Month: December 2019

Soul of my Soul

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          I am going to reveal to you the secret of sanctity and happiness. Every day for five minutes control your imagination and close your eyes to all the noises of the world in order to enter into yourself. Then, in the sanctuary of your baptized soul (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit) speak to that Divine Spirit, saying to Him:

O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your Will.

          If you do this, your life will flow along happily, serenely, and full of consolation, even in the midst of trials. Grace will be proportioned to the trial, giving you the strength to carry it and you will arrive at the Gate of Paradise, laden with merit. This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of sanctity.   ~  Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier

 

          Early yesterday, before I learned about the Ring of Fire eclipse, the Angel had gently opened the door to my heart and slipped this in,

          Love the Holy Spirit and call upon Him in humility and confidence. He will never fail you. He is, as my Church calls Him, the “Father of the Poor”. He takes delight in descending upon the poor in spirit and He makes His tabernacle in their hearts.

And then I learned a tiny gem of a prayer,

…and address Him as “Soul of your soul”.   ~  In Sinu Jesu

          Using the words from Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier’s advice, I fashioned my own prayers to the Holy Spirit, now calling Him, Soul of my soul. Through the calls of duty, through the excitement of the eclipse, I embroidered this name new to me upon the garment of hours lent me by the day.

Soul of my soul

          When the stars had come out to adorn the velvet breadths, I made a small discovery. The annular eclipse of yesterday had coincided with a beautiful sun halo. The last time I had feasted my eyes upon a sun halo had been more than a year ago. And a prayer had been speared through my heart that day,

Holy Trinity, light Thy flame within me

          So, the ribbon that bound both sun halos was the Holy Spirit.

          This morning, marigold~sunshine grins through my window as the North winds and breezes dart about weaving heaven’s secrets into this final Friday of a year making its way to eternal slumber.

          Will You give me Your sign today? I ask God playfully.

          In His answering peace and light, I slip my hand into His.

Soul of my soul

 

 

 

 

 

Ring of Fire

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          I struggled when trying to accurately describe the miracle of the Illuminated Heart which I witnessed in my home last Christmas. Until today – the day of the Ring of Fire eclipse – the last for this year.

          Not being on social media, I hadn’t even known about the annular eclipse today. It was some moments away from the hot stove, reading the happenings of the day which alerted me to the phenomenon. Assuming we had missed it, imagine my excitement when I realised that the very minute I had read about it, it had ‘begun’ here.

          For a long hour, I became a child once more. The beauty of the experience – the encroaching moon, the dimming of the sun, the drop in temperature, the mysterious shadows formed by the leaves – all wound bands of thrills around my heart as I darted between the outdoors and my stove in the kitchen.

          As the evening winds gentled their farewells, I stood at my window. Looking up at a smoky evening sky which today kept its secrets to itself, I thought about my morning prayer question, What is Your sign for me?, and the joyful experience of the eclipse that followed. I thought of what it was called – annular – which made me think of St Anne who had been much on my heart these months – and Ring of Fire – of our wedding anniversary today. If it was a sign, I needed to know its significance.

          Give me Thy sign, I pressed into the watching skies before turning away.

          Scant minutes later, God lifted the veil.

          The experience of the Ring of Fire had infused me with a strange iridescence of joy. Because it was not merely an experience – it was a celebration.

          As I pondered what it was that I was meant to celebrate, God shared with me joyful news. Dawn has truly, truly broken, was my only thought as my heart swelled and swooped, thinking of the ascending sun over my place of work.

          God must have smiled as He watched me become a kid in the sugar jar all over again.

          Then, He brushed this last veil for the night from my eyes.

          The Ring of Fire was the eclipse. It was also the perfect description of my Christmas miracle of 2019, when the evening sun illuminated the Heart of my Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cross of Light

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          On this delightful day of simple joys, I asked God once more for His sign for me. All through the chimes of hours since the break of Christmas dawn, through Christmas Day Mass, and Christmas visits, I waited in peaceful expectation of His answer. Towards evening, home again, tired yet happy, I gaze up at a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary above my front door, on the eastern side of the house. Last year, on Christmas Day too, during sunset, I witnessed something impossible in the Heart of Jesus, which I never saw before or after that day.

The sun setting in the west on Christmas Day last year had shone through the Heart – but from behind it.

At that moment, I felt Jesus was reminding me about the Illumination of Conscience.

          Today is Christmas once more. A whole year has gone past. Like a playback, I’m in my living room once more, listening to the tangerine~pinked winds sing the last song of the day. It is sunset again as the sun prepares for grateful slumber. My thoughts return to the miraculously illumined Heart of last year.

          Suddenly comes a prayer I’ve never seen, bringing to light a secret hope of a reunion.

Prayer to St. Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings

O Raphael, lead us towards those we are waiting for, those who are waiting for us! Raphael, Angel of Happy Meetings, lead us by the hand towards those we are looking for! May all our movements, all their movements, be guided by your Light and transfigured by your Joy. Angel Guide of Tobias, lay the request we now address to you at the feet of Him on whose unveiled Face you are privileged to gaze.

