Month: April 2022

Heralds of Spring

Canadian Geese Flying in V Formation

For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God. After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the Name. ~  Acts 5: 38 – 41

         The birds around our home were in the throes of mad, secret avian joy, their calls ringing out in exuberance just as the early dawn rays began flaming the skies into golds and yellows and tangerines. One chapter of my life has ended today, and with it, hopefully, much of the darkness. Yet, I greeted the news with an unnatural calmness. For a moment, I wondered if it was because I was not being grateful enough. Nonetheless, I had to admit that I was also very tired, that having given all I had within me these past years, it had likely taken me beyond the point of celebration.

          Still, reaching out to close the old gates behind me and to walk into this next phase of working life, I wished for some joy. Even a spark would have been welcomed.

But there was none. I was well and truly spent.

          It was past twilight when I came to the readings of the final Friday of the month of the Holy Eucharist.

…they had them flogged,
ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus,
and dismissed them.

          I thought of the calvary we had endured as a family these past years. Cut after cut of an invisible whip, days, weeks and months of it. Fear, anger, pain and shame. Choking grief. Over and over telling God, I cannot go on. I just cannot. Over and over, He had put His hand out to me,

Oh yes, you will.

Do not waver.

Keep going, you’re almost there.

Walk on water.

Meet Me at the other end.

I am already there.

          Each time, impossibly, I would rise to my feet through the love of so, so many who would not give up on me, to let me fall to the earth and die. With their arms about me, each time I managed to stand up and to make my way forwards. On and on till I reached today.

Oh, for just a spark of firelight now at the shores of freedom.

          Just as I was wishing for that special joy to sing once more, something made me look up from my writing. A quick scene on the tv.

A flock of Canada geese intent on their journey across the bluest of skies.

One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the Spring.   ~  Aldo Leopold

          In that tiny moment, I felt the spark. Even a heart still frozen in the old ice of winter knows that life is about to live once more when the geese are sighted in blue-shot skies.

For they are the heralds of true spring.

The Day is Here!

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MAKER of all, eternal King,

who day and night about dost bring:

who weary mortals to relieve,

dost in their times the seasons give:

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.

Roused at the note, the morning star

heaven’s dusky veil uplifts afar:

night’s vagrant bands no longer roam,

but from their dark ways hie them home.

The encouraged sailor’s fears are o’er,

the foaming billows rage no more:

Lo! e’en the very Church’s Rock

melts at the crowing of the cock.

New hope his clarion note awakes,

sickness the feeble frame forsakes,

the robber sheathes his lawless sword,

faith to fallen is restored.

Shed through our hearts Thy piercing ray,

our soul’s dull slumber drive away:

Thy Name be first on every tongue,

to Thee our earliest praises sung.

All laud to God the Father be;

all praise, Eternal Son, to Thee;

all glory, as is ever meet,

to God the Holy Paraclete. Amen.

Happy Easter!

Lent 38 ~ The Ancient Loneliness

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Here they are gathered, wondering and deranged,
Round Him, who wisely doth Himself inclose,
And who now takes Himself away, estranged,
From those who owned Him once, and past them
flows.
He feels the ancient loneliness to-day
That taught Him all His deepest acts of love;
Now in the olive groves He soon will rove,
And these who love Him all will flee away.   ~ Ranier Maria Rilke

Lent 37 ~ Light for the Dark

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          Above all, I beg of you to be always gay, joyful and happy, for this is the true mark of the Spirit of God, Who wishes that we should serve Him in peace and contentment; do not be uneasy or anxious, but do all things with liberty of mind and in the presence of God.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

          Holy Week began on a difficult note but today, things deepened without warning and completely knocked me off the hill. I finally broke down at Jesus’ feet, my first time in some weeks.

