Month: June 2019

Jesus of My Mornings

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O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore You, I love You, and with lively sorrow for my sins I offer You this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to Your will. Grant, Good Jesus, that I may live in You and for You. Protect me in the midst of danger. Comfort me in my afflictions. Give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Your blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Amen.

 

          I awakened early today for my time with God. For some weeks, ever since I believe He told me to Rise early, I’ve been trying to obey Him by rising earlier than usual. Truth be told, the initial excitement over this special morning encounter had waned somewhat in the face of increasing tiredness. But I was determined to hang on. Even if I didn’t quite feel the benefits of waking up at 4:30 in the morning and trying to give God my undivided attention, I knew my God was not going to tap me on the shoulder to alert me to everything He was working within my soul.

          Secure in this awareness, I went to my morning devotions today. At the end of it, I prayed the prayer of the day, the Holy Heart of Jesus prayer. My heart fell into its lines, as if it were my angel praying my very needs. I had not lived the past few days well enough. I had need of reparation for sins of pride, I truly needed to humble myself. And here were the very words for my ill.

         The clock ticking, I settled some last chores. Momentarily overcome by weariness, I sat down and closed my eyes for a bit. It was going to be a long work day. I wished I didn’t have to go in. Heart of Jesus, I prayed.

          Eyes closed, before me appeared dark mountains, and a small, piercingly bright sliver of the dawn sun, slowly rising, but moving from the left to the right, from behind those dark ridges. 

          Not sure where that came from, I put it down to my imagination and firmly dismissed it.

          Heart of Jesus, I called once more.

          The same scene appeared again. This time, the sun slid swiftly to the middle of the sky. Suddenly, it  pulsed brightly, sending its light directly into my own heart, startling me.

          It is Him! I thought, stunned into realization. The Heart of Jesus truly! Come to show me it wasn’t my imagination at all. Coming when I least expected.

What is man that Thou should be mindful of him,

a son of man that Thou care for him?    ~ Psalm 8:5

          Who was I that He needed to give me this sign?

          And yet He had. He had come not just to comfort but to assure me of His presence, His faithful and patient wait in my mornings. Even if no breeze caressed my waiting spirit, no answer pressed to my questions, His holy Heart awaited me each time I came before Him. Tired or fresh, straight or bent mattered not to Him. What mattered was I not allow anything to hold me back from Him. No doubt, no weariness, nothing of this fallen world.

          And He would be there, each time.

          I sought Him once more, the Jesus of my mornings,

Heart of Jesus,

I place my heart in Yours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pierce Me, Lord

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          Thursday, after a tough meeting, I had come home tired, a little hurt, more than a little angry, but nowhere as bad as it used to be – not because the work situation has improved; but because I sense something else in control within me. So, when I asked God, Why, why, why? Why is this necessary?, I did not really ask to know the answer, and I did not ask in the anguish of old. I asked in the slow weariness that comes at the end of a long day where the winds have restlessly stirred leaves, only to retreat to hidden depths, sullen and unwilling to speak.

          The answer didn’t matter as much as the will to endure if the road ahead was long, the bend He had spoken of, yet to be. 

          Later, opening my heart to one of my children, I heard myself saying,

Often we must suffer in order to know joy;

often too we must suffer so that joy comes to others.

          It was as if something from inside me was speaking through me, reminding me of the Cross, reminding me of why the Body must be broken and piercings endured, why Blood must be shed.

          Answering my own question of Why?

          As I spoke, I knew the bite of tears in my throat, the glisten of those same tears in the eyes of my child, as we both fell to remembering the breaking and piercing we have endured as a family, what we have suffered and lost forever.

          A short while later, an old memory was stirred. A memory of my children being a hair’s breadth away from danger, the chilling memory of how close abuse had  brought me to the edge of the cliff.

Broken and pierced beyond belief.

          But by a miracle, my family and I were saved by St. John of the Cross. He had rushed to pull me back from the brink, holding me till I heard and obeyed his urgent bidding,

Seek counsel.

          Now, years later, as I sat and recalled that miracle, I began to sense something else. I felt the strains of a hymn nudge my ears.

