Month: February 2023

Lent 6 ~ Not Before Its Time


O Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Heaven

(Hymn from the Roman Brieviary, 5th century)

O Christ, whose glory fills the heaven, our only hope, in mercy given; Child of a Virgin meek and pure; Son of the Highest evermore:

Grant us Thine aid Thy praise to sing, as opening days new duties bring; that with the light our life may be renewed and sanctified by Thee.

The morning star fades from the sky, the sun breaks forth; night’s shadows fly: O Thou, true Light, upon us shine: our darkness turn to light divine.

Within us grant Thy light to dwell: and from our souls dark sins expel; Cleanse Thou our minds from stain of ill, and with Thy peace our bosoms fill.

To us strong faith forever give, with joyous hope, in Thee to live; That life’s rough way may ever be made strong and pure by charity.

All laud to God the Father be; All praise, Eternal Son, to Thee; All glory, as is ever meet, to God the Holy Paraclete.


          Some days can be so delightful and others, filled with hits and blows. From yesterday evening, it has been raining blows. From all angles, it appears. Hit after hit after hit.

          And yet, God allows this suffering.

A line from the hymn above called out to me lightly,

Grant us Thine aid Thy praise to sing

          How do I praise in this state of being so torn up and scratched? I wondered. Is it any surprise that I just cannot?

          Despite this, a small pinprick of light came through: I might not be able to pray a prayer of praise from the heart, but I could ask God to help me to love this cross. After all, it is He who has placed this cross upon me – and He must have good reason for it.

          With that, a tiny prayer curled its arms about me,

Jesus, help me Thy cross to love

          I could sense the storms rear back the moment I said the prayer.

          The next minute, however, the phone rang. Taking the call, the storms rose back in sweeping vengeance. Immediately, I understood the connection. It had been a call from someone, who without actually intending to, was trying to agitate me into taking a course of action which was not God’s will for us for the moment.

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…   ~   1 Kings 19: 11 – 12

          Although I firmly resisted, by indulging the person even for a while, I had stepped out of the cave before the intended time.

And fallen right back into where the waters were foaming and frothing.

          There is a reason why there’s a time for everything. Not a single minute can be delayed nor rushed ahead, for there will be consequences if we did. Even for actions which can seem good and right and the correct thing to do at the time, everything must be aligned with the will of God.

          Having learnt that lesson anew now, I retreated back into the cave,

Jesus, help me Thy cross to love


Lent 5 ~ No Less a Warrior


You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.

~  Charles Spurgeon

Lent 3 ~ The Secret


The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment

and to thank God for all that He, in His goodness, sends to us day after day.

~  St Gianna Beretta Molla

          Not too long ago, in dealing with someone, it occurred to me that I rarely heard the person being thankful about anything. When I pointed it out, to my surprise and disappointment, the person replied, There was a time when I thanked God hundreds of times a day. I was surprised because I was actually right; disappointed because it felt as if God needed to earn this person’s thankfulness.

          Perhaps, I should not have been disappointed at all. After all, I am pretty familiar with the struggle to be thankful. Even till now, I struggle to make a thankful spirit part of my identity. So many in my family circle are not particularly thankful people too. I believe that many of us might need to work at building up a thankful disposition. Part of that problem might just be because many of us have such a limiting view of thankfulness and thanksgiving. We believe that the stone jars in our lives must be filled to the brim with the things we set our hearts on before we can offer up genuine thanks.

          And yet, thankfulness is so much more.

          It is indeed the rejoicing spirit when things fall in place and dreams come true, when our tables are laden and the heart content. But when our days stretch out long and dry and empty, thanksgiving becomes more of the gathering to the heart of all the old blessings we have received.

          If it doesn’t flow naturally, that is when being thankful will likely be most needed.

Lent 2 ~ The Only Choice


It’s the choices we make, that in the end, will define our lives.

Susan Branch, in Distilled Genius


I have set before you life and death,

the blessing and the curse.

Choose life, then,

that you and your descendants may live…

by loving the LORD, your God,

heeding His voice,

and holding fast to Him.   

~  Deuteronomy 30: 19 – 20

          Years ago, during some particularly tough times, I was tormented by doubt and fear. Most of the few people who were privy to what my family and I were going through at that time thought we ought to choose a particular path – because that was the right path, they insisted. Some people even quoted the Bible and God’s commandments as justification. Trouble was the road that they were so sure of just didn’t seem right to my husband and I. I prayed a lot, turning every single sign and Word over and over in my mind.

