Lent 5 ~ Left Behind

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          Some hours back, I had the fleeting thought to pray for the Holy Souls of Purgatory. I love them much but sadly, of late, I have not spared much thought or prayers for them.

          Then, there was dinner and other house chores to work on and soon the intention got lost somewhere.

          But it wasn’t a mere passing thought.

          Well into the night, when the day’s frolicking winds had fled to their hidden nooks, I read an old mother’s plea to a priest for help.

My son committed suicide on July 8 2012. He was only 39 years old. I was maybe 50 feet away when he shot himself. Can’t find peace and I do have tremendous guilt that I had not saved him. If I only went to his room, but I didn’t. My life is hell, and I am old, praying so hard but my pain is so intense. I am just worried as he was such a good son but not been in church since his childhood. Please help me, I am hoping that merciful God will forgive him, I don’t think that he knew that suicide is a mortal sin. Help me please.

The mother had written to the priest about 3 months after the tragedy. It is now close to 6 years since that day when 2 lives ended – the son’s, and in many ways, the mother’s too. That is what untimely death does, worse when it’s suicide because I suspect guilt bites deeper.

          This mother was grieving the loss of her child. And the loss of life as she knew it. Deep inside, she was screaming and pleading for them both.

          For every life that ends, so do other worlds.

          I think it is this plea, this poor woman’s and others as well, that the angels have placed in the curve of my night hours tonight. I don’t know anything about this poor, poor mother, beyond what she has written. I wish I did because it would make my own pain bearable if I knew she has passed through this valley of grief.

          But what is my pinch of pain compared to this severe sorrowing of those left behind to grieve? Those who suffer doubt, worry and fear, in addition to the terrible inner tearing as they mourn the loss of someone who left without a goodbye.

          I loaded this woman, her son, and others into my prayer cart. I had yet to say my night Rosary, so to it I resolved to take these suffering souls.

          It was then that I recalled something I had read.

When a particular people become for you a cause of worry and distress, give them to Me and represent them before My Eucharistic Face. ~ Anonymous, In Sinu Jesu.

          I wasn’t anywhere near an Adoration Chapel. But I thought I’d close my eyes tight and go before the Divine Mercy for those who suffered this particular scourging – for those left behind to grieve.

          That very second, my memory gently pressed before me,

You will see changes in them that only My grace can produce. ~ Anonymous, In Sinu Jesu.

          The distress left me.

 

 

 

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Lent 4 ~ Candles. Emergency.

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          An urgent wind parting the trees from sunny morning hours. There were some things I wanted to get done but for some reason, the winds wouldn’t leave me. I stopped and listened to their melody. It was not troubling. Neither was it comforting.

          Listening deeper, I sensed this: Listen, Listen, Listen.

          From yesterday, reading something, two words lingered awhile even as others moved on: Candles. Emergency. Even at that moment, I sensed it was not about stocking up on emergency candles. And that it was not to do with ‘candles’ and ’emergency’ as we understood it. When the winds raised their call, I stepped off the road and went back to the words, trying to touch to discern.

          But the second I did, they misted out of reach.

          Undeterred, I sought to understand. I looked up candles and learned something I never focused on before. That candles symbolize Jesus.

The wax is the Flesh of our Lord; the wick, which is within, is His Soul; the flame, which burns on top, is His divinity. ~ St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury

          I felt the words swim before me again – a personal sign that the veil was being dropped back in place. I sat back and in my heart, went over what I had been shown thus far and the little I understood about Light. That there will come a time when the darkness around us will deepen to the point where ordinary illumination will no longer suffice. And that when that time comes, it is the Light within us that will shine the path ahead that we may see. The less we block it, the brighter the Light for us to see ahead.

          And then I understood that, that Light is Christ enthroned within us.

          I returned to what I had learned about the symbolism of the wax, the wick and the flame. I thought about how a candle looks like. From wax to wick to flame – in some ways, an allegory of a spiritual journey.

          The journey of enthronement.

          Then the door closed completely and I couldn’t see anymore.

          Until hours later, when I went to In Sinu Jesu. Until I saw,

Abide in Me and I will abide in you, speaking through you, and touching souls through your words. 

