Day: March 25, 2019

Lent 17 ~ Give Me A Sign

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          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.

 

 

 

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