Month: March 2019

Lent 23 ~ I Seal My Heart


          All through the night, at each gentle awakening,

I seal my heart in Your Tabernacle

          The prayer of consoling Jesus, even when sleep might take me away from Him. For some reason, I was peacefully bound to this prayer last night. Perhaps someone was in need. Or that God needed the silence of my will to work on my heart. Or even yet another way He is helping me to keep my eyes on Him.

          As the gentle rain ties diamonds everywhere it falls, I too secure my heart to Jesus once more,

I seal my heart in Your Tabernacle









Lent 22 ~ Spring is Starting!


Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD;
as certain as the dawn is His coming,
and His judgment shines forth like the light of day!
He will come to us like the rain,
like spring rain that waters the earth.   ~   Hosea 6: 3


          Spring is starting! I know it. I know it differently from the still quiet of the morning, rinsed and blessed by new rains. Before this, my knowing was of hope. Today, it is of certainty. Joy tingles my fingertips. To the physical eye, little has changed from the old hours. Yet, my spirit is curled in the delight of knowing the secret whispered among angels,

Spring is starting!

          Suddenly too, emerges a desire, gentle yet sharp, to get my ‘house’ in order.

To clean,

to remove

To rebuild,

to restore.

Spring is starting!







Lent 21 ~ Freed


          I had to go into the city pretty early today for an afternoon appointment. Since I had some time before the appointment, I decided to go to church. I was delighted. It was a Friday and what better way to observe Sacred Heart Friday as I called my Friday observance, one I’ve been trying to keep since the first Friday of the year.

          I also had a little plan. There was someone at church I wanted to have a word with. She was the church clerk, Patricia, a simple, open and trusting young lady. I had met her sickly mother after Mass the week before and she had unhappily confided in me that Patricia was going to be married in a few months. I was happy for Patricia although I knew it was going to be hard for the mother whose last daughter was going to move to the capital, some 4 hours away, leaving the mother all alone here.

          Slowly, I began to sniff out what was not being said – that the mother’s anxiety actually stemmed from the fact that Patricia was probably marrying a non-Catholic, more likely a non-Christian. To a woman whose own non-Christian spouse had walked out on her and her 4 very young children early in their marriage, it must have seemed like a revisiting of an old nightmare.

          I felt the mother’s pain keenly and I was determined to help. A young relative of ours had married the same way a year ago and there was no end of problems unique to  mixed marriages. I didn’t want to break up Patricia’s relationship or anything; I was not God and not about to play one either. But I hoped to at least remind Patricia to choose Jesus in her relationship with this man – and then see where that choice took her. If it didn’t change anything, fine. After all, both spouses being Catholic wasn’t a guarantee of marriage stability or permanence.

          When my husband left me at church, I saw Patricia striding quickly towards her car and taking off rather hurriedly. I shrugged. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be. And anyway, the wedding was to be in September, so I still had some time.

          It was a comfort to be inside the almost empty church. The deep stillness within was almost like a womb. I felt secure and loved and at peace.

          Taking out my precious little brown rosary, I began to recite the Divine Mercy chaplet. I tried to pin intentions to the chaplet but by the second decade, it was clear that I could plan all I wanted; the Chaplet was going to proceed under Someone else’s leading.

          Feeling unusually secure and mellow, I wasn’t in the mood to put up a fight. So, I let God lead and tried to empty myself – of myself.

          After the second decade, I felt the Chaplet end prematurely. I looked around the church a bit as my heart shone a torch at my spirit to see what the problem was.

          All was still. ‘Nobody’ was yielding any secrets.  

          I eyed Jesus in the Divine Mercy image. I am here to console Thee. If today You ask me to be still, I will be still, I told Him.

          Having said that, I didn’t bother to try to discern any more intentions. I settled back and relaxed, my mind actually empty.

          I was feeling pleased and was about to enjoy the feeling when I felt my eyes being taken, from Jesus’ face, to the words at the bottom of the Divine Mercy image.

          I read the words, Jesus, I trust in You. Words I have seen and read many, many times before.

          Simultaneously, I felt Someone write on my heart,

Trust in Me.

          My breath didn’t still, my heart didn’t catch. Just peace and calm.

