Month: March 2020

Lent 32 ~ There was a Fourth

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Prayer to St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael

Most Holy Trinity, I thank Thee for having formed the hosts of Thy ministers in Heaven so marvelously, and for having adorned their leader so magnificently. Be Thou adored and loved in the beauty and grandeur of Thy ministers: be Thou praised in their jubilant songs of praise and thanksgiving, through all eternity. Amen

O holy princes of Heaven, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, I praise you for the love with which the Most High has loved you and placed you so near to His own throne. Be mindful of our necessities, and at the head of the Holy Angels, do battle for the Church of God upon earth, that Satan may be forced to yield ever more, and the Kingdom of light and grace, virtue and the holy love of God, may flourish in splendor, and its beauty be acknowledged by all. Amen.

         

           …do battle for the Church of God upon earth. Battle. Weapons. Swords?

Four Crosses in the sky

Four swords

belonging to

St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael

And a fourth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 31 ~ In Winter, Choose Life

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During the worst moment of the illness, I thought I could die and I was scared of leaving alone my wife and letting my son grow up without a father like me   ~  Pierpaolo Sileri, Italian Deputy Minister of Health upon recovering from Covid-19.

 

          As I heard this man’s words, I marvelled at him. In the cold and dark of his fear, he chose to care about his wife. He chose to care about his child.

          His worst moment was the best of all. Because in his winter of fear, he chose Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 30 ~ Be Sealed with the Spirit

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          In the afternoon hours of Thursday, a fear began to press itself into the creases of my spirit. Try as I might, I could not determine its reason for appearing. It didn’t seem to be about the death I had been told of. But it was definitely about the pandemic.

          Fear at such a time is understandable, expected even. Yet, I knew that while what I was sensing was related to the terror and deepening worries about so many things spreading across the globe, the fear seemed to be about something else.

          Something I could feel but not see.

          I rose early on Friday and went to my promise.

Mother, I prayed to Our Lady of Fatima, I consecrate the world to Jesus, through Thee.

Please protect us. Please save us.

          Life went on in the new monastic rhythm of busyness intertwined with quiet alertness. The sun danced its light upon us as we cleaned the home, taught the kids their lessons. As we worked in the garden, as we prepared meals.

          But the quiet thread of fear continued to weave its seam through it all.

          By late afternoon, this fear had grown bolder. I felt my chest tighten. Again I searched for the source of this reaction. Again, the air kept its own counsel.

          Then, I remembered a prayer, and urgently reached for it.

Jesus, lay Thy hand upon my heart

          Immediately, the constricting fear and tightness evaporated. I knew then that whatever had come, it wasn’t from God.

          Once more, the day and its little calls continued. Again, I returned to my duties, but with an alert eye trained on the distance even as I pondered the many things laid against my heart since the morn of Thursday.

          By night, the tightness had returned, reaching into my throat with a firmness of intent. I knew instinctively that it wasn’t a physical condition; my spirit was reacting to something. I started to share about it with my husband, but somehow, the words evaporated and the moment passed.

          Late at night, busy reflecting and writing, an alert popped up in a small window at the base of my laptop screen. It was a message from a website I might have visited at least a year ago, not something recent. And the message was,

Be sealed with the Spirit

          The moment my puzzled gaze took it in, the tightness disappeared.

          I couldn’t believe it.

Be sealed with the Spirit

          It’s been two days and no shadow has drawn close to my gate since. The fear, the tightness – has left.

          I watch the news, read words of pain and fear. All over the world, people weeping, in anguish over lost jobs and lives. I could turn a deaf ear, dismiss the panic as manufactured, busy myself elsewhere. The choice is mine.

          But I don’t – because I can’t and I shouldn’t. That fear I experienced wasn’t from God but God let that fear touch me for a reason. And that reason is the love I profess is of no value if I pull my hands away from the wounds of my brethren. Because I wound my Jesus if I withdraw into my security and comfort when others around me the world over are losing every comfort and security they’ve ever known.