Allow Me to be the physician of souls and bodies through you. I want to live in you and pursue on earth all of those things that I did out of love and compassion when I walked among men in My flesh. You are My flesh now, and you are My presence in the world. It is through you that I make Myself visible to men. It is through you that I will speak to them, and comfort them, and heal them, and draw them to My Father in the Holy Spirit. 
          You are My flesh now.
          You are My presence in the world. 
          It is through you that I make Myself visible to men.
          Flesh. Presence. Visibility.
          The wax. The wick. The flame.
          We must be His flesh. We must be His presence in order that His Spirit shines through us as the only Candle that can pierce the deepening darkness – for ourselves, for others.
          I sit back and turn this over in my heart. The teaching of the Candle is not entirely new. Yet, something has settled in deeper.
          About to take leave of my perch, something moves behind me.
          Emergency.
          Facing it squarely to get a deeper look, it is there.
          And then I see it no more.

Lent 3 ~ While the Candles Are Lit

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          A long time ago, I saw these words on a sticker, Did you hug your child today? Although I didn’t heed them that very moment, I did later that night, but it was no longer the same. About two years ago, a fellow blogger saw something over the horizon. For a very brief moment, the veil was lifted for him, and his impassioned plea to me was, Hug and kiss your children.

          Sad days ago, in Parkland, Florida, a grieving Fred Guttenberg  reminds the world yet again, Hold your children tight, because in the school shooting, his daughter numbers among those who will never again hear their parents tell them how much they are loved.

          I hug and kiss my children a lot now. I tell them how much I love them. Some of the older ones squirm in understandable embarrassment, but that only gets a giggle out of me; it doesn’t stop me. Even if they don’t realize it or value it, every child, young or adult, needs to know they are loved. And they need to hear it now because the shadows of tomorrow will not always be made known to us.

          And the candles bequeathed to the world will not always remain lit.

 

 

 

Lent 2 ~ Abandon to Me

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The things that weigh upon you most heavily, the things that cause you the most anxiety and distress, are the very things that I want you to abandon to Me. Anonymous, In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart – The Journal of a Priest at Prayer.

                    The things that weigh most heavily upon me are like fruits on a tree. They appear and disappear according to seasons, and they are not always the exact same. But the stirrings they evoke are often beyond what I am able to handle with calm faith.

                    When my heart aches over something, I trouble heaven a great deal, and I know God doesn’t have a problem with that. But going to God with a problem is only the halfway point in faith; to go the whole distance, one must leave the issue in the Heart of God.

          Abandon to God.

          And that is precisely where I often stumble. Everything that I take to God, I take back on my shoulders. And then, I go back to God. The pattern is repeated. I cannot seem to be able to leave my pain with God. Often, I don’t know how to.

          Something else niggles at me. How do I reconcile abandoning to God and persistent prayer? For long minutes, I think of my various prayer struggles, trying to understand.

          Something begins to take form.

          Persistence in prayer is to deepen our asking – as much as we are called to. Some prayers are one off prayers. Most others are not. They require us to return to Heaven’s door repeatedly. They are not the same as the prayers I often pray – where I take back on my shoulders the burdens I’ve just offered up to God – and then go right back again.

          Persevering prayer is the work of the Spirit in us. 

          Although we seem to be saying the same prayer over and over, although there seems to be no discernible change to the petition, there is indeed a difference. Each time we go to God with it, persistent prayer means we are deepening it, we are plumbing the depths of that prayer.

          And every deepening we obey must end in abandonment of the petition into God’s Heart. Because abandonment – spiritual surrender – is not merely the last latch on the gate.

          It is the link that binds one prayer to the next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 1 ~ The First Place

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          I look within me and around me, and almost everywhere my gaze falls, I see something that I cannot bring before the eyes of heaven, because it is not right, because it is not pure. So much of it is old, sores from the past that fester on into the present. The cleaning and  cleansing that I need…. it is much work indeed, that I’m tempted to bow in defeat even before I begin.

The doing must be Mine. ~ Anonymous, In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart – The Journal of a Priest at Prayer.

          I see those words and I wonder, Am I treading where I should not? Am I attempting what I am not called to?

          Indeed I am. But I struggle to let go and let God. Some days I can. Some days I just cannot. Partly because of pride, because I somehow think I can do God’s job for Him. But mainly because I cannot accept that good meant for me need not always be earned the hard way – my way.

          Nonetheless, God has been clear: Let Go and Let God. I need to bring every rock and pebble before God’s Eyes, and rest each and all within His Heart. I need to learn this hymn of surrender.

          Immediately, I sense plans and ideas clamour at my heart.

          But only one is needed.