Lift up your hearts

Lift up your voice

Rejoice!

again I say, Rejoice!

          A Christmas hymn. A Christmas hymn in the middle of June. I looked curiously at the word, Rejoice! What did it mean? I couldn’t just jump up and pretend a jubilance. So, what did Rejoice! mean, coming as it did now?

          Two days later, we happily welcomed to our home two friends – one a beloved priest. It meant a lot to me to have Father with us on the weekend of the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. Twelve years ago, I had deliberately gone past church on that very feast day. On that day, we had arrived way too late and it seemed silly to make a spectacle of ourselves and go to a Mass that was almost ending. So, we drove on.

          We drove on into the biggest sorrow of our lives.

          For the next twelve years, haunted by what I had done, I made reparation, over and over, for piercing the Heart of my Jesus that day.

          Suddenly, now, here was Father, this particular priest, the one we ran to twelve years ago when the light began to go out, sitting and having lunch with us! I was so happy!

          We sat and laughed and chatted about so many things. It was beautiful, so beautiful being blessed by the presence of Jesus within this joyful and loving priest. I have always been a Martha, fussing over things that didn’t need fussing over. But not this day. This time, I was Mary, sitting by Jesus’ feet, listening to Him.

          And then he uttered the word, Promise. He said it three times.

          My mind went to the verse in Jeremiah.

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise   ~   Jeremiah 33: 14

          To the stunning June rainbow. To the painting of The Fool and His Gold. The steady stream of signs. We must endure the piercing, I had told my child. Our Friday of 10s.

          I sense someone is waiting before me, waiting for something from me.

          I shrink back. I am afraid of more suffering. I don’t want any more of it. But I know that’s not the way to go. If I want to be a part of what is to come, I must endure the piercings too.

          What do You ask of me, Lord? I ask timorously.

          And then I dive. Pierce me, Lord.

          The winds pick up suddenly. The change is instant. From gentle sun~warmed breaths threaded through clouds and tree tops, the winds jump in jubilance and exultation. Through the trees and leaves, the winds rush as if to spread the news. The robin’s song pierces through the gold of Corpus Christ morn.

          As this excitement reaches for the highest ever notes, a soft breath writes upon my heart,

Something is about to end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River

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          The past week, I had been trying to prepare myself for the feast of Pentecost. Yet, everything I tried didn’t quite click. Finally, I turned to God and asked Him to lay upon my heart that which I should focus on.

          I went on to spend a happy Pentecost Vigil day touching the soul of God through an assortment of household chores which kept me busy and happy, yet undistracted.

          Through them all, in my heart I prayed St. Augustine’s prayer,

Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen.

          Later that day, still confident that God would speak, as I read on a multitude of topics, I continued to ask Him to lay His word on my heart.

          I felt a shifting in the air. Many things did pass before my eyes, but my spirit could hold on to nothing.

          As I waited for sleep to claim me on the Vigil night, I sang in my heart an old Holy Spirit hymn that an Irish nun had taught me as a child.

Come, Holy Spirit, we need you,

Come Sweet Spirit, we pray,

Come with Your strength and Your power,

Come in Your own gentle way.

          On the morning of Pentecost, an unexpected word was waiting for me.

River

And with it, an old post from Good Friday last year, They Have Returned.

          I slept well but was awakened close to six in the morning by a dream.

          I was outside a building. I had the feeling that there was water nearby, that it was a waterfront building. There were cars. I saw one, a humble, old car, a muslim father and kids inside. The kids were slightly impatient. I heard the father calmly tell the children to be patient a while longer. I sensed he and others were waiting for something or someone. I interiorly knew that the mother, a muslim too,  had gone inside that waterfront building

          Then, I too was inside that building. A priest was just ending the celebration of Mass. For some reason, I went up to the altar, to the right of it. Behind the altar,  the doors of the building opened out to a huge, huge, flowing river. A golden river. The waters seemed to be even higher than the building I was in. 

          Suddenly, the moment the Mass ended, a great mist rose from the golden river and began to swirl around. There was something so deeply beautiful in that mist that the congregation collectively gasped at its beauty.

          But I didn’t have time to immerse myself in its beauty – for I saw something the others had not seen yet.

