Month: September 2019

Return to the Old

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Thus says the LORD:

Stand by the earliest roads,

ask the pathways of old,

“Which is the way to good?” and walk it;

thus you will find rest for yourselves. ~   Jeremiah 6:16

 

          A set of old books which I read every year without fail would be the Anne of Green Gables series written by Lucy Maud Montgomery in the early 1900s. When times are rough, as they have been these past 12 years, each book is sometimes read twice each year – for they impart to me a deep comfort, their pages a place for my soul to rest.

          More importantly, the Anne books return me to a time in the old when life was lived as it should be.

          I always take leave of my reading moments somewhat wistfully, for returning to an unpleasant reality is never welcome return. Yet, I return in renewed strength and vigour to the calls of home and hearth. After each sojourn to the kingdom of Anne, I am a better mother and wife, my rough edges smoothened down.

So, which is the way to good? I ask

The old Anne~roads, I answer myself

Where people rose early to greet the bloom of a new day, consecrating their hearts to the God they knew and feared, yet loved. Their hours spent in hard, honest labour, busy yet not imprisoned, free to smile at heaven even in the midst of occupation. Never too caught up in doings to rest spirits in the chant of winds and merry blooms, never so overcome by hardship or hurt so as to forsake neighbour.  Their hours set to chimes of cheer, hope and faith, scented by graces received in humility and joy, each day is lived and bequeathed to God and to God alone.

Stand by the earliest roads,

ask the pathways of old,

“Which is the way to good?” and walk it;

thus you will find rest for yourselves

          God is telling me to take my family in hand and return to the days of old. To return even if echoes of derision follow us – for some may never see the wisdom of our choice. The call to return is placed in every heart, awaiting only the obedient response,

Yes, Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Blessing in Disguise

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          We have loved zinnias for a long time. They stand for a time of joy. For the time before sorrow visited us.

          We used to have a whole bed of them, every colour, different varieties. They were our special flowers. We had them at a time when orchids were the rage for many of our neighbours. Every morning, going to my window for a brief respite from milk feeds, porridge and diapers, my zinnias had smiled for me in the glory of sunny mornings.

          Then, came a time when our hearts no longer sought them in the joy we once knew. We did try to grow them again and for a time, they flowered. Yet, something was just not the same anymore.

Our zinnias no longer smiled.

          We made an attempt at comfort by trying to grow them elsewhere, but the plants gently refused us. The meaning of this was lost on me in those grey years, but today, I understood:

Our zinnias would not live in the soil of sorrow.

They were, for us, joy, and so, only joy and hope could nourish them to bloom in beauty once more.

          Yesterday, we reeled from a yet another blow. In the church courtyard, I sat in my car, gripping the phone in anguish as my husband told me of a verdict our whole country had been waiting for. Adding to the mountain of injustices and religious bigotry, was yet another racially charged judgement.

          Cut up, I went into church and went before my silent Jesus. I placed before Him our pain and the pain of our country. I placed into His heart our embattled Attorney General. In quick strokes, I laid bare our collective grief, Will things ever change for this land?

          My morning quiet time earlier had been rushed and a trifle harried. Hence, not having had the time to do my Daily Readings then, I went to them now, in the silent church, its stillness untroubled.

…the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai:
Tell this to the governor of Judah,
Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel,
and to the high priest Joshua, son of Jehozadak,
and to the remnant of the people:

Who is left among you
that saw this house in its former glory?
And how do you see it now?
Does it not seem like nothing in your eyes?
But now take courage, Zerubbabel, says the LORD,
and take courage, Joshua, high priest, son of Jehozadak,
And take courage, all you people of the land,
says the LORD, and work!
For I am with you, says the LORD of hosts.
This is the pact that I made with you
when you came out of Egypt,
And my spirit continues in your midst;
do not fear!
For thus says the LORD of hosts:
One moment yet, a little while,
and I will shake the heavens and the earth,
the sea and the dry land.
I will shake all the nations,
and the treasures of all the nations will come in,
And I will fill this house with glory,
says the LORD of hosts.
Mine is the silver and mine the gold,
says the LORD of hosts.
Greater will be the future glory of this house
than the former, says the LORD of hosts;
And in this place I will give you peace,
says the LORD of hosts!   ~  Haggai 2: 1 – 9

          I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

But now take courage, Zerubbabel,
and take courage, Joshua,
And take courage, all you people of the land,
For I am with you,
My spirit continues in your midst;
do not fear!