Give the first place to the adoration that I have asked of you, and still ask of you, and you will see wonders. ~  Anonymous, In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart – The Journal of a Priest at Prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

Adoration. In Sinu Jesu.

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          I’ve become accustomed to having my Lent structured. Specific prayer times observed throughout the day. Specific prayers – as discerned in the weeks before. A personal Lent booklet with all my prayers for the Lent of the year. I would shake tree and root to have that booklet made by the day before Ash Wednesday.

          It was the same this year. The same seeking to prepare. The listening out. The prayers for the prayer.

          But I was met with this wall of silence. Not a stir in my heart for the specific prayers. I knew then that they would be no Lenten booklet this year, and I fretted slightly over that. What if I wasted my Lent – as I had done for so many years? What is I got drawn too deep into the world, as is always my problem?

          Why didn’t heaven give me my prayers this time?

          I changed tack then. I went searching for Lenten devotions. I knocked on my spiritual father, Padre Pio’s door, – to see if he had anything for me. Wait upon waiting days.

          Then came yesterday’s unexpected, Let Go and Let God. And the memories from twenty years ago. Jesus standing before me as I wept, saying to me, Let go, Relax

          My surrender prayer.

          And when I had breathed Let Go and Let God with my heart, the angels brought my Lent to me.

          Adoration. In Sinu Jesu.

 

 

 

Let Go and Let God

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          In another stew yet again. I had, some weeks back, heard about Reparation Mondays – one Monday a month for 9 months – where the sufferings for that day were offered for sins against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. For some reason, I felt drawn towards it – although I have a great fear of suffering. And knowing just how bad my memory is getting, I figured why wait for a Monday every 9 months. Why not just offer every Monday up for reparation and get the 9 over with. And if God wants more than 9, well, ….well, I will try to obey.

          So, timidly, I offered up my first Monday. It turned out to be a rather rough day but I got through it without maiming anyone. After that was the next Monday – a rather tame affair.

          Then, came the next. A hit when I least expected it. And ensuing almighty stew of emotions.

          I struggled and struggled with myself over the bitter sting of unfairness. I tried to pray but my anger over what I had received was so great. Yet, cognizant of my sin, I kept returning to heaven’s door – anger in tow. Every time it surged, I buried it clumsily into the Holy Hearts.

          After several hours, Someone gently nudged Our Lady of Guadalupe towards me.

Listen and let it penetrate your heart…do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain.  Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under My shadow and protection? Am I not your fountain of life? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else you need?”       Our Lady’s words to Her servant Juan Diego in the 1531 Guadalupe, Mexico,  apparitions

 

          Are you not under My shadow and protection? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? 

          Still in the binds of anger, I beseeched Mother Mary, Take me under the folds of Your mantle. Bind my heart in Your mantle.

          And then, as an afterthought, knowing how intent I was on avenging the wrong done to me, I tacked on, Bind my tongue with Your mantle too.

          Much later, busy with dinner preparations, I slowly sensed the firestorm within abate. Not trusting myself, I continued speaking to God. I told him of my anger, my disappointment with the person who had hurt me. But I also told God I wanted to do His will. Or at least, a small part of me did.

          In the midst of cooking, I suddenly saw the words, Reparation Monday. It had slipped my mind completely. So, this was why it was so bad, I acknowledged. My suffering was needed someplace.

          What do You want me to do? I asked God again. I had a couple of plans lined up.

          I heard the softest whisper,

Let Go and Let God.

          I felt the fight go out of me.

 

 

 

 

Water Will Win

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          In late December last year, we had a houseful of Christmas guests, one of whom was my old mother-in-law. We were having a crisis that most in the family, in the bliss of Christmas, was unaware of, and my mother-in-law was at the centre of that crisis. My husband and I had been struggling to save his mum who, in her old age, seems bent on choosing any rose-strewn path – the wider, the better. Her choices in life have brought us a lot of deep suffering, and very often, I have struggled to love her, to pray for her. That Christmas week, the moment she arrived at our place and alighted from the car and quickly made her way past us into our home, I had to bite down the bitter disappointment that she couldn’t be more of a beacon for us. That even in this old age, she was choosing paths that did not lead to heaven. That our struggles for her, especially what my husband was enduring and suffering for her, didn’t seem to be helping.

