Come, Father of the Poor


Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,
From the clear celestial height.
Thy pure beaming radiance give.

Come, thou Father of the poor,
Come, with treasures which endure;
Come, thou Light of all that live!

Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou, the soul’s delightful guest,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.

Thou in toil art comfort sweet;
Pleasant coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

Light immortal, Light divine,
Visit thou these hearts of thine,
And our inmost being fill.

If thou take thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour thy dew,
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

Thou, on us who evermore
Thee confess and thee adore,
With thy sevenfold gifts descend.

Give us comfort when we die;
Give us life with thee on high;
Give us joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia!   ~  Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Come Holy Spirit)

          Reading a prayer to the Holy Spirit at the end of a lovely weekend, its gentle lines caught my heart and took me back to the late sunset hours at Mass yesterday when the ancient hymn and prayer, Veni Sancte Spiritus, was sung.

          Still not completely well, I was unable to join the congregation in singing the beautiful and moving Sequence. Nonetheless, from my heart, I joined my inner voice to that of the others, in a church bathed in the warm light from the fading sun’s rays.

          As I sang from my heart, gratitude coursing through me for the miracle of continued healing and for the joy of my husband and children gathered close by, 6 words from the Sequence came forth and cupped my heart and turned it towards heaven.

Come, thou Father of the poor

          At the word, poor, gentle light broke over my spirit and I felt my abject poverty. I saw how I needed my Lord – and how deeply had I need of Him in the recent weeks of illness, amongst so many other times of churning waters. Rich we may be, in many a way, yet there is poverty in our lives, seen only if we only care to acknowledge it.

Come, thou Father of the poor

          Even if my feet did not move, my spirit ran towards the Light borne by those words.

          No matter how rich I am, shadows are always close by. Despite the many bright and happy blooms in our life, some storms have and will reach our shores. When I was younger, when the pain of the lashing winds bit deep, I dug deep into every vessel of endeavour I knew. On my own strength, sometimes I made it past the winds, often I did not.

          By and by, though, I learned of another way. That if we could only listen to the still voice within us that yearns to be heard above the din of the clamour of our will, we will be shown a hidden path for every trial and struggle. Sometimes, that path might skirt around the mess and chaos. Sometimes, though, it might be necessary to go through the wilds of a storm. Nonetheless, it will be the path chosen by the Holy Spirit for us and it will be the only one that leads to lasting peace.

          Yet, it is revealed to us only when we recognise that there is little we can achieve on our own outside of the will of God, coming to light only when we recognise our poorness.

          When we see that we have need for God.

          When our hearts accept that the only way in life is the way of the Spirit.

          With the word, poor, now tucked deep into my heart and pulsing with an odd strength and vibrancy, I prayed,

Come, come, Father of the poor,

Into my soul, come,

And take up Thy rest.

A Ways to Go


          All I wanted in the past 5 weeks was to be well and active again. To be able to sleep well, to not fear movement and of course, to stop all medications. Yet, for every hill ascended, there has been a valley.

          Every time the sun’s rays reached me, dark clouds rushed in with equal determination. Two weeks after I fell ill, just when I thought I might have turned the corner, I popped my rib as a result of excessive and prolonged coughing. Struggling with the pain, finally, even my prayers seemed consumed by my desire to just be well once more. It was only during family Rosary prayers that I seemed to be freed from this and able to centre my heart on my offerings for May. Thankfully, despite the worsening pain, for some reason, my will to commit to May remained steadfast.

          Still, my spirit was troubled as my physical sufferings were making me focus on myself and it became tough to sink my heart into the things around me. Where once I would stand at my window in the velvet darkness of pre-dawn and stare intently into the skies, tracing the way the stars arranged themselves in the black expanse, listening deeply for the stir of little winds, now I hurried to get to my altar just so I could pray for a miracle healing to come that very day, the kind where Jesus would put out His hand, remove all traces of the cough, put my rib back in its place, secure it so it would stop skittering around, soothe the irritation around it and stop the pain. The kind of miracle that gave me back my life.