          Is it a sign or a mere coincidence? Is it a trick? I look at out at the trees bathed in the last rays of the setting sun to clear my head.

          At that very moment, the rays of the Christmas sun pierce the trees in a bright, unmistakable Cross of Light.

          And I have my answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promise of a New Dawn

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          The image for my post yesterday came with this information: Morgenrot. Curious, I looked it up. It was the name of the place and it was German, bearing the meaning dawning, red sky at morning.

          Reading that, I felt a sudden arrow of excitement slice through me.

          This morning, eager to get on with the remaining cleaning and Christmas pre-cooking, my spirit found a quiet corner for some minutes. Remembering Sunday’s 1st reading,

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!   ~  Isaiah 7: 10 – 11

I prayed my prayer since Sunday once more.

Lord, I ask Thee for Thy sign

Since Sunday, each time I’ve prayed it, not seeking my will but that of God through His sign, God has answered me in huge ways. And so, I press on today.

Lord, I ask Thee for Thy sign

          Once more, He answers me and catches me by surprise. It is by the prayer following the Alleluia during morning Mass.

Alleluia, alleluia.
O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Alleluia, alleluia.

          The words seize my spirit. Each word is like an alpine horn, its notes blown down hillslopes and valleys, sounding the echoes of the past year.

Radiant Dawn

eternal light

sun of justice

come and shine

          In months past, countless times, so tired and beaten, unable to get back to my feet, God shot arrows of hope and encouragement to bid me rise.

God will help at the break of dawn

The cock is about to crow

My designs for you are about to unfold

          Each one bore the undeniable promise of a new dawn.

          Today, seeking His sign, God gives me the prayer for Christmas.

Radiant Dawn, Eternal Light,

Sun of justice, come and shine!

 

 

 

 

 

Faith to Fallen is Restored

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Maker of All, Eternal King

Now the shrill cock proclaims the day,
and calls the sun’s awakening ray,
the wandering pilgrim’ guiding light,
that marks the watches night by night.

New hope his clarion note awakes,
sickness the feeble frame forsakes,
the robber sheathes his lawless sword,
faith to fallen is restored.

 

Faith to fallen is restored

The line resolutely pushes past the many clouds upon my heart.

Three days to Christmas.

The sun begins to rise!

 

 

 

 

Let Mum Rest

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          By early morning today, we had a pretty good idea of how our Christmas this year was going to be. Part of me was hugely relieved that the annual big family gathering was not to be. I’m tiring easily and it’s taking me longer and longer to recover, despite relying more and more on the kids to help out with the cleaning and tidying. In addition to that, with a house packed with guests, I was beginning to wonder how do I pull off massive meal preparations for 3 straight days when I wasn’t bouncing back quickly enough.

          So, it did brighten my day to have it finalised today that Christmas would just be us and the kids.

          And yet, disappointment curled tiny tendrils around my heart that the house wouldn’t be filled this year. I know it’s almost suggestive of madness to feel this way when it’s clear that I’m having trouble coping with the physical work that used to come easy. But this is the shadow which most, if not all, adult survivors of emotional abuse contend with – the tendency to perceive rejection even when there’s none to be found.

          I knew very well that none of our extended family could make it to our place this year for a variety of valid reasons ranging from shortened or no Christmas leave to hospitalised parents and having to care for the elderly who could no longer travel so far out to us here.

          Still, that knowing wasn’t strong enough to smother the snide snigger I kept hearing from somewhere behind my ear.

They could have come but just didn’t want to try, said that voice, just for me.

          I think Jesus heard it.

          Minutes later, out on an errand, some time to myself in the car, I read a line from The Life of Faustina Kowalska. Jesus had appeared to the dying saint and said to her, Heart of my Heart, be filled with joy.

          My heart still filled with conflicting emotions over Christmas, I read the line only with my mind, wondering absently, How would it feel to have Jesus say this to me?

          No sooner had the thought budded when I felt an unseen finger write those very words on my heart.

Heart of my Heart, be filled with joy.

          Suddenly, I felt certain, it was Jesus’ voice I felt.

          Be filled with joy. I felt I needed to make myself worthy of such tenderness. I needed to rid myself of all that was enervating me. So, I resolved to go in cheer to my chores and Christmas preparations. To encourage myself to keep going when I got tired, yet not be unkind to myself to forsake needed rest.

          Jesus stopped by once more to cheer me on.

Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!

~   Song of Songs 2: 13, 1st Reading, 3rd week of Advent

          Happy hours slipped past like tiny boats on a grinning brook, gurgling after the break of winter’s ice. Much got done and done happily. My kind of day. Eager for a short rest, I turned back to take one last look at the tumble of the day’s old hours. I saw each face of my family members and their reasons for not being able to make it. Why? I asked Jesus, why did You keep each one away? Not achingly asked; merely wanting to know.

          In reply, He led me to a new nativity image. Someone had named it, Let Mum Rest.

          For weeks now, I’ve been praying daily for help, consecrating our Christmas to our Guardian Angel, asking that he take each prayer to Jesus and to Mother Mary.