          Despite my acute disappointment in her that day, I decided I would keep my tongue well out of the way at the back of my teeth – for the sake of my husband. He had surely noticed his mother’s mood and it would be wounding enough without my adding another caustic edge to his heartache. So, for the first few busy minutes of photos and hugs and squeals, I let Mum be. But when lunch was served, something moved in me and I went to make sure she was taken care of.

          That was the tone for the rest of the day and even into the next. I kept an eye on her but generally kept out of her way. There was no anger in me, but I didn’t trust myself to not fall into red pits because I was very tired and Mum had a penchant for getting a rise out of me.

          One afternoon, lunch over, everyone relaxing in quiet corners, I went to have a short nap to recharge for dinner preparations. Oddly, so tired though I was, my prayer for inner quiet was answered in those cloudy afternoon hours where the yellow~blue winds sang restless notes among the trees. Into that quiet I descended and began to pray for a special peace in all hearts gathered under our roof.

          I fell asleep.

          I had a dream.

          I dreamt of a room in my home being flooded to the roof. It was just this one room. Unlike my old dream from years ago where I saw a terrible, filthy torrent rush into our town, this water was as clear as crystal, and it was only in my home. I worried about what damage this water would do to our furniture.

          Then, I opened the door to this room, this same water drained into where I was. I managed to catch a glimpse of the room where the water had come from, – and I saw very clearly that the water had not damaged any of the furniture.  

          Then, this water knocked me over.

          It then flowed out through another set of doors that opened out over a peaceful garden.

          Getting up from the floor, I went to those doors, and there in the garden, I saw Mum with my husband. I saw her as I have not for so very long: at deep peace. She was gardening with my husband by her side and it was a picture of a mother and a faithful son who loved each other heart and soul.

          When I awakened and asked God what it meant, I felt these words written on my heart:

Momentarily overwhelmed.

          I knew then that this year would be very hard. One room in the house being flooded could perhaps mean that some weeks would be harder than others, and that I would be knocked off balance, that I would fall, but like the water in my dream did not damage the furniture in the room, that the suffering would not hurt as much as I feared.

          But the suffering was needed to save my Mum.

          Then, I remembered the water, and how clear it was. When I asked God why the water was clear, speaking through my godmother, He told me it was hidden graces. Graces that don’t seem like graces at all. Graces that come in the hardest packages. I understood anew then that, that is what suffering is – a hidden grace. I would be knocked over, momentarily overwhelmed, how many times I know not, but each one would be a hidden grace because the pain I endure would save someone else.

          The grace of reparation.

          Nearing the end of her brief stay with us, one night, I took photos of the family, and there was one of Mum watching the kids in the family crowd around a board game. When she had returned to her own home, I had a look at the pics and at this one of my mother-in-law. She was looking away, focused on the teens, and she wore the beginnings of smile. I then saw something in the photo that I hadn’t seen earlier – the first sparkles of joy.

          Joy that wasn’t there when she first came.

          In the weeks that followed, in the daily chats with her, we realized joy had indeed returned to my mother-in-law. It gave her strength to walk paths different to what she had always chosen. It flooded her with love for some people she had taken for granted. It made all the Christmas struggles and pain worth every hurting morsel.

          God’s Light had come into Mum’s old heart once more.

          Grace of reparation.

          Early this week, a colleague’s antics unpleasantly ruffled my day. I tried to stay above the muck that follows a wounding but it wasn’t easy. As the hours rolled on, despite my efforts, it seemed like I was losing this battle to love and forgive.

          Then, I prayed to be given the strength to bear this minor hurt for my sins.

          And that too failed.

          The day came to an end. I was puzzled and discomfited as to why all the ‘right’ prayers seemed to fail.

          When the new day broke, Someone gently took my mind back to Christmas of last year. To my mother-in-law’s initial aloofness and the reason for it. From there, my mind was led back to my Water Dream. And the dream took hold of my mind. Even as the hurt from the previous day remained, it felt like the memory of the dream was the more powerful.

         I then received an email from a dear friend. Its stark words revealed a deep suffering that had deepened even further recently. My heart ached for him.

          Suddenly, the Water Dream formed out of the mists before me again.

          I had a sudden inspiration: offer my hurt over my colleague for this. Suffer it for this friend close to my heart, thousands of miles and many countries away.

          The moment my will fused to this, I felt strength and clarity return. The strife~winds that had rattled my inner windows departed. I went to my day with a new purpose.

          My colleague added a few more nicks to her repertoire against me, yet, no blood did they draw.