          After a few minutes, I felt ready to leave the pew. As I stood up, I looked at Jesus on the Cross. Jesus, I have to go now, I told Him, but I leave my heart sealed in Your Tabernacle.

          I had brought some work with me to do while I waited for the appointment in town. As I sat down to it in the Parish Community area, I saw Patricia return and walk into the office.

          Strangely, despite my firm resolution earlier to do some good intentioned meddling, the fervor to go and poke my head into the young lady’s life had now disappeared. 


          Several hours later, appointment over, I was back at church expecting my husband any second to come and get me and for us to make the long trip back to our home, when Patricia herself bounded up to my table.

          I immediately brought up the topic of her marriage but almost immediately as well, I felt a strong urge to still my tongue and just listen to Patricia. It was not Patricia’s doing; it was from deep within me, this certainty that what was needed now was to empty myself of my plans and words and….just listen.

          I found myself asking the girl gentle questions  – but not to draw her to my turf –  instead, to lead her to open up and speak. Again, what she needed to hear from me no longer mattered; what mattered was that she be allowed to speak freely.

          I tell you in all honesty, that was never the plan. Never my plan, that is. Not that I wanted to push her into a corner and clap my hand over her mouth and force her to listen to me. I just didn’t want a long, drawn out conversation about her marriage plans. What little I had to say, I wanted to do it fast.

          But nothing went to plan. Neither did I flail and lunge trying to steer the conversation to my earlier intentions. Patricia talked animatedly. I listened – with great interest.

          At the end of our conversation, I did ask her if her fiancé was going to convert to the faith. She shook her head, a shadow passing over her face. It was clear that I had put my finger right on the pulse of Patricia’s struggle with her mother. Her answer should have upset me. Yet, with a strange firmness, I heard myself say,

If he ever converts, let it be only because he loves Jesus.

And he will love Jesus – through you,

          I watched the light return to Patricia’s eyes.

          Driving home with my husband afterwards, I gazed at the undulating road ahead and wondered what on earth had happened at church. Then, I remembered,

Trust in Me,


I leave my heart sealed in Your Tabernacle

          In a silken sureness, I understood. I had given my heart to Jesus. In return, I was freed to do His will.







Lent 20 ~ Three


          A short while back, when it became certain that a health concern was recurring, I became anxious and worried. I had faced it before and knew firsthand how problematic and disruptive it could be.

          In the midst of this Cross, I thought of Julian of Norwich and the way she had come  one old night bearing the message,

All shall be well

          I wished she would come once more now, to tell me again that I needn’t fear.

          But she didn’t. It was just one more disappointment which I tucked into the folds of my heart.

          Then came the exhortation that I ask God for His sign for me. After some dithering, I obeyed. On the third day, He brought me this sign early in the morning,

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. ~   St Teresa of Avila

          All things are passing away. My heart caught at those words. I could feel strength slowly return, gently watering the fear~dried gullies within me. I had just learnt an important lesson – to hold on to hope, to keep my eyes on God – through loving my family.

          And so to the garden of my beloveds I went to love. The hours flew by as the winds sang their hymns from the breast of trees. Late last night, the house stilled in slumber and my heart at peace, once more, St. Teresa smiled her words at me,

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices. 

          This time, I felt her place her finger on Whoever has God lacks nothing. As my heart willingly embraced those words, someone quietly and gently stood behind me. Sensing a presence, my spirit turned, and I beheld,

All shall be well.

          My beloved Julian of Norwich. The third of three.






Lent 19 ~ Eyes on God


          Last night, eyes of my heart moving over my day, I was chagrined to realise that my  hours could have been lived better. I had done little and accomplished even less. I had given in to sluggishness. I had not served my family as much as I should have. I had not spent enough time to listen and to enjoy them.

          I barely even heard the birds in the winds yesterday.

          I did not forget the rainbow message of the morn – to remember hope – but even as I held on to the promise of hope, I forgot to try to live that promise in a deeper way. Instead, I had allowed my weariness over my health issues to cloud my day. I allowed it to hold back more of myself from giving love to others.

