Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened,
you endured a great contest of suffering.
At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction;
at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.
You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison
and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence;
it will have great recompense.
You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what He has promised. ~ Hebrews 10: 32 – 36
More than a week ago at Mass, after the miracle of the birdsong, I went eager to hear what more Mother Mary wanted of me – in addition to the praise even in winter – that She asked of me. I had a strong feeling there was something more. All through the journey, later at Mass, I listened and listened.
A sudden light beamed out of a side I never expected – the response to the Responsorial Psalm,
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
I sat mute before them. I thought there was something I needed to do in response to that pulse of light but I couldn’t imagine what. In retrospect, I should have prayed those words, over and over, till I got my answer, or until the Angel pressed his hand over my spirit. But I didn’t. I just sat and stared at the words. Because I was waiting for something more specific to my seeking, What do You ask of me at my place of work?
Mass ended and I felt the clouds continue to swirl in my heart. No clear and direct answer did I receive.
Still, I wasn’t disappointed nor frustrated. The robin~miracle of the morning as well as the January work weeks of unusual inner quiet and immense strength, were before me. Something had begun for me in the fresh year. Something unexpected, not of my doing.
A stirring of a spring, an underground spring.
Yet, I needed to be really sure. When we’ve been hit and hurt so much, sometimes, all we do is wait for the next blow to fall, even as we hope it will never come. We make the mistake of limiting hope to the smallness of that. Or that we escape. Or somehow survive. Sometimes, the kind of hope we’re capable of just cannot stretch beyond that.
But I couldn’t turn a blind eye to January either. This strange January where an Unseen Hand had lit a tiny flame, hidden beneath the winter’s freeze. A flame of pure, quiet strength. Of a state of recollection I have seldom experienced before. A flame tiny yet strong, burning steadily, yet hidden deep within the cold breast of winter.
I didn’t dare hope – but this was a clear call to hope. And no matter how afraid I was that this was merely a temporary reprieve, that the blows and rocks would rain down again soon enough, this strange secret flame, thawing the ice quietly, producing a clear, pure hidden spring that each day filled me with wisdom, vigour and strength, was a whisper, yet paradoxically loud, strong and clear – that something has begun to stir in my life, even if all around me was the ice of old.
It was this that filled me with a powerful certainty that even as I was beseeching heaven for hope for my call, something was being asked of me as well. Praise – and something else. Just what, I didn’t know, my inner seas swelling in a restlessness that refused to be quelled by anything except an answer from heaven.
Hours later, unable to go any further, I released my hold on my seeking. I had asked all I could. So, I finally rested my will and retreated to wait.
At that moment of relinquishment, I heard a whisper. An almost inaudible breath against my heart.
Endure. A word, heard at any other time, would have produced waves of frustration, that after all the promise and allurement, it was to the old that I had to return to, not something new and vibrant; but back to all that was worn, rusting, dying – yet possessed with an infernal power to kill slowly.
But no despair touched me as endure alighted gently upon my heart. Because endure was God’s reply to me. It was Spirit, Life itself, come to tell me to
Endure to do the will of God,
Endure till the rainbow dawns,
Endure till the Promise comes.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.