          I knew then that the Water of Reparation had won. I had been overwhelmed but momentarily.

          As was promised.

 

 

 

 

 

Rocks Not Seen

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         This is the day when prayers come easier. A thick sheet of rushing clouds had teased the morning with kingship of rain but determined north winds soon sent them on their way. The skies are now a wide expanse of golden~blue, with soft mists of clouds in gentle journey. As the playful morning breezes dart about to greet old friends, I listen to their blue, sun~warmed notes rustle melodies through the leaves and trees. This First Saturday of the month of Lourdes, I want to make a worthy offering to my Heavenly Mother as reparation for the sins against Her Immaculate Heart. Resting my will, I look to the sound of the happy winds among the trees to guide my heart.

          For that was my morning prayer in the Rosary of Tears today, that no matter how good my intentions, that I may never reach beyond the shores of the Divine Will in work and in loving. Anything and everything must be discerned – to be contained within and restrained by the will of God alone.

          Because that is the lesson I have been learning in many ways these past weeks. That no good done be of mine, but of God’s. In my workplace efforts, in the way I love my husband and mother my children, how I reach out to others – in every single one – I must discern right, so that Jesus reigns in all I do.

          Because it is so easy to go wrong. Because it is becoming dangerously easy to seek right in wrong. A great Deception has begun to cloud more and more minds and wills. The more deaf we become, the more our blindness increases, the louder and more strident we get, unwittingly luring innocent souls to emotional, mental and spiritual shipwreck upon rocky shores.  

          That was what I began to learn early in the year and I am mightily thankful that lesson has come early. I had been so sure that all was well with my children but through a troubling dream about one of them, the Spirit illumined another danger that had lain hidden amongst invisible rocks, one that I could not have foreseen but for the intervention of God’s Helper.

          But, long before this latest dream, one day years back, having prayed that Mother Mary rest by my side as I napped, I had a dream that had cut me with its anguish. In this old dream, I was warned of a coming calamity. A calamity where there would be  casualties.

          And that the casualties would be the souls of our children for Satan’s Army.

          My fear and sorrow at what I saw was so great that I shrank from what I saw. But a woman’s voice sounded another warning rebuke in my ear,

Time is short!

          It was the memory of this old dream and the maternal urgency of the voice in my ear – Time is short! – that pushed me to action when I awakened from the second dream of a few weeks back. Had I been caught deeper in the Deception of over-busyness, of over-preoccupation with external demands, I would not have seen the rocks.

          If not for these two dreams, and others too, years apart, I would have perfectly  done the will of the one who deceives. I would have been that siren that delivers my  innocent, trusting child and God knows how many others, into the deceiver’s claws, to swell the ranks of his infernal army.

          To the outside eye and ear, even be they Christians, this danger my husband and I overcame recently, might even be a thing to be shrugged off in the face of far more severe and obvious trials plaguing our young. Had we cared to share about it, there would have been those who might have cautioned us against over-reacting, seeing snakes where there were none to be seen.

          But this is not about over-reacting – although that too should be a legitimate concern for any parent. This is about being so vigilant on many issues, yet missing the one that can make all the difference. The worst dangers do not slither and saunter merrily in the open; they lurk hidden amongst rocks we do not always see. This morning, when I came before Mother’s Eyes, offering her the Rosary of Tears, I believe it was She who pressed my spirit to pray for the Gift of Discernment, to ask for it in a deeper way.

          Because such are the times we are now in. The eyes in our head are not sufficient for the battle we wage as parents to keep our children’s souls safe. We need to be led by the Spirit in totality.

          The voice of the Spirit must be the only one we heed if we are not to trip on rocks not seen and trip up others as well.

 

 

         

 

The King’s Poverty

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          Since the tumble of hard days in weeks past, a gent~ling came to my days, a respite I was much thankful for. Things that needed to get done – did, and the tightness that bound so many hours before, loosened its grip.

          But not for long, yet again. Another storm hit out of nowhere and I lost my footing once more.

          At work, in a workstation reorganization conducted by a junior co-worker not overly endowed with much commonsense, I lost the space I had had for many years. Granted, it was not the most comfortable of crannies to begin with, but it had given me some measure of privacy and I had made the most out of it, over the years, creating a workspace that worked for me.

