Lingering memory

BSJ122714s-46After dad died, mom would pray in bed with my little brother and me every single night.

“What happens if I fall asleep before we finish the rosary?” I’d ask.

“The Blessed Mother will finish it for you,” she’d whisper before starting a rhyming prayer that I absolutely loved.

Even though I didn’t understand all the words, I’d find comfort in the cadence, try to keep up with the prayer, and visualize the story in bold colors until I fell asleep.

Of course, time passed and life changed.  I forgot to ask about the prayer until a couple of years before mom died.

“Teach me the rhyming prayer.”

“How does it go?” she asked.  “Tell me some of the words.”

I treasured its memory but recalled only one line: “Hortelanito, por Dios, dime la pura verdad: si Jesús de Nazaret por aquí lo has visto pasar.”  

Mom had no idea what I was talking about!

Lingering memory

Over the years I tried to no avail to find the prayer online.  One day I’ll meet someone versed in Spanish prayers, I thought.  I’ll find the prayer when the time is right.  Besides, the memory of us praying together still lingered vividly.  And that was good enough!

At Wednesday’s Bible study Lawanda shared that she falls asleep before she finishes her nightly prayers.  “But I don’t worry about it.  My guardian angel finishes them for me.”  So I told her what mom had said when I was just a little girl.

Then, out of the blue this evening, I started wondering about mom’s prayer again and, suddenly, a rose leaf fell on this Chicken Little’s tail.  I can email Sr. Marta!  I’ll bet she knows the prayer!  Only I wanted to spell hortelanito correctly, so I looked online and— what do you know?!!

I found mom’s prayer!

Oración de la pasión de Cristo

BSJ122714s-14Jesucristo se ha perdido.  La virgen lo va a buscar, entre portal y portal, entre rosal y rosal.  Debajo de un rosal blanco un hortelanito está.

“Hortelanito, por Dios, dime la pura verdad: si Jesús de Nazaret por aquí lo has visto pasar.”

“Si señora, que lo he visto antes del gallo cantar.  Entre judíos y judíos, bien acompañado va.  Una cruz lleva en sus hombros que lo hacían arrodillar, una corona de espinas que lo hacían sangrar, una soga en su cuello que de ella tirando van.

“Caminemos, virgen pura, hacia el monte del calvario, que por pronto que lleguemos, ya lo han crucificado.”

Ya le habrán clavado los pies.  Ya le habrán clavado las manos.  Ya le habrán tirado la lanza en su divino costado.

La sangre que derramara se encuentra en el cáliz sagrado.  El hombre que la bebiera será bien aventurado.  Será rey en este mundo y en el otro coronado.

El hombre que dirá esta oración todos los viernes del año salvará un alma de pena y la suya del pecado.  Quien lo sabe no lo dice, quien lo oye no lo aprende y el día del juicio final verá lo que pase en el (Mendoza, 1939).

January 16, 2016

As we drove to meet Bill and Robin for dinner yesterday, Steven said, “I really like your post.  It’s very touching.  But, if I may make a suggestion, can you also add your own personal English translation?”

Prayer of the passion of Christ

While my version, as literal as possible, may not (at all) read as poetically as the original Spanish prayer, the story ties in sweetly, poignantly to the stations of the cross.

For starters, an hortelanito is someone who takes care of plants and/or crops, like a gardener or a field laborer.  In this instance, the man, referred to diminutively (with affection and/or respect), is tending to the flowers in his care when Our Lady engages him about her missing son, Jesus.  So the dialogue might be from the scene leading to the fourth station, “Jesus meets his mother,” while the rest of the narrative alludes to our salvation though Christ’s suffering that sorrowful, pivotal day.

Jesus is lost.  The Virgin is looking for him, door by door, rose bush by rose bush.  Under the rose bush with white flowers a gardener stands.

“Gardener, in God’s name, tell me the honest truth.  Have you seen Jesus of Nazareth pass by here?”

“Yes, ma’m.  I saw him pass before the rooster crowed.  Among the many Jews he was well accompanied.  A cross carried on his shoulders that brought him to his knees, a crown of thorns that made him bleed, a rope around his neck from which they pulled on him.

“Let us walk then, Virgin Purest, toward Mount Calvary because, no matter our haste to arrive, he will surely be crucified.”

They have nailed his feet.  They have nailed his hands.  They have speared his divine side.

The blood that has been shed is found in the sacred chalice.  He who drinks from it will be well rewarded.  He will be king in this world and crowned in the next.

The man who recites this prayer every Friday of the year will save a soul from punishment and his from sin.  Whomever knows the prayer and doesn’t say it, whomever hears the prayer and doesn’t learn it, on the day of the last judgment will see what happens then.


At the foot of the cross…  Mother of mercy and love, blessed virgin Mary, I am a poor and unworthy sinner; and I turn to you in confidence and love.  You stood by your son as he hung dying on the cross.  Stand also by me, a poor sinner, and by all the priests who are offering Mass today here and throughout the entire Church.  Help us to offer a perfect and acceptable sacrifice in the sight of the holy and undivided Trinity, our most high God.  Amen.