          The seeking of this became all consuming.

Please heal me, Lord. I want to live again.

Please heal me,

Please heal me,

Oh, why won’t You heal me?

          But the seeming blackout from heaven puzzled me. I had searched my heart, asking God for forgiveness for every sin since illness can often be a consequence of sin. There remained still some areas in my life that I had given over excessively to work and studies and I saw now that it needed to change and I was ready for it. I even began to turn the page for myself, taking baby steps to reclaim my health and serenity – but hampered by the pain and reduced mobility, I couldn’t go far. Why was heaven so silent, over and over I asked.

          On Ascension Day, I experienced significant healing – though far from complete. Happy and as thankful as I was, with the cough not letting go of me, I knew all it needed was one spasm of it and I would be back to square one, anchored in the well of pain.

          Despite this, something gave way inside me.

I became tired of praying to be healed.

But it wasn’t about losing hope.

The focus on self for close to 40 days now had begun to chaff at me. I was just tired of praying for myself. I was ready to let go. If God wanted, He could heal me in a thrice – but that wasn’t happening. That meant that He had other plans for me and for my suffering.

…there is no middle course. He will have all or nothing.   ~ St Margaret Mary Alacoqué

          And so, I firmed up my jaw and went before Him. I would allow myself just one prayer for healing each day. It would be my candle lit as a sign of my hope. Just one prayer in the morning, and after that, I would unite my sufferings with those Jesus endured. A long time ago, I learned that there is a mystical side to suffering that is willed by God. That as we suffer, some form of incense is released and that it travels towards heaven, received in the depths of the heart of God. If my heavenly Father was asking this of me, I would not deny Him His asking.

          So, from the Feast of the Ascension, I have begun to bind my pain to His, wound by Holy wound, beginning with the crucifixion wound of His left Hand.

Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

     For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

     For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

     For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

          I know not when this will end nor how, but perhaps, this is one of those times when what lies beyond the pasture gate matters little. I will come to that gate at some point.

          Till then, I have a ways to go, for God has need of my pain.

Because of May


          Life sure can take unexpected turns. Who would have thought that after such a sweet and tender Easter, a dip would come in the curving road, descending into unwelcome territory.

          This was the sickest I’ve ever been. Two weeks of it. I seldom fall ill and even if I do, I bounce back quickly. In the past year, though, I’ve noticed that I didn’t return to health as quickly as I usually did. I put it down to age and shrugged it off. Till this… avalanche. None of the meds and vitamins and health drinks worked. It just got worse and worse. I was so sure it was Covid but it wasn’t. Every subsequent day seemed to see me get worse than the day before.

          All illnesses are journeys, and this was no different. Nonetheless, there was something about this time that set it apart from others. Despite my mental fog, nothing troubled my discernment of heaven’s voice and of obediently saying the prayers that were sent to me.

The Covid prayer Jesus taught me about 8 years before which I had prayed for others when they were so ill in hospital and struggling to breathe,

O Holy Mother, blow Thy breath into my realms

The powerful 5-word Divine Mercy prayer,

Jesus, I trust in You

The Conversion prayer of the Divine Mercy chaplet – normally prayed for the conversion of souls but I figured it would work for me too, to take me from illness and back to health,

O Blood and Water that gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You

          And threaded through each prayer was an affirmation I have never before prayed in complete faith, but repeated over and over in quiet certainty this time,

I am a child of God and I know You love me

No matter how ill I was, for the first time in my life, strong and unyielding within me was that I was the child of my Heavenly Father and that despite my worsening sickness, I was loved. This sureness might come easily to many people, but I’ve never been part of that crowd no matter how much other beloved souls have attempted to bolster my faith. There has always been doubt, even despite my best efforts not to waver – until this time.

This time, I was sure.