          Today, I knew for certain that our angel had heard the prayers, joining his own heart to each entreaty, as he entrusted it to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

          And as the winds sang their afternoon hymn, I heard Their tender reply.

Let Mum Rest

 

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We Have Passed a Threshold

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          Over the past 3 days, one word has been shining out like a star, tiny, yet as brilliant as a diamond.

Vindication

          On the first day, watching the news on tv, my husband heard it and mentioned it. It lodged in my memory because my husband has a gentle spirit; the spirit of this word has no foothold in him.

          The next day, to my amusement, it winked at me from the 1st reading from Isaiah 48:

If you would hearken to My commandments,
your prosperity would be like a river,
and your vindication like the waves of the sea   ~  Isaiah 48: 18

          Today, on the memorial of St. John of the Cross, I pause to hold close to my heart the saint who saved my life. Perhaps it is a sign of his presence that once more  vindication appears, this time in the Responsorial Psalm.

Commit to the LORD your way;
trust in Him, and He will act.
He will make justice dawn for you like the light;
bright as the noonday shall be your vindication.   ~  Psalm 37: 5 – 6

          This time, it sobered me. It drew me back to the months of this year especially. The year with the almost incessant hits and near misses of every sort. I had often mused that we seemed to be passing through a spiritual asteroid belt, littered with the stones and rocks of numerous challenges and trials.

          Vindication is certainly not new to me nor to my heart of hope, but only now, with these 3 chimes, has my spirit hearkened to it. It is not my human hope – of that I am certain. Since I sealed my gaze to the Evening Star, since its peace slipped into my heart, my spirit has found a different meadow, one carpeted by the blooms of skips, mirth and light. And later as I stood beneath her, the final full moon of the year and of the decade on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe gave me a deeper than usual sense of comfort, calm, and strength as I gazed upon her.

Each giving seemed like a benediction.

          The uncertainties of coming weeks and months are ever present. But for now, I am strangely untroubled.

          It is into this significance that vindication lights its lamp today. As my spirit stills before it, God sends His word through a dear friend who tells me, …there are 6,666 days between SEP/11/2001 and 12/12/2019, the last full moon of the decade.

          If I discern this well, he says, we have passed a threshold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quiet of the Evening Star

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          Some difficult decisions today. To ensure a less frazzled and less stressed Christmas for us, I had to fight myself a little to do what was right. I had to disappoint my kids. I thought I’d be filled with peace and calm after I made those tough calls, because I assumed that was the natural result of doing right. Instead, my frustrations over Christmas plans boiled over, compounded by family issues and of course, the looming shadow of my return to work.

          My heart felt like it was being scratched by thorns from all sides, the weariness within me deepening. Why was life always so difficult? More to the point, why am I the way I am – wounded so easily, such an easy target for despondency? Why does it take so little to splinter me?

          Why is peace so fleeting and so elusive for me? When will this battle for inner peace ever end?

When you cannot live up to the ideal you have set for yourself, live up to the one thing I ask before all else: trust in My merciful love. In this way you will always be pleasing to Me: in your moments of weakness as much as in your times of regularity… Accept your weakness of body and those of your spirit as well; they are no obstacle to the work of My grace in your soul. The only obstacle to My work in souls is the lack of trust in My merciful love.   ~  In Sinu Jesu, page 98

          I wanted to trust, especially in this crucial moment when our few remaining weeks to Christmas were stretched out barren and dull, as far as the eye could see, as one plan after another crumbled. I wanted to trust when trust was hardest.

          Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. For me, this title accorded to the Mother of God means battle. But when so many the world over are fighting far greater battles, here I was, struggling with a mere skirmish, that was nonetheless draining my spirit.

Fight for me, Mother of Guadalupe, I pray, as I fight for Thee.

          Some hours later, home from an errand, I went to spend some time in the garden. The sky above was beautiful, wearing a robe of joyous blue despite the late hour, with windbroom clouds in elegant fan clusters from east to west. My eyes feasted on the waning beauty of the aging day; yet, I longed for more. I longed for my heart to be pierced by the vista above me, the work of my Creator.

          Remembering Jesus’ words to me, Look at Me, dearest, something led me to a chair. From there, gazing at the brilliant gold of the sunset sky, alongside the soft blue of the day that was, I told myself, God is in the sky before me. As I seal my eyes to it, I am looking at my God.

          Slowly, the brilliant sky began to blush into a soft rose, yet languid streams of clouds proudly bore still the spill of gold upon their backs.

          As the clouds stretched out their arms as if one last time, a tiny white~blue light began to shine out steadily from before them. In a way I have never seen her before, the Evening Star gazed down at me solemnly from her throne in a sky humming its last notes of farewell. She was not pinned in the depths of the sky as usual, but strangely, resting on a silver~white disc, she shone from in front of the clouds.

          Wondering at what I was seeing, I held her gaze for the longest time. I’m looking at You, Lord, I whispered. I’m trying to trust.

          Inside my house later, I realised something had changed within me. Gone were the nettles of discouragement, regret and frustration. In its place, a strange liquid quiet had slipped in.

          It was the quiet of the Evening Star.