“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!
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 six or seven.
Then, out of the blue this evening, I started wondering about mom’s prayer again.
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
“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 yours 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.
Mother 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.
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.
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 (video)… 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… Prayer before the cross / a crucifix… Relics from the crucifixion… Roaring lion, mourning dove, word of God… Signs & symbols… Stations of the Cross: about / devotions / fish eaters / for families / for kids / how to do / origins / prayers (video & music) / printables / puppet show (YT) / scriptural (JPII) / significance / way of the cross… Via Crucis at the Colosseum with Pope Francis…
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… Picturing God… Quiet prayer time… Sacred Heart Church… Saturday evening Mass… Sensory overload… Sorrowful redemption… Soulful… Two letters… Two prompt replies… Two takes
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