate Scriptures include Romans 8:24-28 and Sirach 18:1-9
Almighty and every-living God, you have made us stewards over the created world, so that in all things we might honor the demands of charity. Graciously hear our prayers, that your blessing may come upon those who use these objects for their needs. Let them always see you as the good surpassing every good and love their neighbor with upright hearts. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Blessings taken from my Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Revised ed. edition (August 26, 2008) – an abbreviated version of the Book of Blessings.
A Prayer in Autumn for Country Living
GOOD and generous Lord, You have once more brought the year full circle, through planting and growing and ripening to harvest time, and autumn.
We thank You for the sun and the wind, the rain and the dew, the minerals of the earth and all the plants that grow and all the beasts and birds of farm and field. We marvel at Your wonderful ways of bringing food from the earth for man’s good.
Dear God, help us to use Your rich gifts as You want us to. Teach us to share them with our neighbor when he is in need. Make us see, in the marvelous succession of sea sons, and in the growth and ripening of our crops, the merciful, generous hand of Your divine providence.
Help us to realize, too, that if we keep Your commandments and live according to the inspirations of Your grace, we shall also reap a plentiful harvest in the autumn of our lifetime: a harvest that we will be able to enjoy for ever and ever, where no rust can destroy, nor blight spoil any least part of it. Amen.
A Prayer Of Thanksgiving For God’s Blessings
LORD, I am grateful that I am a farmer. I am glad to live close to the earth that You have made. I am happy to spend so much of my time in the open air, under the bright sun, the symbol of Your own justice and light. I am grateful for the rain and for the freshness that it brings–the rain, a symbol of Your rich and undying blessings.
I am happy to cooperate with You in Your work of continuous creation, by growing the food that men need to sustain life. By Your almighty power You make grow seeds I plant. You fill the earth with minerals, You send the rain and the sun, the wind and the snow–and the dry, hard seeds I plant are raised to soft, green life. You have given men great wisdom and cleverness to build machines that make the labor of the farmer much less burdensome.
Dear Lord, I am in Your almighty hands. I depend upon You for everything. If I sow the seed and cultivate the young plants, and You do not see fit to give me a good harvest, I will be satisfied. You are the Lord and master and creator of all things. You know what is good for me and what would do me harm. I trust You, absolutely and without question.
I thank You again for calling me to a farmer’s life. I beg of You never to let me forget its great advantages of closeness to You, absolute trust and confidence in You, and the fullness and richness of my life, close to the earth that You have made and have so marvelously blessed.
Lord, I am grateful that I am a farmer. Amen.
United Farm Workers Prayer
Show me the suffering of the most miserable, so I may know my people’s plight.
Free me to pray for others, for you are present in every person.
Help me to take responsibility for my own life, so that I can be free at last.
Grant me courage to serve others, for in service there is true life.
Give me honesty and patience, so that I can work with other workers.
Bring forth song and celebration, so that the Spirit will be alive among us.
Let the Spirit flourish and grow, so that we will never tire of the struggle.
Let us remember those who have died for justice, for they have given us life.
Help us love even those who hate us, so we can change the world.
(From: National Farm Workers Ministry)
Prayer for my brother and sister migrants
Heart of Jesus full of love and mercy, I watch over my
sister and brother migrants. Have pity on them and protect them; they suffer
mistreatment and humiliations on their way, looked on as dangerous by most, and
marginalized for being foreigners. Help us to respect them and appreciate their
dignity. Touch with your goodness the hearts of we who see them pass by. Take
care of their families until they return home, not with broken hearts but with
their hopes fulfilled.
May it be so.
(From: National Farm Workers Ministry)