          Today, I strongly sense that God must have watched me in my hours of yesterday. He must have observed me spend that time trying to hold on to hope by fighting my fears, suppressing my worries through positivity and some prayers.

          And surely, He knew that yesterday, I forgot the most important prayer of all – the prayer of holding His hand through my family.

          So, with the deepening of the night veils, He set about straightening my path.

          He brought me a week’s old post of Melanie Jean Juneau’s where she had written of a situation she was facing. Of the fear. Of trying to hold on to Jesus’ hand even as she tried to walk on water. Of feeling the waves rise higher and higher over her.

          Reading about it, pity and sympathy for a woman I admire so much pierced my heart and shocked me out of myself. Wanting to do something to help her, I bound  Melanie to the Passion of Christ, to His Blood and Water, in fervent prayer for mercy for her and for her family.

          I believe that prayer set me free. My health concerns paled in comparison to this pain. My eyes now just where He wanted them to be, God then set before me other posts – each bearing the message of keeping our eyes on the Lord as we walked on water towards Him.

          No spirit can turn away from such a powerful sign; neither could mine. I knew my Master’s sign the moment I perceived it. I understood His urgent call and my spirit surged towards the impossibility of what He was calling me to: walk on water.

          He’s not called a loving Father for nothing.

          God knew I would hurry to obey. But then, like Peter, I would suddenly take my eyes off Him and I would begin to sink quickly. And so, He showed me how He wanted me to keep my eyes on Him.

          …in the garden every morning are these exquisite blooms, ravishing roses, that are our beloveds …. As we step out each day, may we celebrate the blooms God has so graciously gifted us with.   ~   Linda Raha, Time Enough, Reflections From An Open Window

          God was telling me to return to my family. To love them. To serve them. As I cared for my beloved blooms, I would be keeping my eyes on Him and walking on water towards Him.

          That is how He wants me to remember hope.




Lent 18 ~ Remember Hope


          A silver rain beat down on our roof very early in the morning. Looking out at the freshened skies a little later, I saw a tiny fire~rainbow smile at me from the depths of a blue cloud.

Remember hope

whispered the rainbow before it returned to its Maker.

          A missing blouse. Hours of a precious morn gone. A recurring health issue. Having to travel when I’d rather stay home. My husband is tired, weary from troubles. Unpleasant local and international news.

Remember hope

          It’s easy to let go and fall, if just a little. It’s tempting to want to lower prayer~arms just for a bit. To lay my head down awhile and mourn all that will not be.

          But a rainbow came, at the smile of day, to bid me remember hope. My God’s sign that He understands the day might be a little tough, that there might be more of such days on the necklace of weeks and months to come.

          And so I will, in obedience, remember hope.






Lent 17 ~ Give Me A Sign


          The bell of the Annunciation has chimed thrice in the last 7 days. My daughter unexpectedly reminded us about it last week. Yesterday, the priest informed the congregation of the special Mass times for the Feast. And this morning, a commenter wished me, Happy Annunciation  Day.

          Since 2016, the Feast of the Annunciation has chimed a special, hidden bell within my soul. That year, in the month of July, I had a strange experience. I was trying to gift Our Lady with a Joyful Mystery Rosary when She put out Her hand and gently restrained me to the First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation.

          And then, She spoke 10 words,

The event of the Warning will begin with the Annunciation

          Will begin with. For the first time then, I was faced with the likelihood that the Warning or the Illumination of Conscience was not merely to be a single, sudden event; it was also to be like a flower bud, going towards its full bloom, petal by petal unfurled. It was clearly imprinted on my heart that this unfurling of the Warning – for me – would begin in 2017. This has led me to believe that many people would have had the same experience – but with different dates.

          Today, on the Feast of the Annunciation, remembering the signs of the Warning I have received, the First Reading stuns me:

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”   ~   Isaiah 7: 10 – 12

Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God

God is commanding Ahaz to ask for a sign. In my simpleton’s understanding of that line, God is actually asking Ahaz to move beyond his fear and tremulous faith, to put out into the deep, and to boldly ask God for His illumination.

let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky

This Illumination which God is commanding Ahaz to ask for will be a paradox. To some, this illumination will be the rainbow of all rainbows, high in the skies, beyond the sight of hope and expectation, an unexpected fire of joy. But to others, the illumination will bring severe pain, piercing to the very depths of all that has been secret thus far.