          And with that, alongside grew another conviction: that despite this onslaught I was enduring – or even because of it – my May promises to God must live.

          Illness comes to one and all, but I believe that each one bears its own lessons and teachings – and messages. Each must be sought out, for it is God’s voice, speaking in a language only the seeking heart will understand.

           As I leaned in, I understood that by devoting my May to the Pope, to the Holy Souls and to others I cannot quite recall now, I have troubled darkness to fury and it has struck me. I’ve never seen any of my previous bouts with sickness in this light till now. It explains why I sense that somehow things are different this time.

          Nevertheless, God has allowed this suffering, so that evil is converted into good,

I beg of Him with all my heart to make you ever faithful to what He asks of you, ready to sacrifice to Him all that costs you the most, according as He makes His will known to you, for there is no middle course. He will have all or nothing.

It is His Will that we should apply to Him in all our needs, with humble, respectful, but very filial trust, abandoning ourselves entirely to His loving care like children to a good father.

~ St Margaret Mary Alacoqué

          I’m still not out of the woods yet but I can feel the welcome warmth of the dawning sun’s rays making their gentle way to me.

The cock rebukes our slumbering eyes…

New hope his clarion note awakes,

sickness the feeble frame forsakes,

the robber sheathes his lawless sword…

          At this knowing, joy spills its gold into my heart.

Rejoice, O Hearts!


This is the day the LORD has made;
let us be glad and rejoice in it.

~ Psalm 118:24

          Today, a quest and an immense fight came to a happy end. We had been facing a great test as a family, and on this Wednesday, on a day when I make it a point to honour St Joseph, the great, silent saint brings me heaven’s closure in a joyful ending. Among the things I will remember about this Lent and Easter, will be my journey from frustration and weariness at having to fight so hard and so often for our rights, to hope that God would cut us a miracle path through crushing mountains and finally to the sweet joy of answered prayers, each day journeyed with St Joseph.

Rejoice, O hearts,

and be very glad!

Lent 39 ~ For When He Goes

GOOD FRIDAY the moments before He breathes His last, Jesus turns to His beloved disciple to ensure His mother will have his tangible care even after He is gone. Never was Jesus more human, and never was He more divine, than at this moment, in this place, at this time, when He spoke three simple words:

“Behold, your mother!”

~ David Mathis


Lent 38 ~ Betrayal


Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. ~ John 13: 21 – 27


Lent 37 ~ I Will Not Be Bought


          I awakened in the dark this morning with the imprint of a dream upon my mind.

          I saw a colleague at work in my dream, one I’ve never written about. At one time, a lifetime ago, it appeared as if she would be a real friend. She seemed to have none of the racial and religious prejudices that bound most others here. And she was a good listener who kept your stories in her heart.

          But by and by, something became increasingly clear. She had a heart that sprung from the roots of jealousy. And slowly but surely, that blackness seeped into all that could have been good and sweet. If she gave anything, it didn’t always come from the simple goodness of heart. It was given in order to receive something more. It was given at a price.

          In the course of working with her and knowing her for more than twenty years, there were a number of skirmishes between us. In those times, I saw a side to her that had become too familiar in my life – the slant of self before others. Seeing this side of her was always a subtle warning that with her, there was no real possibility of friendship. Still, we got along well for the most part.

          Then came one dark night when a violent grief came to our door. Later, at the hospital, I saw her face among so many others. She stood apart but ensured I saw her. And saw her I did, and the triumphant smirk that finally I had been dealt a blow by God Himself.

          Fourteen years later, I saw that smirk once more and felt keenly the deliberate way in which she kept her distance from me, the leper of the community here. If I had somehow forgotten the first wounding from her, God held me in place this second time, ensuring that not only did I see and feel the lash of this whip but that I learned what He was gently writing upon my heart.

That this was not just any old hurting.

This was a betrayal of God’s own love, as was the first time.