That it was not mist.

It was children! Little children! Hundreds of them!

          These children were alighting from a sort of river bus. Each one had a photo. I knew immediately that the little ones had come from heaven. And that they were going to be ‘matched’ to the person in the photo that each clutched.

          In such a crowd of busy, silent children, it should have been impossible, but I immediately saw the one I sought. I rushed towards him and hugged him tightly as I sobbed and sobbed. All around me, the rest of the congregation at Mass, all of them parents too, surged forwards towards their children in tearful joy.

          In that piercing dream, I was shown the two children I had lost through miscarriage long years ago. I had always strongly suspected that I had miscarried our first baby but because it had happened so soon, before I even had time to test myself, I could never be sure.

          Yet, my heart mourned and I mourned for a boy, though I didn’t know why.

          Then, after our eldest was born, a year later, I had a miscarriage at 2 months, but came to know only at the fourth month mark. We grieved very deeply over that loss and somehow, I always sensed it had been a girl.

          That Good Friday dream of 2018, years and years after these wounds to our hearts, confirmed what I had sensed all these years.

          Now with the word river laid on my heart, I realized something about little children was being shown to me. It was like a hidden bell tinkling in the mist, signaling that something lies ahead.

          Something to do with children. A miracle.

          Something not just for Christians but for all.

          The following day, on the Feast day of Mary, Mother of the Church, God placed on my heart a sick baby and his brave mother. Too far away to offer any physical help, I decided to pray a special anointing prayer for them for the rest of June, using the St. Raphael’s healing oil I had. I asked for a miracle.

          As I traced the sign of the Cross on my forehead in proxy for the mother and wee son, I sensed my spirit quieten even more.

          Later, tuckered out from a busy day of home chores, I went to lie down for a short nap. I had been on a short break and it was my last day of respite from work. I would be returning to work the next day, returning to all the old and mottled lanes.

          But something had changed. I no longer resented the call of work. While I wasn’t looking forwards to it, I did not fear it as I had before. My impending return didn’t dry out my spirit or rent my heart. Instead, a strange ray of hope had begun to shine through.

          My heart plunged into thanksgiving for the beautiful break. Over and over and over, I gave God my grateful heart, humbled at how happy He had made me with little gifts tucked into each day. As each passing hour took me closer and closer to a world I still wished I was not a part of, suddenly nothing mattered now except my song of thanksgiving.

           A short while later, I awakened. Going to my window, I looked up at the sky.

          And I gasped.

          Before me was a massive, massive rainbow, stunning beyond words, its colours so vibrant and vivid. Only once before, broken and in near despair, had I seen a rainbow as beautiful as this. That day, God had strongly spoken His word of hope to me. Upon hearing it, my weakened spirit had immediately revived.

         Now, seeing this gorgeous gift from heaven, right outside my window, unbelievably huge, majestic in its presence, its colours pulsing with life, I rushed out of the house, into my garden to gaze at the bow in the sky, unhindered.

          Standing in stunned, joyful silence, I breathed in its luminous beauty.

          Golden river. Returning children. Feast of Mary the Mother of the Church.

          The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise   ~   Jeremiah 33: 14

 

 

 

 

Empower Me

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Nobody knows how weak I am, better than You
Nobody sees all of my needs, better than You
And nobody has the power to change me, from what I was born to be
Jesus be strong in my weakness
Empower me

Chorus:
Empower me, like a rushing river flowing to the sea
Lord, send Your Holy Spirit flowing now through me
Till I’m living as Your child, victorious and free
Send the power of Your love
Empower me

Nobody’s eyes see through my soul, better than Yours
Nobody’s love can make me whole, no one but Yours
And nobody has the power to lift me, to reach for eternity
Jesus break through all my defences
Empower me

 

          I hadn’t heard a hymn in my inner ear for so long. Then, this morning, before I awoke, a voice I did not recognize sang the opening lines of the chorus to this hymn, before trailing off and leaving me to follow, unfurling line after line.

          Empower me, like a rushing river flowing to the sea
Lord, send Your Holy Spirit flowing now through me
Till I’m living as Your child, victorious and free
Send the power of Your love
Empower me