Author: caitlynnegrace

I'm a working mum with five children. I blog from the heart. This blog is cathartic in its function. For too long, I have been denied the right to be ME. Now, I am slowly learning and discovering my heart and soul. writingonmyheart allows me the anonymity to be one of the who-s that I am - REFLECTIVE.

Lent 13 ~ Returning of Hopes

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          I read about the Holy Spirit Rosary on Susan Skinner’s blog, Veil of Veronica, and like her, I too was immediately drawn to it. The drawback was that it needed to be prayed as a group – to ensure we do not attribute to the Holy Spirit what is actually something out of our own heads. I didn’t have a group I could meet with to pray the Rosary together. Even with friends, no common time to come together as well.

          This afternoon, with the weather the way it was, sullen and sulking, I decided to go it alone. I prayed with all my heart that my mind, my will and my emotions be bound to the Hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. That nothing of me pierce through. It was incredibly difficult, to be honest. I viewed with suspicion everything that moved past the window of my consciousness. I felt as if I was all tightly bound up, stiff and rigid. Not the best way to pray, for sure, but there didn’t seem to be any other way.

          I decided to pray all 5 decades on the meditation of the Agony in Gethsemane. I imagined myself beside Jesus in the garden. Then, I wished I had done some research on this so as to better imagine the place. While I was dragging my scattered thoughts back to the garden, I somehow ended up in the desert with Jesus during His 40 days fast. I’m not sure how that happened. Nonetheless, somehow, that worked out a lot better than trying to imagine the Garden of Gethsemane.

          I believe I imagined Jesus sitting on a wide smooth slab of rock, facing straight ahead. And I settled myself beside Him. He didn’t seem to be aware of my presence. I likely imagined that too. I must have seen the time in the desert to be an intense time, of  deep, penetrating  silence. That would explain why I imagined or pictured Jesus in that still, unmoving, undistracted manner. I remember telling myself not to be a distraction to Him, not to squirm and wriggle trying to get comfortable on hard stone.

          Again, that was just probably my way of quelling my own distractedness.

          As I whispered my Hail Marys and tried to be as still and as unyielding towards travelling thoughts, I sank into a slight weary sadness. I saw hopes that were so long in coming true. I saw dreams that didn’t seem possible any more. Expectations being raised and then, dashed.

          As I struggled and struggled to meditate on His Agony all alone in Gethsemane/Desert, I felt a gentl-ing of my tightness. As I felt the ropes I had bound myself with earlier begin to loosen, I came face-to-face with an old shadow inside me:

The hopes within me were my own, not God’s.

          While He had given me signs and shown me glimpses into the future, I had taken them and embellished them with my own visons and expectations. I had sewed on my own buttons of desires, embroidering the garment with my ideas of how life should work out for me.

          And when what I had conjured in my head collided with God’s reality, hurt swelled  and soared like churning seas.

          Sitting by His side looking out at the expanse of sand and rock, I slowly returned to Him my tattered garments of hope, rent and stained by earthly wiles and wishes, by my own undoing of selfishness, pride and vanity. I gave back to Jesus,all the hope that was of me, born of my passions.

          He’d know what to do with it, I reasoned.

          I cannot be sure how I ended up here, at this point of returning. Was it the Holy Spirit Rosary? Was it just the way my thoughts were weaving through the haze of hours and events?

          I suspect it’s not me. Because despite the dulled spirit, when the Rosary ended, I rose and went to my chores with a lightness in my step.

          You don’t confront sadness and disappointment, and yet, leave in light – unless it was the Spirit’s doing.

 

 

 

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Lent 12 ~ Would You Come Here?

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“Would you be so kind as to come here?”

 

          An entire night of endless coughing, each bout sending me scurrying to, Go to the spring, drink of it and wash yourself there.

          Then, I was put to the test and I failed.

          Yet, this morning, only the kind heart of a Mother awaited me.

“Would you be so kind as to come here?”

These were the words of Our Lady to Bernadette at the third apparition. These strikingly courteous and homely words are not a command but an invitation to leave everything else aside and come spend time with Mary.   ~   Father John Lochran, chaplain to the English-speaking pilgrims to Lourdes between 1985 and 1995, 150 Years of God’s Healing Care, Franciscan Media

          I’ve been unwell for close to a week, yet unable to take sick leave due to work responsibilities. I cleared some of that work last Friday and now, I suddenly suspect why I don’t seem to be improving fast enough despite medication: it’s time to take the leave from work. Time to be still.