          And so, I return to where He wants me to be – in the pain of His people. Where each life left on earth is in need of the same healing benediction laid upon me,

Be sealed with the Spirit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 29 ~ He is Going Home

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          In the darkness of Thursday morn, the day following the Feast of the Annunciation, I was roused from sleep. In the silence that followed, someone sat by my heart and lifted the veils a little.

          One of it concerned someone I love with all my heart. I learned that this old man would die.

          The whole of that Thursday, all through its hours, my heart remained calm and steady, accepting of that death if it were to truly happen. For ever so long, I’ve fought heaven, demanded that I be allowed to return home, to love and care as I’ve always done.

          But one day, years ago, in the midst of my anguished cry to heaven, I felt and heard the breath of Jesus upon my ear, saying,

There will be different ways to love

          In the years that followed, I began to understand that I would never return to my old home. Because to do so would only bring death upon my own family here now.

          It took a few more years before I could quieten the rebellion in my heart against that knowledge, but when I did, I slowly learned that God wanted me to now love through prayers, sacrifice and consecration.

          Only when I had fully accepted that did Jesus gently lead me towards yet another revelation. That this man will return to me with his old arms raised in the joy of absolute freedom and forgiveness – but only through the gates of death. Because only death could free this beloved man from the fetters that have imprisoned him from birth, right up to the present hour.

          And so, that is why, even when I was told on Thursday that he would die soon, even through my tears, my heart is ready for it.

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 28 ~ Let No Leaf Be Lost

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Shall we all be saved? Shall we go to Heaven? Alas, my children, we do not know at all! But I tremble when I see so many souls lost these days. See, they fall into Hell as leaves fall from the trees at the approach of winter.   ~  St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars

 

          Yesterday, I wrote about a dream I had in 2016. A white map in the sky. A warning. Yesterday, the meaning of the white in the map was made clear. It referred to winter. Not the winter we know. Not just the winter of spirits either. But a winter of actual withdrawing from the world and remaining indoors.

The winter of stay-home orders and of lockdowns due to Covid-19.

          On this Friday of repentance and atonement, I am choosing to offer up my day for the leaves which may fall as this winter nears. May they be pierced and warmed by the Son’s saving rays, as my sinner’s heart has been. May those leaves come to know what it truly means to be loved and cherished, as I have learned through my own brokenness.

          May the approaching winter bring a light and warmth never before seen nor felt.

          Let no leaf be lost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 27 ~ The Sign is Given

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          I was roused from sleep early this morning with the words,

… will die from this

          ‘This’ referred to Covid-19. And I was told the family member who would succumb to it.

          Then, I was taken back to an old dream of 2016, of a white map in the sky, pointing to a time of coming terror. In that dream, my gaze was directed to 3 continents in succession. Not together. I saw them one after the other.

First – Africa

Second – Europe

Third – Asia

          Almost a year later, in 2017, another series of events on a single day. And through them, I was made aware of the need to consecrate the world to Jesus – through Mother Mary.

Mary the Gate

          Several times, I brought up this dream of the white map to some people dear to me. Together we tried to make sense of it. Each interpretation made complete sense. Yet, I was always left feeling that our views were not quite on the mark; that there was something more.

          Yet another year later, in 2018, suddenly the mists parted a little.

Africa. Europe. Asia.

wasn’t referring to continents specifically. It was pointing to 3 consecutive years.

2017. 2018. 2019.

          3 years before the explosion of events, leading to the Covid-19 pandemic in the 4th year.

          In the dream of the map, everything had been covered in white. I sensed it meant something but didn’t know what it signified at the time of the dream. In 2018, interiorly I understood that it referred to a coming winter. Sure enough, soon winter began to appear at unexpected times and in unexpected ways, in Nature as well as metaphorically.

But this morning, I finally saw what that white of winter actually meant. It was the time of being indoors as one would in the winter. And that winter was this pandemic. A winter being experienced by every country on God’s earth.

          One by one, slowly things were revealed and illumined this morning.

The death

The map

          And finally, When Communism comes again. This prophesy was given to a seer of the Garabandal apparitions which began in 1961 in Spain.