But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”  

          That was my exact answer when I first read the words of Isaiah 7 this morning, Ask for a sign.

I will not ask!

To ask is to be curious about what is to come.

To ask is to return to what I was before – painting my own picture of hope.

I will not ask!

I will not ask!

I will not ask!

          Then, the words of the Responsorial Psalm came before me,

Sacrifice or oblation You wished not,
but ears open to obedience You gave me.   ~   Psalm 40: 7

God reminded me of the change I have committed to – which includes moving from mere sacrifice to the sacrifice of obedience.

          The obedience of not just asking for a sign – which may return me to who I was before – but to Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God.

          And so, on this Feast of the Annunciation, I seek Mary’s fiat to obedience.

Give me a sign, O Lord,

From You

And You alone.




Lent 16 ~ Winter’s Secret


Winter’s secret…

Wait upon God with loving and pure attentiveness, working no violence on yourself lest you disturb the soul’s peace and tranquility. God will feed your soul with heavenly food since you put no obstacle in His way. The soul in this state must remember that if it is not conscious of making progress, it is making much more than when it was walking on foot, because God Himself is bearing it in His arms. Although outwardly it is doing nothing, it is in reality doing more than if it were working, since God is doing the work within it. And it is not remarkable that the soul does not see this, for our senses cannot perceive what God does in the soul. . . if the soul stays in God’s care it will certainly make progress. ~ St. John of the Cross




Lent 15 ~ Change


          On the second day of my Holy Spirit Rosary, I had intended to pray and meditate on the Second Sorrowful mystery – Jesus’ Scourging at the Pillar. But try as I might, I just couldn’t anchor my heart in it. Instead, I felt strongly drawn to the first and second Glorious Mysteries – The Resurrection and The Ascension. As I prayed those mysteries instead, I felt myself sink into them. There I stayed, waiting for the Holy Spirit to speak.

          All was still.

          After some minutes of forcing myself to be still, I began what I always do – digging. I scratched and dug into the earth of those Mysteries, seeking a reply that obstinately clung to secrecy.

          Of course, one doesn’t order the Holy Spirit around. So, I got nothing for my efforts.

          After waiting some more and not hearing anything, I rose to go to my day. That was when I felt a slight prick.


          Death to life in the Resurrection. Earth to heaven in the Ascension. Yes, that was change. But what did it mean for me? I was impatient to know.

          When no answer was forthcoming, I became suspicious. I doubted that it was the Holy Spirit. ‘Change’ was rather obvious. I expected to be hit on the head, caught by the heart, that sort of thing. Not though by something as unsurprising and as mundane as… change. It must have been me. Again. Just me.

          But change was like a dog that had just found its beloved master – it followed me everywhere, all through the rush and inert heat of the next day. I dismissed it as being akin to an irritating, inane lyric of a song that plays on and on in your mind.

          Yet, from time to time, I sneaked glances at the 2 Mysteries, wondering if they held a secret not yet divined to me. Change. What change? Was I being asked to change? If so, what was the connection between this and the 2 Glorious Mysteries?

          Then, I recalled reading somewhere, Christian faith is to believe in the Resurrection.

Resurrection. Ascension. The afterlife. That hope doesn’t end with death.

          I still couldn’t connect it to change, not in a deeper way that would point to it being from the Spirit for me.

          A long and draining day came to an end and I drove home in relief. Some of my children had been away with my husband for much of the week. I had missed them. They would be returning later in the night and the other kids and I were looking forwards to having our beloveds close to us again.

          In the midst of that anticipation, came a sharp sting, shot straight out of a selfish heart. It caught me square in the middle. Someone wanted me to choose between my family and her demands. I chose my family and of course, there was a price to pay. In a flash, she fired two darts at me. With the snap of a winter twig, flames shot out of my own heart at this unfairness.

          So much for the peace and gentleness that had come into me heart; I hadn’t moved on from anything. I was just who I’ve always been and always will be, dry kindling just waiting for the lick of the tiniest flame.