To leave everything else aside and come spend time with Mary. 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 10 ~ Precious Blood

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Consoling Jesus today with,

Invocations to the Precious Blood of Jesus

Precious Blood of Jesus, shed in the Circumcision,

make me chaste of mind, heart and body.

Precious Blood, oozing from every pore in the Agony of Jesus,

grant me to love only the holy Will of God.

Precious Blood, flowing abundantly in the Scourging at the Pillar,

pierce me with a keen sorrow for my sins and a love of suffering.

Precious Blood, falling in profusion from the Crown of Thorns,

grant me a love of humiliations.

Precious Blood, furrowing the way to Calvary,

fill me with courage to walk unfalteringly in the bloody footsteps of Jesus.

Precious Blood, shed so profusely in the Crucifixion of my Jesus,

make me die entirely to self-love.

Precious Blood, shed to the very last drop by the opening of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

give me that generous love that sacrifices all for God.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Precious Blood in atonement for my sins and for the sins of the world.

Precious Blood, heal me.

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 9 – God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

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God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are You.

turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.   ~   Esther 4: 14, 30

 

          Not the easiest of days, yet a Hand is over my heart today, no permission granted to ache or hurt for myself. Today, twice, a commenter has reminded me, Spring is on its way! How beautiful! How especially beautiful on this day of my friends’ soft tears and trembling smiles. Today, I tread carefully among the wounded, touching sorrowing hearts, willing them to believe that spring is coming even as it seems winter won’t let go, in the hiddenness of my own heart, praying,

God of Abraham,

God of Isaac,

God of Jacob,

turn our mourning into gladness,

and our sorrows into joy,

Blessed be God,

Blessed be God,

Blessed be God.

 

 

 

 

Lent 8 ~ In Place of Priests

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I want you to call priests to the experience of My friendship…to remain before My Eucharistic Face …adoration and reparation. Draw near to My Open Side in the Sacrament of My Love for them and in their place, and they will begin to follow you there.

Reach out to My priests, not so much by speaking to them, but rather by reaching out to Me for their sake.   ~   In Sinu Jesu

 

          I haven’t prayed much this week. Work has been heavy. I’m falling behind, the cold I’m nursing diminishes any hope of catching up on work. I’m too worn out to even feel frustrated.

          I wonder how Jesus feels. The church is shaking and groaning from its pain and here I am, locked in my world of endless work and a cold determined to stay.

          Nonetheless, today, He deepens this second Lent call to me: come to Me in place of priests, for My priests.

Speak to My priests by coming to me.

Reach out to them by coming to me.

          The cold has turned into a racking cough. More work has been added on. I cannot even remember to enter my inner cloister to pray.

          So, I do the only thing I can: Before I leave for work, I seal my heart to His Tabernacle. I leave it there and go to my day. I hope it is enough. I hope it compensates.

          Yet, I feel nothing at all. No rejection, but no deepening recollection, no heightened spiritual alertness either. Nothing to indicate my heart is where it should be. I try the prayers He has given me. They pass through my heart listlessly, like dry leaves going to their death.

          I think of the dream of the red blouse and dried flowers. In the dream, I am going up to the tabernacle, bearing winter blooms. My wan prayers, the heart I am trying to seal to His – they’re the winter blooms which I must fight myself and the world to continue to offer to my Lord.

          Because He wants me to draw near to His Open Side in the Sacrament of His Love for priests and in their place, so that they too will come to Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 7 ~ In Order to Restore

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In order to restore in the world the reign of Jesus Christ, nothing is as necessary as the holiness of the clergy.    Pope St. Pius X

 

          I offer up my today, everything in it, to God, for priests. May the Precious Blood of Jesus course through them, washing away stones of sin.

 

 

         

 

Lent 6 ~ Replace With Yours

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          Just before sunset Mass last week, God called me to console Him for victims of oppression as well as for oppressors. Then, He placed in my heart a light longing for a Blood of Christ prayer. Later that night, He showed me a specific oppressor to focus on, one of my bosses at work.

          The next morning, the yearning for a Blood of Christ prayer deepened and going in search of one, I was returned to an old blog post from 3 years back, Heeding the Confessor. I had forgotten all about it, so I was slightly surprised to see that the post was about that specific boss. Reading it, I recalled that the tug of spirit at that time, 3 years ago, was to pray the Blood of Christ upon that man.

          More chilling was the bible reference given to me about him. It was the parable of the Rich Fool.

Then the Lord Jesus spoke this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”   ~   Luke 12:16 – 21

          Every line that described the fool described my boss.