 Every time, I reached the point of comprehension, the answer was always to choose differently.

So radically differently.

          I thought I was stark mad.

          But it turned out that I wasn’t. All I had done was to choose Jesus. That made all the difference. Until today, my family and I are alive and living and thriving despite difficulties – simply because of that.

          That’s not to say my husband and I knew exactly what we were doing, knew which flight path was right. We didn’t. But we did one thing right over and over – we made many decisions on the basis of the sanctity of marriage and family. In many of the decisions of those dark, storm-tossed days, we chose to protect and to live the marriage vows we had taken and to hold tight with all our lives to the Baptismal promises we made for our children.

          We certainly paid the price for it. Yet, today, years and years from those bitter days, looking at the life we have now, it is clear that my husband and I did the right thing.

          As the author of Deuteronomy exhorted, we did indeed choose life. And we did it by choosing Jesus.


Lent 1 ~ Build a Better World


Believe in yourself, learn and never stop wanting to build a better world.   

Mary McLeod Bethune, from Distilled Genius by Susan Branch

          I believe that we may not always be able to receive from others but we can certainly always give. For that, I am thankful because from a young age, I found greater joy in giving than in receiving. Of course, there were times too when the giving was a mistake or seemed like a mistake at that time. These were times when people took advantage of me. Times also when my giving opened the door to bullying and abuse. In those seasons of pain, I often wished I had not been so willing to reach out and care.

          However, once those tempests receded, as tempests always will, what has always remained is peace in my heart. Even if I could now see how my giving had sometimes resulted in a hard time for me, it made me wiser, yet never regretful of what I had given from the heart.

          Today, as I write this, I understand why.

          There were lessons I needed to learn about human ways and the only way to learn them was to go out into the deep, sometimes entering bitter waters that swirled unseen. To give even there, without counting the cost – but to give in a human way. And then, to receive pain as God allows it – in order to learn how to give as God gives.

          Today, I am at peace with all I’ve given. I have also learned from it. And with these lessons tucked into my heart, I step out once more, as heaven bids me, to do my bit to make this world a better place.

Let Me Find You


O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find You again. Amen.   ~  Henri Nouwen

          Each Lent is special in its own way. Each Lent is the grace we need for the seasons of the year. For some years now, Lent has been the time when I leave the byways of life as best as I can, to enter the hermit’s enclave. As always, it is a time of seeking my Master’s heart.

          This year is no different – and yet it is. A strange lift comes over me as I contemplate Lent 2023. Today, seeking saints’ thoughts on Lent, I come across this line in the prayer, which for me, best explains this odd rise of spirit. Four little words, and tucked into the heart of that entreaty, a single word that sends a rush of power through me,

Let me find You

Where the Old Ways Wait


Virtue does not consist in making good resolutions, nor in saying fine words, but in keeping one’s resolutions and carrying out one’s good intentions.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

          January has gone, taking with it half of moody February. It’s only now that I’ve had the chance to step back from frantic work and still myself to look up at the skies. What does God wish of me this Lent, I wonder. The week is far from over but I’m already in the next, prising at a door that remains closed.

          Do the things you should, St Margaret Mary seems to be saying to me, tugging me back to the now. After a time, I get what she means. There have been some habits and intentions that have fallen by the wayside of life since old November, some by necessity and some by neglect. But now, it’s time to return to them, to pick them up and weave them back into my hours, where they belong. The daily walks. The gentle reading. A Pathway Under the Gaze of Mary, a long waited for book, my husband’s Christmas gift to me and Distilled Genius, the new Susan Branch book also gifted to me by a precious friend. Two special books calling out to me to sink my heart into them, for in them lie hidden words God wishes for me to know for the season that is and that is to come. Tending to a garden gone wild because I could not find the heart for it for ever so long now. The quiet wait by the trees, listening to the winds chatter among the firs, allowing them to lift my spirit to the heart of God.

          In the midst of January’s madness a few weeks back, a sign had impossibly pierced my heart.

Of a coming rest in February

Surrounded by mountains and hills that defied levelling, a February rest didn’t seem possible then. But now, a wind has begun blowing, its rushes and whispers sweeping away the mists, uncovering a forgotten path, hidden till now.


Step by the wayside

Where the old ways wait