When Communism comes again, everything will begin to happen.   ~  Conchita Gonzalez

          When Communism comes again, it will be the marker indicating the time we have been alerted to in many different ways. A time of sorrow. A time of revelation. Of unmasking. There are several predictions about this time when the unimaginable begins to happen, and I concurred with at least one.

          But what was conveyed to me in the dark pre-dawn hours of this morning was that the marker of Communism coming again is Covid-19, originally named the Wuhan virus, after the city of Wuhan in Communist China. Where it all began.

Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!   ~  Isaiah 7: 10 – 11

          I asked for a sign on the Feast of the Annunciation yesterday. Covid-19 is that sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 26 ~ A Quiet Gift Comes

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          I had been waiting for this day, this 25th of March. Feast of the Annunciation. Since 2016, I have been nudged to alertness regarding this date, this Feast, the day Mary said Yes to God.

          From Monday, when I began my simple 3 day novena to prepare for the feast day, my chest would tighten every time I thought about it. Was it anticipation? Perhaps. But I cannot be sure, because there was an underlying anxiety. An undercurrent of premonition.

          But the 25th of today dawned incredibly beautiful. Deep azure skies, a strong sun. Flowers in wild and joyful bloom, dancing in rhythm to the mischievous winds toying with them. Even my morning’s frisson of unease evaporated in the face of such sunny happiness.

          Yet, I continued to gently press my heart against Heaven. Give me Thy sign.

          And then, it came. But it was nothing like I had been stiffening and tightening up for.

          Instead, an unseen gentleness quietly led me on a little journey down an old lane of memory. I was brought back to verses that have never failed to quieten and still me.

Then the LORD said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.   ~   1 Kings 19: 11 – 12

          I know it should have been obvious to me, but it wasn’t. Not until today.

          I had always wondered what on earth that strong and violent wind, that earthquake, that fire – referred to. I would scan headlines and reports about Mother Earth revolting, laying my heart against each one, trying to find a common rhythm that told me I had found the answer.

          But each attempt was futile. I was brought to the gates and each time, left there, not allowed in. Until today. Today, the gates opened slightly. And even from the humble spot where I was, I suddenly understood what had been hitherto hidden from my spirit of understanding.

The gates I had been made aware of in Lent of 2018 referred to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

          And the wind, the earthquake, the fire – all now referred to inner churnings in my life.

          There had been strong and violent winds, earthquakes, fire even, in my personal and professional life for many years. I had struggled with and through each one, sometimes pulling through, often failing. Each fall went on to generate another set of wild winds, a series of earthquakes, endless fires as I fought fear, tears and frustrations.

          But early this year, I began to sense something had changed in me. Outwardly, I seemed to be the same. Some days I even fooled myself. Yet, it was evident that I was no longer who I was. Although I worked very hard at my job, although the pace was terrible this year, something else held fort within me, holding me back from the edge of the cliff. I knew that something was the December dream which warned of a complete and no-turning-back burnout.

          Suddenly, with that dream, I knew that I could no longer allow any external wind, earthquake or fire to destroy me and my body and my peace of mind. No matter what blew or shifted or raged, I had to take charge.

I had to flee to the hills of my God and my faith.

          And so I did. Many days, it sure didn’t seem like it, but if I forgot one day, I made amends the next day. Slowly, I learned something that has always been so hard for me – saying No, saying Stop. I did it at work. I did it at home too. Sure, that didn’t make some people too happy with me, but they needed to hear it.

         And now with the Covid-19 Movement Control Order in place, today extended by an additional 2 weeks, although I am working from home, I no longer have to contend with the worst of outside winds, earthquakes or fires. A clear break has come.

          Today, on the Feast of the Annunciation, Our Lady came to softly tell me it was time to eradicate, obliterate even the few inner winds, earthquakes or fires which may come to life from time to time as I navigate the roads of fear, worry and tension of this terrible pandemic. She came today to tell me it is time I leaned against Her and the communion of saints who are family to me, in order to fight myself, to fight back against the winds, earthquakes and fires of my emotions and temperaments.

          To still all that breaks, shifts and rages within me.

          Because it is in that ensuing peace and stillness that I will finally hear the small, still sound of my God.

