Month: October 2018

By the Roots

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Certain little voluntary attachments of self-love must be cut through, and then we must dig round them, and then remove the earth, till we get down deep enough to find the place where they are rooted and interlaced together.   ~   St. Philip Neri

 

          Two nights ago, waiting for sleep to claim me, I began to recite the Blood and Water prayer. I pictured my place of work and began to pray over it.

          As I did, the someone’s face came to me.  Someone who annoys me occasionally in the way she dispenses her duty – which affects all of us. A surge of anger shot through me as I recalled some unfairness she had meted out to some of us through tardiness in her work. As I was dwelling on it and seething a bit, a different mist began to rise off the centre.

         In that mist, I saw only my sin – in the way I become angry with people. In a split second, I went from anger against my colleague to riveted attention on my wrong.

          All the while, in the background, I was dimly aware of

Blood and Water

Heart of Jesus

Have Mercy on me.

          In that unexpected shifting, I didn’t feel the thrust of remorse, nor of guilt. But what I did feel was a firm, quiet intent to make amends for that wrong. Nothing else mattered.

          And so I did.

          I pictured my anger. And a quiet little prayer found my heart,

Lord, pull it out,

Pull it out by the roots.

          In the remaining days of this aging October of winds and rising swells of seas, on this Feast day of St. Jude who once told me to seal within his heart those I had previously wept over and prayed for and to now Pray for others, I am called to turn inwards and clean.

          Rid my inner abode of old roots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Approaching the Throne

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For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.   ~   Hebrews 4: 14 – 16

 

          What would I do without the faithful hearts of friends? Those hurt and bleeding from their own wounds, bent from the weight of their own crosses, yet who immediately and unhesitatingly reach out to help brethren pilgrims who have fallen and cannot get up. Who leave their own wounds to tend to mine. Who carry my cross when I can’t.

          Who give from their own poverty.

          Where would I be without these souls who in love and tenderness mirror our High Priest, Jesus?

          Where would I be without this love born of pain and suffering?

          For it is this love that shines the light I need to see the Throne of Grace. When I would have shied away in doubt and anguish, it is this love that in loving insistence takes my hand and firmly sets me before Grace and Mercy supreme.

          It is time to approach the Throne for them, my brethren bound to me through the shared journeys of grey and gold, sorrow and joy.

          Jesus, I place these souls in Your Divine Heart. Grant each one the graces most needed for what lies before them, in the hours, days and years to come.

Blood and Water,

Heart of Jesus,

I trust in You.

 

 

 

 

Shine Through Me

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Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your Fragrance everywhere I go. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me and be so in me, that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your Presence in my soul: let them look up and see no longer me – but only Jesus.   ~   St. John Neumann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood and Water

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          When the angel placed my eyes upon the Divine Mercy prayer, Jesus, I trust in You, it was the hardest prayer for me to pray, on that day and especially, in the days that followed. I had gone instead, to every spiritual pool I knew, to every saint’s door, begging for discernment,  for relief, for strength, as Jesus, I trust in You stood by resolutely. I searched in so many places, yet, nothing reached out and caught my heart.

          As I dithered, waiting for another nudge, a commenter told me to read Psalm 102 – the Psalm of the Afflicted – and to say Jesus, I trust in You, at the end of each verse. So, I read it and made the offering each time. While some of the lines encapsulated what I was facing now, at the end of the reading, what remained was, again,

Jesus, I trust in You.

          Heaven was being very firm with me; I had to say that prayer – regardless of how I said it or how I felt.

          And so, I began. I said the prayer every time the breath of despair swept close to my heart. Every time desolation threatened to take hope away.

          There was no answering strength that I discerned, no bloom of light.

          But late, late in the depths of night, I suddenly felt I had spent too much time among the stones of lament. I had left Jesus out in the cold, alone with the sorrows of the world. Wanting to make amends, I went to console Him.

          Taking up my Rosary, intending to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Someone slipped into my heart a prayer I had forgotten – The Divine Prayer of Conversion,

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

           As I stared at the prayer, something gently folded around my Rosary beads, and I slipped into

Blood and Water,

Heart of Jesus,

I trust in You.

          Over and over, like with the Hail Marys, my spirit nestled into a quiet, resolute rhythm,

Blood and Water,

Heart of Jesus,

I trust in You.

In place of the Mysteries, I placed before my heart the images of places, people and practices that hurt and wound my family and I. Around each image, on my rose~beads, I wove Blood and Water, Heart of Jesus, I trust in You.

          At dawn the next day, I saw the word, Emissaries. Recently, I learned that for me it indicated the close presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Mother of those in battles. Barely had my thoughts gone there, when from the dark green breast of trees awakening to the touch of shy sunrise, I heard a sudden burst of baby~bird melodies. I’m accustomed to hearing the little tweets of bird~lings, but today, it seemed like many little bird babies lifted their voices to joyously sing, spilling diamonds into the night sweetened air awaiting the embrace of the sun.

          A melody never before fallen on my ears.

          I went to work later. The hurts and the wound-ers, in their usual positions,  as solid as ever. The night’s prayers and sleep hadn’t lit strength in my soreness; nothing seemed different.

          But I saw immediately that the blade of anger sheathed within my heart was blunted.

          I think I understand. My anger takes me into a battle that serves no purpose. It takes me away from where I am most needed – the Guadalupe Battle.