Because there was glee in seeing someone suffer and God never rejoices in such a thing. And that it came from a heart that had never learned how to genuinely give in the first place. A heart that could only be happy for others if it were appeased and fulfilled first, and if not – begrudged others their right to joy and peace.

          This lady is due to retire by the end of the month. Desperate to ensure she would get a grand send off, she had begun ‘buying’ hearts a few weeks ago, getting everyone in our workplace a small farewell gift. However, to receive the gift, everyone had to go to her desk and get it from her.

          She had amiably told me to get mine from her desk too. But I didn’t. Because although I was genuinely thrilled that she could finally leave this workplace and put her feet up and rest and do all the things she ever wanted, I didn’t want anything from a heart that had rejoiced when I was facing my darkest hour. In these final weeks of work, I could have just gone to get my gift and allowed things to end on a ‘good’ note – but something in me just refused.

          And this person didn’t bring the gift to me either.

          This morning, in the dream, her face was very dry, her eyes dissatisfied and unhappy. She was restlessly moving about – giving food to people – but ignoring me, clearly showing that I was not welcome to her offering and wanting me to know it. It was a brief dream but one which left me with a discernible disquiet in my heart.

          In my quiet time later with Jesus, I asked Him what He wanted of me. As I waited for Jesus to speak, I prayed that my colleague would be kind to herself and not mar her own last days by living them the way she had all these years, ruled by pride and narcissism.

          Despite the prayer, the seas within me still tossed about a little. I sensed that God was waiting for something else. Unsure, I cast about for a reason. Then, my mind went back to the lesson of yesterday,

That I was no longer a slave

It was then that I realised what God was waiting for. He wanted to know if I would return to my old ways of trying to appease others at the cost of hurting myself. It was such an inconsequential thing, a small voice urged me, just give in to my colleague and let her think she had won me over. How hard was that? It would also make my remaining weeks with her untroubled, freeing me to focus on other matters.

          Gazing upon the image of the Divine Mercy on my wall, a thought quietly took form,

I will not be bought

          It was not about pride, nor about being made to walk 30 feet to an office to humbly accept a gift and to pretend how happy I was to receive something of little use to me. What was troubling was that my colleague’s actions were trying to return me to the old slave status that so many had come to associate me with. That I could be bullied and frightened into submission, bought with the price being my own longing to be to be loved or at the very least, accepted.

          I closed my eyes and from my heart I said,

I will not be bought, Jesus. I wish her well – but I will not be bought.

          Immediately, something pulsed within me.

I have been freed. I am no longer a slave, I affirmed in faith and trust.

          Behind my eyelids, a bright light fell upon me.

Lent 36 ~ No Longer A Slave


          An early morn dream. Dealing with extended family. Where I usually did things for people which they could very well do for themselves, where I allowed people to make me do things for them which they were more than capable of accomplishing by themselves, where I gave permission to others to use force upon me to hide their own cowardice to do what they should… something has changed. In the dream today, I said the words,

N…., be brave and do what is right.

In the dream, I was filled with compassion for the other, I understood their difficulties, their struggles – but for the first time, I did not go forward to make things right by depriving others of the chance to be courageous.

Be brave and do what is right

          I didn’t just leave the person to flounder either. Instead, I followed each trembling step with my heart – but I did not go to do what they needed to learn to do by themselves.

         For hours following the dream, I pondered its meaning. It was only in the afternoon, when a distinct hush had settled into the hearts of the little yellow~grey breezes slipping in and out of the trees, that I remembered to seek the help of St Joseph, the Discerner of Dreams. Please tell me what the dream means, I prayed. Do I have to be brave about something? Is there some right thing I need to do?

          It was night when I understood.

          I am no longer the same person.

          No longer a prisoner of my compassion. Of my fear.

The LORD looked down from His holy height,
from heaven He beheld the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.

~ Psalm 102: 20 – 21

         I am no longer a slave.