          At the time of the post, I had just been severely torn down by him. I was fighting anger. I didn’t want to pray for him. But St. Maximos Confessor had come and urgently told me I had to channel my anger into prayer for the man; I couldn’t allow my anger and hatred for him to steer me away from the prayer he needed so much.

To the extent that you pray with all your soul for the person who slanders you, God will make the truth known to those who have been scandalized by the slander.   ~   St. Maximos Confessor

          And so, I fought myself and prayed for him with the simple Blood of Christ prayer Jesus had slipped into my heart.

Blood of Christ upon me, Blood of Christ upon him.

          That was 3 years ago. Now, yet again, this man was brought before my eyes so firmly that I knew God was not about to tolerate any excuses from me not to pray for him. So, once more, I tried to pray that same prayer, Blood of Christ upon me, Blood of Christ upon him.

          I didn’t feel a hand stop that prayer. Neither was it lifted away from me. Yet, it felt different this time. It didn’t quite… fit. I spent the rest of that day and today gently seeking the prayer for this man and every superior that he represented. Nothing came. Instead, today was tough. The sullen weather. Work that progressed slowly. A technical breakdown. Long, long work hours. Signs of a bad flu attack. Left without a prayer yet knowing I had to pray, I offered up this arid, angry day and all its knots and gnarls for the conversion of this man.

          I finally drove home tiredly, nothing much left in me. I put my heart out once more, wanly searching for the prayer.

          A small hand pushed a memory across my heart. A memory of the post that was written just before Heeding the Confessor.

          It was Replace my blood with Yours – ‘Yours’ as in the Precious Blood of my Christ. The second my heart  uttered the line, I knew I had found the prayer of conversion for my superior.

Replace his blood with Yours

 

 

 

Lent 5 ~ Honour of the Sabbath

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On keeping the Sabbath holy:

If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with malice…   ~   Isaiah 58: 13

          The instruction continues. I feel as if I am seeing things for the first time. I feel as if I am new to the faith, not the cradle Catholic I thought I was. Before this, my eyes were opened to a new way of fasting.

          Now, it is how the Lord wants me to celebrate and live His Sabbath.

 

 

 

Lent 4 ~ Oppressor Hearts

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I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, says the Lord,
but rather in his conversion, that he may live.     Ezekiel 33: 11

          After Jesus called me to the Lenten fast of consoling, I happened upon an account by a cancer survivor, detailing not just her struggles with the disease, but also the hurt and unnecessary pain caused by medical professionals through their lack of empathy, lack of compassion and absence of professional thoroughness in helping this woman  navigate the debilitating darkness that is cancer.

          It reminded me of something I had experienced in the past with regards to cancer (I did not have cancer; it was something else). Reading that poor woman’s story this morning brought back the memory of that sudden, piercing aloneness when you’ve just received the diagnosis – made worse upon realizing that no one really cared. No one cared much  about your emotions, your shock, about your fears of what lay ahead. They didn’t care that you were sitting there, blank, yet scrambling for questions… and answers. It mattered nothing to them that you were in shock, that your life had ground to a halt – and that it was simple charity to be sensitive to the patient’s place at that point in time – by refraining from joking with colleagues, talking about plans after work – until I got some grip on what I had just heard.

          I didn’t care if it was the kind of news that they delivered to patients hundreds of times before; it was my first time hearing it and I deserved much better than what I got from the doctor leaning away to crack a joke with another doctor. I deserved way much more than a condescending look and a careless answer when I asked my first question about treatment options.

          I had every right to concern and compassion that I didn’t get from those medical specialists. In that moment of my suffering, they were not healers. Their attitude was oppressive because it further compounded a Cross I barely even knew how to lift.

          My experience only lasted a few excruciating hours. But how many men, women and children, face this sentence in reality each day, alone and isolated in their fears because hostile onlookers want no part in their pain?

          So, today, I begin my fast for the oppressed as well as for the oppressors. Both are found everywhere, not just in hospitals and in doctors’ rooms. Some are in our places of work. Some are in our own homes. Not all are obvious, out in the open. Although it is far easier on me to cast those callous hearts aside and focus only on those in pain, I sense God is calling me to fast for the conversion of oppressors as well.

          Knowing that I might just choose to focus my consoling on those suffering oppression, God gave me a sign right in front of my eyes. Returning from Mass, for close to 30 minutes on dark roads, God placed my superior’s car in front of us. Due to the heavy traffic, we had no choice but to trail this man cruel to so many for so long. 30 minutes was enough time to pretend not to see, make excuses and then to concede defeat to God and say, Ok, yes, I will console You for this man too.

          Because just as I seek life, God wants oppressor hearts to be converted – that they too may live.