          The battle for the conversion of souls.

          Through that unexpected avian hymn of unearthly sweetness, Mother of Guadalupe had sent Her emissaries again, to tell me that The Rosary of Blood and Water was Her answer to my anguished seeking.

          It is Her wish that I wield it for Her in the battle for souls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light in the Mists

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          I was very determined that we get to Mass last weekend on the 13th as it was the anniversary of the Fatima apparitions and the Miracle of the Sun. I had a couple of things riding on my heart – the Holy Souls, a by-election that worried us, and thanksgiving – and I wanted to get to church to lay my prayer cart down before God.

          I don’t know what happened once we entered our pew. I prayed but it felt like I hadn’t. I forgot the prayer cart and I forgot God. I usually spend some time gazing at the Divine Mercy image to the left of the altar, but that day, I clean forgot. I could barely still myself. The air-conditioning in the church was turned up and the kids jostled to sit as close to us as possible. Then, they nudged and poked and squirmed in their seats  – even the ones old enough to know better. Trying to stifle my own giggles, I played referee out of the side of my mouth  until Mass began.

          When Mass began, I was disappointed that I hadn’t stilled and emptied myself as I usually do. It had been a hard work week and harder ones lay ahead. I needed to empty myself of me and be filled with all of God for the challenges and battles that awaited me. Instead, I allowed myself to get distracted. I felt I had squandered the precious minutes to immerse myself in God’s stillness. I ‘went into Mass’ with my heart left outside the door. I couldn’t ‘feel’ the Readings nor the prayers.

          When Father’s homily veered towards our church finances, I smothered an impatient sigh and kept my attention riveted on him and his words.

          But an Unseen hand took my chin and turned my face towards the Divine Mercy image off to the side of the church.

          It happened twice.

          And twice, I saw not the image of Jesus. My eyes only saw the words,

Jesus, I trust in You.

          Today, it’s been just 2 work days since Jesus told me to trust Him but they have been 72-hour days in terms of skirmishes, struggles with myself and the sheer amount of work. Just 2 days but the number of times I’ve asked, God, where are You? has surely exceeded the number of hours in those days.

          Each time, like a light trying to shine out of a deepening fog, Someone pushed these words before my heart,

Jesus, I trust in You.

          I’ve gone to quite a few of my usual spiritual pools but none have yielded an answering strength. I don’t exactly feel the strength from Jesus, I trust in You, but somehow, something in my spirit tells me I have to fix my heart upon that.

          Because with each day, despite my cheer and energy, despite the work that gets done, there’s no ignoring the fact that my workplace situation is worsening. I’m not sure how long I can hold on. I have no place else to go without uprooting the whole family. It’s hard to hold on to hope when you’re chained to the gates of Hell.

          But that wan Light, Jesus, I trust in You, is still being shone through the shifting twilight mists, willing me on, despite every stumble and fall.

 

 

 

 

 

My Angel Heard Me

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          My angel was beside me today and he heard me for sure.

          There’s this beautiful site I discovered a few years ago after prayer to find an online Adoration chapel. Since I live far away from a church and certainly no chapel close by for Adoration, my best recourse was an online adoration site. I visited a few but nothing caught my heart till I found the Divine Mercy Chapel in Poland that offers a 24-hour transmission. This famed chapel houses the original, miraculous painting of the Divine Mercy. From thousands of miles away, before it I’ve knelt countless times, in seeking and in rest, in calm and in tears, in times of anger and in times of fear.

          Each time, my prayers have been answered.

          A visit here became part of my daily morning prayers. I felt the difference on the days I didn’t stop by.

          But there was something more that I sought. I wanted a chapel close to my place of work. Early in my working life, I had worked at a place tucked away from the bustling street, situated practically on church grounds because that St. Francis Xavier church was a mere one-minute trot away. I was going through heartbreak at that time, and the little church, with its green and sedate pre-War cemetery beside it, was where I went to bury my tears. I guess I first learned about Adoration there – without actually knowing anything about it. 

          Now, decades later, I sought this same stillness for my work hours. I sought a church-by-my-heart to escape the relentless, unending sprawler’s revelry that has taken over my office. I wanted the quiet hush of the presence of the True God, a place to get my breath back every time the tenets my colleagues adhere to choke the life out of me.

          Not being tech savvy by a long mile, the obvious didn’t occur to me. Until this morning. I had just read about a priest having so close a relationship with his guardian angel that he conversed with him as he would a close friend, obeying every prompt in faith. Aspiring to this same relationship, I was led to pray the Angel of God prayer,

Angel of God,
my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits me here,
ever this day,
be at my side
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.

          After this rose the old wish for a chapel. It was then that the light fell upon me. To load and bookmark the live-streamed Divine Mercy Chapel site on my phone home screen. So every time life got too much, every time I felt myself veering towards prohibited roads, on this First Saturday of the Rosary Month, I finally have a chapel a mere touch away.

          The Angel’s answer to my prayer. His way of saying,

Indeed beside you I am, 

to light and guard,

to rule and guide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You Have Nothing

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If You Have Nothing

If you have nothing: laurel leaf or bay,
no flower, no seed, no apple gathered late,
do not in desperation lay
the beauty of your tears upon the clay.

If you have nothing, gather back your sigh,
and with your hands held high, your heart held high,
lift up your emptiness!   ~  
Jessica Powers, OCD