Put Thy spirit, O Lord, in my heart, that I may perceive; in my soul, that I may retain; and in my conscience, that I may meditate. ~ Prayer of St Anthony of Padua
Six years ago, I was attending an outstation meeting. Late in the evening, having some time to myself, I decided to visit a church nearby. Living so far away from a church, I have seldom been able to enjoy visits alone to a quiet church, far removed from the bustle of Sunday Masses. But that sultry day, yearning to be freed from empty chatter and work thoughts, I hoped to give myself some quiet time with the Lord.
There was not a soul about, not even the parish priest with whom I was hoping to have a chat. I walked into the stillness I sought, the waiting hours outside the church slowly falling into the sunset slumber of day’s end. Settling into the front pew, I cast my burdens aside and as best as I could, fixed my heart on Jesus on the Cross before me.
Never short for a word, I beat God to it and launched into my monologue.
He patiently allowed me to unreel every whine, rant and squeal, till the babbling no longer made sense even to me. Then, I sat back and waited. Long minutes passed, yet the winds were not stirred, the earth never shook, nor was a great message given. A tad disappointed, I made ready to leave.
It was then that I felt a searing heat on my outer right ear.
Someone’s holding my ear, I thought, flummoxed because I didn’t even know where that thought had come from. Then, it hit me. The Divine is holding my ear!
I quickly sat back and hurried to stuff and shove my recalcitrant spirit into some state of created holiness. God was here, and ready to speak, and there I was, on a flight of my own, totally not dressed to face Him. Giving myself a good, great shake, I froze myself and waited for the other ear to burn.
I don’t know how long I waited, but nothing more happened. I even clumsily tied up my hair, away from my ears, just to give God a hand. But He had no need of it. The heat stayed on my right ear, and it stayed for a time.
Then, it gently began fading away, taking with it my quivering restlessness and getting ahead. It left my spirit subdued, recollected. Quiet and pliant.
Without any effort on my part, in my spirit, I suddenly knew that God had given me a sign. Fire on my ear. A personal sign for when He wanted me to pay close attention to the hidden notes in the coming winds.
Today, I weave the tiny bell~chimes of St Anthony’s prayer through my heart,
Put Thy spirit, O Lord, in my heart, that I may perceive; in my soul, that I may retain; and in my conscience, that I may meditate.
I write these words on my heart, chiseling them deep.
Because on this rain~dewed morning, the fire fell on my ear yet again.