Month: August 2021

Time to Fight

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May the malice of the enemy be stunned.   ~ St Albert of Trapani

          Today was one of those days when I did not ask for my prayer for the day but it came nonetheless, slipping in on the breath of warm breezes. On this last day of the month of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I had prayed the battle prayer of the August Queen for the final time this month, my heart joined in mourning with the brethren of my country, for all that has been lost, for all that could have been.

          At my altar this morning, I prayed for the soul of an old man who had died 4 days ago.  Late last year, this man had been severely beaten, just for doing his duty. A victim of someone else’s incomprehensible rage. Poor, his voice was too small and no one came to his aid.

          For months, this old man had lain bedridden and comatose. But he died 4 days ago. From the depths of grief, his wife in quiet had spoken, He has died and left me. 

          I found it very hard to love when the news broke  yesterday and the videos of the brutal beating from last year found life once more. It was as if this poor man’s death brought to the fore every meaningless loss this broken nation has endured for 64 years. No tree nor rock for any of us to hide from the searing lash of shared sorrow.

          A few days ago, I began sensing an inner call to go before the Blessed Sacrament. Since we have been under lockdown since mid May and likely for another couple of weeks, my weekly Friday visits to church have become a thing of the past. But here now was this call, gentle yet insistent,

Come before Me in the Blessed Sacrament

          Then, it dawned on me that there was a way: find a livestream of perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. And so I did, and began my visits. One of the first things I did was to place into the Heart of Jesus my red rage against the killer of this old man. I wasn’t having much success with hate the crime, not the person – but I figured God would know what to do.

          And God did. The rage was gone this morning. I wasn’t suddenly filled with goodwill towards the one who had done such a terrible wrong. But quiet and deep peace had come into my heart and with a mind free of anger and hate, I was able to finally pray, Lord, may Thy Justice and Mercy meet for this poor old man. While it was not brave and noble as a prayer of forgiveness for the accused would have been, this was a great improvement from some of the other darker things that had been skidding across my mind yesterday.

          A short while later, the winds began to gently stir the windchimes outside. With the rising of the last August sun, the calls of the day beckoned smilingly. But I was not done yet. I wanted to touch the Immaculate Heart of Mary one last time today. Moments after I had recited the August Queen prayer, ready to move on with my day, Someone put out Her hand and stayed me with these words,

May the malice of the enemy be stunned.

          And I knew then that it is time to fight.

Built by Love

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A place to rest awhile from journeys all must undertake

A hiddenness for tears that must flow when storms beat hard

A garden where kindred souls gather

A place to learn, and learn again, the voice of God;

In this life, we can build just about anything we want

But only true love can build something like this.

NANCY SHUMAN

7 February 1946 ~ 30 August 2017

The Breadbox Letters

The Time of Now

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          Dry days are here and my spirit has gone to its desert. Even as I partake of life and laugh and love and pray, the aridity within me does not yield. Nothing reaches my innermost sanctum, except –

photos of harvested hay bales sitting in fields

and

the phrase, It is time.

          What do they mean? Why do scenes of a harvest – yet only those with hay bales – quieten me into watchful silence?

The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his Kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun…   ~   Matthew 13: 39 – 43

          In every season of our life, it is always time for something. So, what is the time of the now for me?

          As if in answer, 2 things appear before me.

          First, a dream from last year. A dream about my neighbour, and her daughter moving back in with her – and the number 4. On the Feast of the Assumption this year, I received a sign indicating that the time for the fulfilment of that dream is near. Although that dream and its fulfilment per se has little to do with me, I now understand that it is the time of that fulfilment that is relevant to me.

          Still trying to discern, I turn my mind back to the day of the dream last year. I had awakened from it, instantly clear-minded and alert but I did not understand the dream. At that moment, from deep within me, I had heard the unmistakable strains of a Christmas song, an old Michael W. Smith one. Knowing instinctively that the song was linked to the dream, I let it play in my mind until the answer became clear. But soon, my mind had misted up and I didn’t know where I was going. So, I sought the help of St Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. St Anne, I had prayed at that moment, which part of the song must I focus on?

          It was as if St Anne had been waiting for my question, so swift and smooth was her reply.

You’re almost where the journey ends
Where death will die and life begins.

          Now, a year after that dream, asking for what the time of now means for me and for us as a family, the very same lines from the song appear before me once more.

You’re almost where the journey ends
Where death will die and life begins.

Take Refuge

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Let us take refuge in the Wound of the Sacred Side, like a poor traveler who seeks a safe harbour in which to shelter from the rocks and tempests of this stormy sea of life, for here below we are continually exposed to shipwreck, unless we have the help of our all-wise Pilot.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque