Coming Storm

The Call of Jonah

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          There was an August day two years ago, when I felt a sudden impulse to pray for Ireland. I’ve never been there, had no friends there at that time. All that linked me to Ireland then was Potato People, as a child being taught catechism in school by an Irish nun and growing up to love reading books by Irish writers.

          When this 2015 tug towards Ireland came out of nowhere, I didn’t know what to do about it.

          So, I did what I did know: the next morning, I offered a Rosary for Ireland.

          The moment the Rosary ended, I heard the strains of a hymn I hadn’t heard in years ~ Spirit, Be Our Spirit. It had been so long since I had heard it that I didn’t know the lyrics and had to look it up. On and on that song played in my head. All through my waking – and it seemed, even in my sleep – the second I awakened even for a bit, the song was in my ears. That was enough to tell me I needed to pay attention. Friends advised me to pray for the infilling of the Spirit for Ireland. I did, but it turned out that God wanted me to use the hymn as a direct prayer.

SPIRIT, BE OUR SPIRIT

Spirit, be our spirit

in this time of searching for new life.

Open inner spaces with the fullness

of Your love.

Spirit, let us now be

and forever transformed for all humanity.

Movement of Your presence

heals and deepens our hope to freely live.

Gift of heart where truth springs

from the goodness that You’ve sown.

Spirit, let us now be

and forever transformed for all humanity.

Into desert silence

there to listen and be with open heart,

You shall lead us, thirsting;

and we turn from our fears: forgiving love.

Spirit, let us now be

and forever transformed for all humanity.

          And long after that hymn had misted away, the words transformed for all humanity remained suspended in my spirit.

          Last night, for some reason, I thought about a relative’s husband, a New Zealander. I knew little about him but I had been told that he was a lovely young man who loved his wife with a purity and tenderness not often visible these days.

          This morning, I awakened to another hymn, Be Thou My Vision. It didn’t play insistently in my mind, but gently wound through my thoughts as I went about my household chores.

          Out in the morning sun, I kept looking up at the blue sky dressed in greys and whites. The clouds seemed to be in some indecision. They were in various forms, moving restlessly from south to north, west to east. Warm winds whistled through the tree branches in an urgent song of their own.

          As I worked, Be Thou My Vision refusing to leave me, my heart wondered at the language that the skies and the winds were speaking. There were secrets being passed between them.

          Something was troubling the grass-scented air.

          In a single wind~wisp, it came to me. My relative’s Kiwi husband was of Irish ancestry. Be Thou My Vision was an old Irish hymn.

          Ireland again. My spirit was being troubled over Ireland once more. But with a far greater urgency than before.

          I flew to contact a friend I now knew there. A powerful storm, Ophelia, was bearing down on Ireland. The earlier calm within me was gone. As I prayed for Ireland and its people to be protected, this prayer came strongly:

O Blood and Water that gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus,

as a Fount of Mercy for us,

I trust in You.

The Divine Mercy Conversion Prayer. The prayer that promised conversion for any soul prayed for as long as I prayed it with deep contrition for my sins.

         I thought of my many wrongdoings of late. I plunged myself into the heart of Mercy, begging God for forgiveness, so that nothing would stand in the way of my pleadings for the land of Ireland, so strangely close to my heart. Over and over, I pleaded the Blood of Christ on this nation blessed by the Knock Apparitions.

          As I write this, Ophelia has possibly claimed 3 lives. I don’t know how many more will cross the shores because of this storm bearing a name which some accounts say means helper and others – serpentine – sly, cunning – perhaps denoting a struggle between the Holy Spirit and satan. But more than that, the cold in my spirit tells me that it is not the sorrows that Ophelia hides in her gills that ought to be feared.

         It is what would follow her if the dirge of the Nineveh repentance is not sounded in every soul.

          We should fear. Fear what comes after the storm.

          Because Ophelia is the call of Jonah.

 

 

Tearing Winds

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          It hit without warning. Just like the last time. But this time it hit with a violence that had me gasping.

          On the morning of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, I awakened very early to an unearthly silence in my heart. And an unsettling feeling, but nothing I could put my finger on. It was not a premonition, no uneasiness. Just a fleeting troubling of inner waters. Of something riding in on the crest of slight waves – there, yet not making itself seen.

          Within the hour, a terrible wind had been loosed in my heart.

          It smashed and rammed against every part within. In its immense power to cow and subdue, these winds tore and ripped my spirit to shreds. On and on and on, it hit and hit, keening from one corner to the other.

          And I could only sit in stupefied silence, frozen in shock at what I was sensing. I scanned every landscape of action and inaction, sin and prayer alike I had crossed in recent days, searching for the abyss from which these ferocious gales awakened. But I could find no discernible start point. No actual fall that unleashed them.

          And then, it got too hard to even think or recall; the ripping inside was horrendous.

          Suddenly, in the swirling dark, I found my prayer~will. Or rather, what tatters that remained of it. Clutching at them, I gasped out prayers: the Hail Mary, snatches of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the 7 Dolours, even my own chaplets.

          And every one of those prayers were unfinished, snatched from my heart by those howling winds.

          For hours the struggle played out.

           This was so different. Different from anything before. It was tearing, tearing at my soul. The world around me was in its usual motion. As far as I could see, what was happening with me wasn’t affecting anyone else. The calls to work and home and life – chimed in normalcy. No madness there. And in it I was functioning normally, efficiently even. No one looking at me could have seen a difference in me. Chores got settled, work got seen to. All that needed to be done got done, and no shadow of delay fell across my hours. No meltdown, no tears, no daze either. The shock and tumult I was experiencing within was hidden; I did not even need to make a stab at concealment – the storm inside was not visible to eye. It was as if I tread two worlds, one visible, and one not and that to do it was normal.

          I thought of the words I received the previous week – Flee to the hills. Did I fail, I wondered? It certainly felt that way. It didn’t feel like I had reached the sanctuary of the hills. I didn’t feel safe. It was more like I had been caught in the very winds I had been told to flee from.

What winds were these? 1 Kings 19 came to 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; 12 after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.

…..a strong and violent wind ….but the LORD was not in the wind…

          So, in all likelihood, this was not a wind from heaven. Thank God for that, I thought. But it didn’t feel like something unleashed from hell either. The spectre of dark malevolence was missing from it.

          Deeply weary, I had reached the point where I did not know what to think. And I did not care to probe further. But for some odd reason, always having been one to flee things, I did not even want to escape this.

          I just wanted the prayer for it. All that mattered to me was that I be given my weapon for it. In addition to the others, I surmised that there had to be another prayer – for the present moment.

          While waiting, I kept on with the Hail Mary’s. And repeatedly invoked Our Lady of Lourdes – I knew She could hear me. If it was a dark wind, it was after my spirit, and I didn’t want victory to go to the dark.

          That was when an old, old prayer fell into my heart like a light.

Mother, into Your hands I commend my spirit.

          Stunned for a split second, I lunged for it. In a relief so deep, I repeated it, over and over.

Into Your hands I commend my spirit.

Into Your hands I commend my spirit.

Into Your hands I commend my spirit.

          Suddenly, the mad, tearing tumult stopped. In a heartbeat, the winds had died down. I was stunned. It had been stopped by the Prayer of Spirit Safekeeping that I was led to through the doorways of the Holy Rosary and the Chaplets.

          It was late in the following day when I felt a soft whisper alight on my heart, but didn’t stay long. I hadn’t recovered from the tearing of the previous day; everything felt painfully empty inside. So, I wasn’t in the mood to go over what had happened during the hours of Lourdes.

          And yet, two to three more times, that silken gentleness came to caress my spirit. Finally, I turned to it. I saw someone’s face in my mind.

Tell her.

          I was to take this experience and press it into this person’s heart.

          I groaned. The person concerned had enough on her plate without this madness added to it. I wanted to give hope to others, not burden and weigh them down.

          And yet, once more, it came: Tell her.

          In the dark sable hours of the night, I walked back to the experience and found the words for it for an email. Halfway around the world they went, to this beautiful soul. She read it and immediately brought clarity and understanding of the experience to me. God’s emissary told me I had been given a foretaste of what is to come. It was not of the past nor the present. This was why when I examined my conscience, I could find no open manhole to blame.

The tearing winds were from the future.

          When one is led through such a troubling, there’s a heavy weight of responsibility attached to it, because nothing happens without a reason. When you are given a glimpse of the future, it is so you act in His Will in a way you might not, under normal circumstances. As I read this golden soul’s words again and again, I knew with a certainty that whatever was coming, was coming for our spirits. That was the ultimate prize. In no way was this a new revelation. From the birth of the word of God, this has been the siren sounded to man: the alerting of a vicious ripping away of souls, an alerting repeated through the approved Marian apparitions around the world.

          Up till now, I had only heard and read of this coming terror. Maybe the experience of 12 Nov 2015 had something to do with it too. But on the Feast of Lourdes of 2017, I truly felt its outer winds.

          It is no mere suffering that is coming. Even severe suffering might not suffice to explain what lies ahead. This is different.

          It is the Warning. And it will rip and tear our spirits beyond what we can ever imagine.

          Having understood this much, this time I flee. No backward glance. But I flee not to save myself alone; I try to carry others. I flee and fall into the prayer Jesus taught me on Sept 14th, 2015 – on the Feast of Triumph of the Cross – Mother, into Your hands I commend my spirit.  His own words on the Cross, but it was now to be prayed to His Beloved Mother – Mary.

          Back then, the prayer was just for me. Now it was for every soul on earth. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transfigure Me

Transfiguration

          I wanted to mark the Feast of the Transfiguration with a more personal involvement this year. More so since I believe I was given a sign to pay attention to it. Having begun the morning with the readings, I mused over why the Transfiguration happened in front of witnesses. 3 witnesses. Peter, John and James. One Christian writer explained that it was to prepare the apostles for the tragedy of the Crucifixion and the glory of the Resurrection.

          To prepare for grief and glory.

          I took an honest look at my life, viewed through the lens of faith. Viewed through the mist-wreathed experiences I do not always have the words for. And I asked myself what exactly did/does the coming of Jesus into my heart mean for me?

          I expected my own response to be sunbursts and all things lit by the lamps of joy. Instead, to some degree of surprise, I saw Jesus in my heart to mean the gifting of crosses to purify and the dew of holy relief from the purification. The Cross and Joy. Grief and Glory.

          What do the weeks and months ahead hold for me? What lies in a deceptive slumber, awaiting its unfurling? I know it’s not going to be all calm seas. Life is rarely that for me. But I had to be done shrinking from the tomorrows if I was to truly glorify my God. I needed to shore up my wobbling spirit and learn to face all that is to come with courage from above. So, I bent my spirit to ask for the needed grace ~

Jesus, transfigure my heart and soul,

Prepare my spirit to receive You.

The Time of Waters

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          For some reason, the call of the spirit came strong for me long weeks past Pentecost. For the first time in my life, I am sensing a humbling of my own soul before the Holy Spirit, and immediate bend of my own wayward spirit, in recognition of Who is Master, and who is not.

           Despite the almighty ruckus within me as I banged my head against every post in a deep inner struggle, my relationship with the Spirit has changed in some way I cannot find adequate enough words for yet. In the past week, more so. A deepening. A stilling.

          A woodpecker with his cape of royal red is intrigued by the trunk of one the trees that borders my property. Resting my eyes on the regally attired bird, a sultry amber breeze weaves a gentle path through  green crossings.

          Gently, slowly, the winds reach me and quietly rest a caution on my spirit: the time of waters is getting close.

https://writingonmyheart.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/lent-18-a-coming/

 

Call of the Easter Wind

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          In the sun bloom of Easter in pilgrim hearts, there is felt in many, a stirring. For many, a bell~chime to deeper prayer. A spirit gentled to love. A nudge towards Truth.

          And for some, an unmasking. Of ourselves. Of others.

          Bit by bit, the winds unclip the covers we cower behind, and the veil begins to slip. Our sins and gifts alike, shone upon by a new Light, granting us a seeing into roads of past, and the new walk we are now called to. Fear is not the response sought of us, but a spirit that is freshened and humbled by the outpouring of Easter grace feels within it a new strength – an Easter strength – to face the graves of the past; a strength to trace in faith, the mist-wrapped paths ahead.

          The Easter blessings are there for one and all, to weather in courage, all that lie ahead, remembering in holy humility, the missteps of the past – guideposts for the future.

          Bit by slow bit, the winds come. To lift the sand grains that obscure our seeing of the true nature and intent of others. Slowly, the sands are brushed aside, and truth lifts towards us. We finally see people for they are

          We might see what we never imagined.

          We might see what we always suspected.

          We might see what we’d rather not.

          Pleasant or hurting, the Unmasking, – of ourselves, of others – is a grace we do not always receive in joy, in graciousness and in the humility of learning. Yet, receive it we must, because to continue believing in a falsehood simply because it is more comforting, because it troubles us less, is to live in a lie. There is no real nourishment to be found in pearls tumbling off a lying tongue. There is neither life nor hope in being tied to the wolves of pretense, deception and subterfuge – in us, and in others.