          But within a single day, despite all precautions taken, I got pushed out into the open. If before this, I was on the sidewalk, now I was right in the middle of office traffic. Gone was my little crook of privacy, gone was the little bit of sky I had. People brushed right against my desk and happily trotted back and forth right behind me. The light behind me gifted me with its shadow as well as its glare, not to mention the heat from the open doors people can never remember to shut.

          In my younger days, I might have been able to take this in stride. But the day this happened, it was just one thing too much, and I keeled right over.

          My kids stared at me dumbfounded as I stormed and raged and then, cried into my soup at dinner that night. I couldn’t bear the look in their eyes but I couldn’t rise above my anger and frustration either.

          Later, in an ill-timed phone conversation with a friend from work who was also upset over the changes, I let my anger get ahead of me again. I spoke ill of that co-worker and my words were harsh.

          All through the journey to church for Mass the next day, I sure had God by His ear. The year was already proving to be so much harder than I felt I could bear, and here, was yet another avalanche I was ill-prepared for. I felt God was unfair and I let Him know it. Why? Why? Why? I asked Him.

          By the time I got to the church, I had a prayer~cart filled to the brim with hurt and recriminations and bewilderment. This time, there was no one else’s need in my heart; it was filled with me. I went before the Divine Mercy image and tipped my prayer~cart over.

          Then, almost as a grudging afterthought, I felt I needed to make a stab at humility. But I felt no remorse over my anger. So, I made a clean breast of it to Jesus. I want to repent but I have no remorse, Lord, I said. I’m sorry, I added.

          Sitting back in my seat, I was about to go over my prayer to see if I had left anything out.

          Suddenly, I saw my prayers lifted away, and something new take its place. My heart was suddenly claimed by a strong desire to be punished. I stared dumbfounded at my heart. Nothing else mattered in that instant except that I receive the lash for calumny against my co-worker.

          Closing my eyes shut, I tossed aside every concern. I found myself praying that God give me what I deserved. All I wanted was that my soul be right.

          About to deepen that prayer some more, again, I sensed yet another change – even that prayer was lifted away from my reach! However hard I tried, I could no longer find that prayer, – or even any of the others – I had brought before the Divine Mercy.

          I knew then that something was at work. I decided to let God take charge. I sat back and opened St. Faustina’s Diary of My Soul, as I always do before Mass, to get my spirit lines in order before the Lord.

          Speak to me, Lord, even if don’t deserve to hear Your voice, I prayed. I need to understand why You allowed this to happen. St. Anthony of the Desert, one of the Desert Fathers, had made my acquaintance a few days before, and I sought his aid as well in those brief minutes before Mass began.

          Then, like so many times before, it happened. My eyes were taken to an entry:

          Today, penetrate into the spirit of My poverty and arrange everything in such a way that the most destitute will have no reason to envy you. I find pleasure, not in large buildings and magnificent structures, but in a pure and humble heart.  ~ Entry 532, Divine Mercy In My Soul, St. Faustina Kowalska.

 

          Spirit of My poverty. My own spirit quietened before those words.

          I next saw St. Faustina’s reflection on Jesus’ words to her:

          I began to reflect on the spirit of poverty. I clearly saw that Jesus, although He is Lord of all things, possessed nothing. From a borrowed manger He went through life doing good to all, but Himself having no place to lay His head. And on the Cross, I see the summit of his poverty, for He does not even have a garment on Himself. ~ Entry 533, Divine Mercy In My Soul, St. Faustina Kowalska.

          Borrowed manger. Not even a garment on the Cross. And here I was, turning the world upside down over a workstation moved 3 feet in the wrong direction.

          But I was not filled with remorse as I anticipated, as I had hoped.

          Instead, my entire being was now flooded with a surge of strength at the words, Penetrate into the spirit of My Poverty. Once more, it was no longer Jesus’ words to St. Faustina; they were Jesus’ words to me. I turned back to my hurt and applied His words to the situation. I grimaced at the uncovering of the wound again. Not surprisingly, the pain still remained. I was not healed of it. But I had a calm certainty that God wanted the pain to remain in place as a misted grace to suffer for Jesus.

          No bargaining did I enter into. No backing away either. I gave my heart over to His poverty of Spirit, every crease and fold of it.

          At work the next day, the pain and anger lay in wait, their traps set in readiness. My triumphant co-worker did not make my adjustment any easier. All through the day, I had to fight myself and bite back words that begged release. I clung to my promise to penetrate into the Poverty of Jesus and I clung with all my might.

          Because all the King had was a borrowed manger and no garment even on the Cross.