          Take courage! Take courage! Take courage!

Do me justice, O God, and fight my fight
against a faithless people;
from the deceitful and impious man rescue me.   ~  Responsorial psalm – Psalm 43:1

          Do me justice, and fight my fight, O Lord, I murmured over and over, faith tightening its bands around my heart. Looking up at my Silent Jesus, remembering His promise to me last week,

I shall speak to you, I shall speak to your heart, so that you may hear My voice for the joy of your heart

I requested once more in quiet expectation, Speak to me Jesus.

          Immediately, I felt these words written in my ears,

A blessing in disguise.

          I sat there, staring at the words within. A blessing in disguise. It didn’t seem possible. All that was certain was further entrenchment of injustice and evil triumph. And yet, Jesus had whispered a message of contrarian hope,

A blessing in disguise

          I look out now at the bed by the fence, our first zinnias of the year. No longer downcast, unsure of staying. But a profusion of colours in wild and giddy bloom, resolute yet clearly happy in the dance of the late morning’s sun warmed blue~breeze kisses.

A blessing in disguise

          The last vestiges of doubt fled. I believed with all my heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scent of Humility

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          The humble man approaches wild animals, and the moment they catch sight of him their ferocity is tamed. They come up and cling to him as their Master, wagging their tails and licking his hands and feet. They scent as coming from him the same fragrance that came from Adam before the transgression, the time when they were gathered together before him and he gave them names in Paradise.

          This scent was taken away from us, but Christ has renewed it and given it back to us at His coming.   ~  St. Isaac the Syrian

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say Yes

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          I went to my Friday Eucharistic Adoration like someone who had had a bad fight with her best friend. It’s not that the week had been bad – it was alright, even with the travelling and workload.

          But then, Wednesday came along, and with it a meeting, where it felt like few cared about the responsibilities entrusted to them; compassion and empathy had no home there during those hours. There were laughs around the room, with plans even, to add on work to already overburdened staff, little thought spared for the spirits that they were going to break.

          I somehow knew that with God’s help, I would weather this, but I worried for the young ones, trees already bent from the force from winds. They had no voice, the defenseless never do and my shouts were going unheard in the soulless canyon.

          Hence, I came to Thursday, not angry, but with a weariness that had reached in and taken all for itself. I had prayed big prayers but I felt that God’s graces were too little, too slow. Apologizing many times for rushing and directing God, I tried to contain myself. But with each heaping that came, it was harder to hold my heart above the water.

          So, I let God know what I thought of His ways – for me. And then I prayed,

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

          On Friday, I travelled to church with a grudge against God. Sitting right in front inside the still and silent church, I warily eyed Jesus on the Crucifix.

          I’m sorry, Lord, I said, looking everywhere except at the Crucifix.

          Then, as if He didn’t already know, I felt the need to clarify my apology. I’m sorry if I hurt You – but I’m not sorry I did it.

          Emboldened suddenly, I raised my eyes to the Crucifix and plunged. Why can’t You speak to me as You did Your friends back in the Nazareth days? Directly and clearly and promptly? I know I have no right to ask You this, I know I have no right to place myself on the same level as St. Faustina, but still I ask that You speak to me like a friend, like a Father to his daughter, only speak to me.

          Suddenly thinking of the many unseen wolves standing at the ready to impersonate the Lord, I added on, And give me the grace to know the difference between the voices of heaven and that of earth.

          In the next hour, against all hope, I heard a voice move.

I shall speak to you, I shall speak to your heart, so that you may hear My voice for the joy of your heart.