          And with that victory, I will finally lean forever against the Heart of my beloved Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 24 ~ When We Can’t

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Prayer to one’s Guardian Angel when unable to assist at Mass

O Holy Angel at my side
go to the church for me,
kneel at my place at Holy Mass,
where I desire to be,
At offertory in my stead,
take all I am and own
and place it as a sacrifice
upon the altar Throne.
At Holy Consecration’s bell
adore with Seraph’s love,
My Jesus hidden in the Host,
come down from heaven above.
And when the priest Communion takes
O bring my Lord to me,
that His sweet Heart may rest on mine
And I His temple be!

 

 

 

Lent 23 ~ A Time to Heal

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One thing good about Martha’s Vineyard being seasonal is that every year when the tourist season ends and everyone goes home, the island has a chance to heal from the summer onslaught.   ~  Susan Branch

 

                In this time of lockdown or Movement Control Order, it is all too easy to focus on the dark and the negative. On the mounting death toll. On the risks. On the endless what-if’s. I’ve lived too much of my life under the shadow of fear and I won’t go there now. Nonetheless, I’m not buying into the bliss of intentional ignorance either. That’s irresponsible. We must do what we must to be safe and to keep others safe too.

          It is a time of genuine worry and fear. But there’s something else too. Something beautiful out of all this pain and uncertainty.

It is a time of healing

          We need to heal from our dependency on the heady brew of the conveniences of daily life. We need to heal from takeaways, home deliveries and online shopping, just to name a few. They have made things so easy for us, and many of us have come to depend quite a bit on such services. And that’s fine.

          But sometimes, we take our dependency too far. We make excuses to use these services to avoid going out even when it’s safe to do so. We deprive ourselves of a good walk in the sun. We choose to instead stare and pin pictures of spring blooms instead of stepping out and feasting on the many surprises which surround us. We send each other online bouquets or use florist services instead of making up a small posy of blooms from our own little plots.

          When we return home tired from work, the takeaway beckons enticingly, and we tell ourselves we need a break, that a meal prepared from scratch, even a simple one, is too much of trouble. It’s fine when it’s an occasional option, but sometimes, we let ourselves go and make it a habit, and too soon, it becomes something we cannot do without.

          In my little town where we are free from at least the stress of traffic and long lines, many of my townspeople have come to overly rely on food services and food vendors for their daily meals. Eating out is not a luxury here. From the wealthiest to the poorest, almost everyone either dines out or sends out for food. On the rare occasion that people cook, there’s again that heavy reliance on ready made dips and marinades.

They want Grandma’s cooking but someone’s got to do all the heavy lifting for them.

          Over time, little by little, we begin to lose all that was bequeathed to us from generations before. We either forgo gardens or we procure the services of professional gardeners. We search out restaurants and cafés for the warm memories of old kitchens and food cooked with love. We don’t trouble ourselves cooking for our kids and family. We prefer to work than to return home to the whining and groaning of our kids. We hire home tutors and use that as an excuse to remain longer at work because that’s so much easier on our tempers than to struggle with our children over homework and exam preps.

          But with a lockdown, with restricted movement, all our previous refuges have to be vacated. We can’t go to work. Restrictions take away the luxury of some of the services that have become an unhealthy staple in our lives. It’s a terrible time. But even with Stay At Home orders, life still needs to go on. We need to make important financial decisions. But kids need to learn too. Family needs to be fed. House needs to be cleaned. Other needs need to be met as well. But no one’s there any more to do it for us.

We’re on our own

          It can be daunting, it can be frustrating. Some days can be hour after hour of mistake after mistake. But times like this can also be beautiful. Just like that beautiful island that benefitted from tourist dollars needs the rest of the year to heal from the effects of tourism, we too need this downtime to heal from certain conveniences that might have made life easier but also eroded life of value.

          We heal by going back to basics. We heal by simplicity. We heal by doing things ourselves as opposed to always depending on someone else.

          We heal by taking the time to do things. We heal by stepping back from rush and speed and instead, begin to savour moments.

          We’ve been given a gift. Let’s take it. Let’s go home to heal.