Heartfelt request…  O Mother of Sorrows, who could express the cruel anguish of this moment?  The same child that you once wrapped in swaddling clothes amidst unspeakable joy, you now wrap silently in his burial shroud.  Your tears mingle with the blood and dirt that covers his broken body.  But even in this moment your trust in his promise did not die.  Your mourning was not without hope, for you knew that he would rise again from his grave just as he promised.  Through this bitter sword of sorrow obtain for us the grace to believe with unshakable hope in the victory of our Lord, even in the darkest moments of life.  Amen.

Novena to Our Lady of San Juan…  Amada Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos, cuídanos de todo mal, acompáñanos en nuestra vida, y libéranos de todo tipo de pecado.  (Haga su petición.)  Doy gracias a Dios y a la virgen de los lagos por el favor concedido.

Rece durante nueve días el rosario.  Tambien se reza la “Coronita de los doce privilegios de la inmaculada madre de Dios.”

Our Lady of Sorrows…  Father, as your son was raised on the cross, his mother, Mary, stood by him, sharing his suffering.  May your Church be united with Christ in his suffering and death and so come to share in his rising to new life where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.  Amen.

Prayer of abandonment…  Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.  Whatever you may do, I thank you.  I am ready for all; I accept all.  Let only your will be done in me and in all your creatures.  I wish no more than this, O Lord.  Into your hands I commend my soul.  I offer it to you with all the love of my heart; for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself, into your hands without reserve and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father (Charles de Foucald).


Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle – San Juan, TX

Links of interest…  Camino con Jesús (blog)…  El romance tradicional y el corrido en Guatemala (Carlos Navarette, 1987)…  Forming effective adoration…  Fourth station of the cross…  Full of grace: A poignant glimpse at Mary’s final days…  Handing down the faith: Catholicism is caught, not taught…  How I came to think differently about Mary…  La santa cruz de Caravaca: Tesoro de oraciones…  Letanías de la Virgen…  Linguee (Spanish-English translations)…  Mary’s tears are seeds of hope…  Oración: del hortelanito / Jesus se ha perdido / nuestro señor Jesucristo / pasión de Cristo…  Origin of the wood of the cross…  Pious Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM Sisters): about / blessing of the house in Matamoros, MX…  Power of goodbye…  Prayer before a crucifix…  Relics from the crucifixion…  Roaring lion, mourning dove, word of God…  Signs & symbols…  Shroud of Turin…  Stations of the Cross: about / devotion / fish eaters / for families (more) / for kids (coloring pages) / how to do / making them worthwhile / on your block / origin / prayers (video & music) / printables / puppet show / scriptural / significance / way of the cross…  This 3D “carbon copy” of Jesus was created using the Shroud of Turin…  Veiled Christ: Miracle of transparent marble…  Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis…  Why wasn’t Joseph at the crucifixion

WP posts…  Budding relationships…  Building community…  Christ’s sacred heart…  Dear God…  Full circle…  Gifts…  God’s lovely gifts…  Lady of sorrows…  Making meaning…  Marian devotions…  Mourning joy…  Our Lady…  Perfect prayer…  Picturing God…  Quiet prayer time…  Sacred Heart Church…  Saturday evening Mass…  Sensory overload…  Sorrowful redemption…  Soulful…  Two letters…  Two prompt replies…  Two takes

3 Responses

  1. Beautiful prayer! To think you were able to find it again. I had never heard it before. We would just pray the rosary.

    When we needed rain, my grandmother would come to the fields to pray the rosary and ask San Isidro Labrador for rain. And we would all join her!

    Grandma had these two prayers: (1) Cristo en mi; mala hora en ti. La sangre de Cristo nos libre de ti. (2) Con el paño que en la patena que con el calis va cubierto que no nos veamos heridos ni muertos ni entre trajedias envueltos.

    • Again, I’m amazed. So that’s who mom learned the first prayer from! Would you believe it’s my first thought the moment I get into a vehicle and/or when I sense danger? Tía Queta’s influence is really strong, still.

      And your grandma was quite the prayer! Do you know that St. Isidore is also the patron saint of technology? If you visit my “about” page, you’ll see that my blogging and my blogs are entrusted to him.

      The second prayer I had to Google to understand it better. The literal translation is a bit wordy, so here’s a loose translation: May the cloth that covers the paten and the chalice protect us from injury, death, and tragedy.

      Thanks so much for your shared thoughts! I love it when we make connections between the past and the present.

      • Fr. Ralph at Stella Maris would bless handkerchiefs and hand them out at healing services. I still have one along with the vial of oil that he blessed with his St. Peregrine relic.

        From “Healing service“…

        “I gave out prayer handkerchiefs. They’re from the Bible, the Acts of the Apostles [19:12]. Not everyone could get to St. Paul, and he couldn’t get to everybody either. That was impossible, so he blessed the prayer handkerchiefs and sent them to people.

        “There was no magic in those handkerchiefs that I gave out. They can’t heal anyone. They’re good for blowing your nose maybe, but that’s it. Still, that’s all I could do; but they were a point of contact for releasing faith. The practice was started by a holy man of God, a saint.

        “Just like the woman who said, ‘If I touch the garment, I will be healed,’ I know of two miracles that have happened from handkerchiefs that have left this chapel.”

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