In answer to the prayer for my child facing the exam of his life, working so hard, yet losing confidence day by day,

The loss of confidence in himself 

Hidden graces

          And finally, for the strange observation this past week, that the head of the Crucified Jesus on my home wall crucifix has been increasingly drooping,

…of My head bowed to say “yes” to the Father.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sealed in La Salette

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          Why must we suffer? Because here below pure Love cannot exist without suffering.   ~  St. Bernadette Soubirous, seer of Lourdes

 

          On this Feast of Our Lady of La Salette, I sealed my heart in the Tabernacle of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of La Salette, as an act of Adoration even when I am occupied otherwise. This night, I am deeply tired and worn from looking out for hope. The affairs in my country, my workplace, Brexit, and even in my own family, took enough out of me today.

          If I searched for faith in my heart tonight, I found none. Nonetheless, I prayed listlessly the prayer of the past week,

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

          As I sealed my heart in the holy tabernacle of the shrine of La Salette, 2 white lights pulsed brightly before me, one after the other.

          I don’t know what it means, except that someone must have heard me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pray for Faith

At Prayer, Edwin Long

          A fellow blogger has been dreading the 11th of September. He’s not American but British and the 11th for him is when his partner and the mum of his only child, passed away. For some time now, through his posts, he has been sharing his apprehension of the approaching anniversary of loss, a day that straddles the ending of one season and the beginning of another. But I never guessed that it would be the 11th of September, a day of mourning that crosses American soil as many around the world break their hearts with America over the senseless loss of lives.

          When this poor man revealed the date of his mourning, a lump formed, and remains yet in my heart.

          Because I feel so helpless in the face of his anguish. Because I want to help but I don’t know how.

          Because his sorrow brings back memories of a time in the old of years.

          So, I whispered a prayer for him in my heart, Lord, be with him – because I know too well that no human effort will suffice as grief rages wild. And then, I went wearily to my day.

          Night has fallen here. Pain has not left my heart, the sultry night air in sullen repose, unwilling to render any comfort or hope. I ponder this pain for this man and his child, I wonder at this stubborn clutch of tears within me, unable to be shed. If I cry, would the pain go?

          Slowly, I sense a hand reach out to my spirit.

Pray for the gift of faith.

 

 

 

 

 

Asking for a Miracle

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It may seem that by coming to Me, and by abiding in the light of My Eucharistic Face, you are doing nothing of any worth, but I tell you that this humble Adoration is the exercise of a great love, and that by means of this adoring love, My Heart is moved to act. Love is moved only by love, and Adoration is the expression of love by which My Heart is compelled to act in the souls and bodies of those whom you represent before Me.   ~  In Sinu Jesu II, When Heart Speaks to Heart

 

          Today, our priests here begin their annual retreat in the silence of the highlands. We had been asked for prayers and I was determined to fulfil in the way God wants. In my morning seeking, God seemed to point towards Adoration. I cannot get to a church now or any day before Friday for Adoration for our beloved priests as well as for the miracle I am praying for.

          To birth new leaders who love and fear the Lord.

          I cannot be in church now to offer my prayer of silence but my spirit can.

          With that, I ask my Angel to take my spirit and rest it before my Hidden Jesus in the Tabernacle of the highlands.

          May my far from perfect offering of love move Him to miracles.

 

 

 

Greet Mary

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… for nine days, she personally greeted Mary by saying a thousand Hail Marys a day in Her honour   ~  The Life of Faustina Kowalska, The Authorised Autobiography, Sr. Sophia Michaelenko, CMGT

          The usual Rosary of just 50 Hail Marys is the Alps for me. I can’t even manage the tiny anthill just outside our residential area, much less the Alps – in any form.

          And yet, this line in the autobiography of one my favourite saints, puts out its hand and pauses my gallop across the day.

She personally greeted Mary

a 1000 Hail Marys

9 days

          I just cannot do 1000. I don’t know how St. Faustina did it but I do know what I can do and what is beyond me and 1000 a day ticks the second box. As I was trying to settle on a manageable figure, it came to me to just ask God what He wanted of me.

          Greet Mary, was His simple answer.