          Suddenly, a mist rose up inside me. Something within me began to fight back to hold on to the peace in me. As I battled my anger and myself, I suddenly understood what change of the Resurrection and the Ascension meant:

          If I truly believed in the Resurrection and in the Ascension, then I had to live that belief by changing. Change had to come before anything else.

          I made my next choice easily. I chose change. I chose to move from anger to forgiveness. From anger to mercy. From revenge to leaving it in Jesus’ heart.

          But it was incredibly hard to remain in this change. Old habits don’t go easily into the night. I fought and fought the whole length of night. Even when I awakened in the hush of a new morn blessed by the embrace of rain, remnants of anger still mottled my heart.

          I battled on. Over and over, I went to the edge, then drew back. I searched my memory for a battle prayer and found one,

Blood and Water,

Heart of Jesus,

Have mercy on me,

Have mercy on her.

          Have mercy on her because this was a woman caught by the lure of money. What she said to me was all due this blindness in her mind and heart, caused by the enticement of easy money.

          It was so much easier to dislike her, to remember what she had previously done to me and to fight a battle from the angle of a victim. But something had taken over me now; it was as if God was directing my heart, No, this has to be fought differently.

          Although she had hurt me, I had to change tactics and fight for us both.

Blood and Water,

Heart of Jesus,

Have mercy on me,

Have mercy on her.

          I said that prayer all the way to work. Many times, I caught myself planning what to say to her if she confronted me. Each time, I ran and placed my plans in Jesus’ heart, Not my will but Thine be done. All I did ask of God was that He gift me with silence because my tongue was always my greatest undoing.

          It was late morning when she came to me, with tears in her eyes and a gentle hand on my arm, admitting her selfishness in what she had asked of me, in her unspoken words, an apology of sorts.

          Just like that, everything was over.

          I learned the lesson so many have learned long before. That in a hurting, there are always two victims – the wounded and the wound-er. In my life, I’ve mostly battled as a victim.

          It’s now time to change, to accept  and conquer my Everest of struggles – that from now on, I fight myself by fighting for my wound-er.




Lent 14 ~ I’ve Moved On


          I’m not sure if it’s due to being unwell or if it’s the effect of yesterday’s returning – but I’m not easily provoked today. An inner  quietness graces my hours. I’m fretting far less. Today, it matters more to me that I give of myself, than seeking to be filled.

          Today too, I’m not catching myself scanning the skies, the air, the winds, for a sign of something to come. Today, when I think of what lies ahead, I’m content to let things work out their own course. No meddling in God’s affairs for me today. A friend wrote about the terrible floods in Nebraska, wondering if the floods were connected to a sign we had both received some years back – a sign of water, water in the month of March. I remembered that sign but as I sought to recall it more clearly, I sensed a veil gently slip over my mind and heart.

          And I released my hold over the seeking.

          God had promised me that spring would come to me, that winter would not stretch its frigid, barren arms across my life forever. That promise evoked in me a deep yearning for spring, each and every day since I heard Him last year.

          Yet, while I had waited for spring to emerge triumphant from cold hollows of snow and ice, after yesterday, I’m sensing a gentle pressure to let that be too. Because I have no way of knowing if spring for me would come this year or later. To expect it at a specific time – and to not have that wish bloom in joy – would mean yet another wounding for me. It is wiser to keep the hope of spring – but without desecrating it with a date.

          Has hope dried up in me? I hold my heart up to scrutiny.  If it has, I would have known it by the dirge a broken spirit sings in mourning for lost hope. No, this is not loss of hope, not when it’s accompanied by this strange, mellow softness of heart.

          The hours at work bring me an understanding: this is what it feels like when a long time occupant of a room has left to seek life elsewhere. The occupant who has ruled me strong for long, by whom I’ve defined so much of my life. By returning to Jesus the lines I’ve written and maps I’ve plotted to chart my course, I’ve been emptied of myself.

          I’ve felt emptiness before, in the Lent of old years gone by, hence, I would recognize the clean pain that comes from giving up everything of value to my heart.

          This is different now. What I’ve held on to is gone. But there is no pain, no anguished calling back of what was returned to Jesus.

         It’s as if I’ve… moved on.