          Still, I had a feeling I was under some kind of attack. I don’t usually see things in this light but I did today. Because today, having heard of vicious attacks against Ukrainian women and girls, I felt I had to do something. Knowing how packed and busy my day was going to be, I needed to be able to make some kind of a continuous offering, alongside the calls of work. Hence, I decided to offer up as many Hail Mary’s as I could, asking Mother Mary if each bud could in some way be used to save the life of a woman or a girl.

          A few rose~buds in, everything began to unravel. Even minor issues threw me off balance, on and on, snowballing till late afternoon. By late evening, as the humidity of an impending storm singed the sunset hours, I knew I had barely given anything towards so great a need. Hell was being unearthed in Ukraine and here I was, as usual, tripping over far smaller trials. Darkness had seemingly won.

          But someone saw, and someone knew I needed help against whatever was blowing hard against me today.

Above all, I beg of you to be always gay, joyful and happy, for this is the true mark of the Spirit of God, Who wishes that we should serve Him in peace and contentment;

          How do I be this gay, joyful and happy when dark winds rise? I wondered mutinously. How do I not lose the mark of the Holy Spirit? For once, I felt that beloved saint~friend did not have God’s word for me today.

          Just as frustration began to curl into me, I saw it,

…do not be uneasy or anxious,

but do all things with liberty of mind and in the presence of God. 

          On my own, I can do none of the above for I bear no kinship with the serene lotuses of still ponds. The quiet peace of saints continually evades me. But if there’s anything I’ve managed to learn, it is that I can always trust in God to grant me every grace to fill every dry gully of need. What I have need of, He will provide.

          So, back to God’s Heart I went again.

          This time, into Its depths I gave up my darkness. In exchange I took His Light.

Lent 36 ~ The Way of the Colt

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Today, many years ago, He rode a donkey, not a horse.   ~  Anonymous

          Today, the flames of stray, angry thoughts are quickly doused when these words find me,

He rode a donkey, not a horse

          In a tender Palm Sunday miracle, those 7 words remind me that God’s ways are always different to what the human heart clamours for.

          Through the way of the colt, He gently tells me to put my hand into His, and to let Him lead.

 

Lent 35 ~ Water for the Rocks

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Prayer to St. Raphael, Archangel

Glorious archangel, St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travelers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as you did once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost.

          There’s a prayer generator I access every day after I’ve done my Bible Readings for the day. It’s an avenue God often uses to get my scattered attention – and He did again, today. Over two days, I drew prayers to be prayed to the Archangel Raphael; the one I drew today, gave me pause.

          Today, an unexpected skirmish with a family member upset me. Unexpected as it was, it was just one of many I’ve had with this person and I was so tired of it all. I flew straight to God’s heart and I vented mightily there. But by late evening, the annoyance was still stinging and I conceded that something more was needed.

          Emerging from the cave and standing on the ridge, I called out for all my saint-friends, calling each one by name. I had a feeling that I was missing some humility but I wanted to be completely truthful as well. So, I expressed my frustration to them, holding nothing back. I told the Communion of Saints, including the Archangels, that I felt like giving up on this family member; but I ended by quietly asking that I be shown my sin as well in this tug-of-war, in case it was I who was in the wrong.

          There was no denying that all I wanted was to turn away and stop caring even as I knew that giving up on this person and walking away was not God’s way. Yet, wounds in a heart can be like rocks strewn across the path of an already tattered and mottled human will, making it a struggle to love, to forgive and to persevere.  

Blood and Water that gushed out from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for me,

I trust in Thee.

          Still, as afternoon rains began to press their silver~pearls into a waiting earth, my heart slowly fell into peace in the ensuing hours. Busy once more with work and studies, the morning’s squabble retreated quietly to the sidelines of my consciousness.

Until I drew St Raphael and realised that it was the second time since yesterday.

And spied the words my heart had missed before,

consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners,

in all the trials of this life, 

physician of God,

I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities 

                  

          Even as God saw my hurt, He also saw my need for healing.

          And so He sent His Angel with Water from His Sacred Side, to break and dislodge the rocks within my heart.

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