          When the Easter winds lift their call to our souls, we must seek the courage and will, to ponder the windnotes and what they bring to bear on our lives. We must seek heavenly discernment, even among bitter breezes. For they come not empty.

          Instead, hidden within, are the revelation lamps, to light what lies ahead for us.

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God of I

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          Being a sinner, I am wont to visit old haunts better left alone. I paid one such visit last night, and it was a visit that did no one any good. I left the path of prayer and faith to visit the familiar world of thwarted plans, frustrations, and old hurts. It was a world of illusion and deception because it’s where I become my god, and I overwrite His decrees. Where I break free from Truth, and breathe my interpretation of how events should have turned out.

          It is a place where I think I can both have God and be my own God. Where there is no necessary waiting, and maturing is fast tracked. Where prayers and good deeds tumble through a temporal vending machine, and yield instant results that generate happiness and satisfaction. This world I tread from time to time has clouds, but they do not linger for long, for I am, sadly, not one for the long haul of trial and tribulation.

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          In this overcast space a breath away from reality, I go back to old hurts and broken dreams with a menacing determination – to will a path different from Heaven’s, because I have trouble conforming to the Will of God in what has transpired. It is where I tinker with consequences and write a different ending, always immediately vindicated, triumphant and tearless. Mistakes, if any, are quickly righted with no blighted endings. In this Son-less place, I have conquered all my demons, and I am all perfect and all-knowing, the beginning and end of Wisdom.

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          But this place I should never darken lies in the eternal shadow of fallacy and illusion. The only reality it boasts of is the bitterness of past pains. Here, sorrows from times gone by do not heal, because the remedy  – recourse to God – is shunned. Here, sorrow is papered over. There is no real maturing of faith, because there is no real god, save the God of I.

          The God of I reacts with revulsion to long years of trials and tribulations, seeing the mercy of the true God too daunting a journey to undertake to seek. The God of I sees no merit in suffering, disappointment and loss, which is why it seeks to hasten a soul’s journey to assumed perfection by shortcuts and deception. By a re-configuring of painful but necessary Truths, the God of I leads me, and too many others, away from the Heaven of the Cross.

          The gold of the world of I is mere dross, but it is powerful in its enticement because we believe in the illusions it projects – that suffering is wrong and must be cut short. That in sorrow, it is our solution, not God’s, that is best.

          That God needs to be told what to do.

          In this world where we are gods, the “I” eclipses everything else. We stubbornly persist in worship of ourselves – our opinions, our plans, the way we want to live life, because it seems foolish to place our lives in the hands of a God who asks that we give up materialism, selfishness, pride, unforgiveness. Because with our intelligence and talents, it seems utterly stupid to yield to humility and to ask for the grace of being small and forgotten in order to See the Truth.

          It doesn’t make sense at all.

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          And yet, there comes a point in almost every life, where the two worlds can and must no longer be straddled. When the choice must be made between life in the world God wants us to live in, and the world where we make gods of ourselves. One shrouded in mists. The other a burst of lurid, wanton colours.

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          In the world of the God of I, happiness and satiation are easily achieved, yet, they sour as quickly, into emptiness and desolation. The suspect incense of every plan and plotting rises seemingly swiftly, but sinks even more rapidly in the quicksand of rejection and idolatry, because the true God is shunned.

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          In the world willed by God, there is blood and grief, but for every sorrow, there are diamonds of silverpure joy, woven together by threads of obedience, humility and joyful suffering, into the Crown of Life that awaits us at the end of the road.

          Two choices. The sorrow of now followed by the joy of the next life. Or, the satiation by the present, ending with eternal death.

          We cannot have them both. It is time to decide.

SEEK REFUGE

12247-summer-flowers-wallpaper-hd[1]Bubbles of joy in music filled hearts. Not a care, not a worry, not a fear. Happy skips in the playgrounds of gaiety. Flower blankets blooming beneath the love of the unblighted sun.

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Food aplenty, open displays of feasts. No gnawing hunger, no fear of an empty larder. Raucous pursuits, a different joy every day. Freedom to scale any hill and mountain. No restraining leash tethered to pains and needs of those around us. Everything we want is there for the taking.

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Golden sunrise of hope, clear skies. Not a tear, not a shadow. We skip and dance past imprisoned souls, Live life to the fullest, we call out. Seize the day, we chime to teary eyes, Join in our song of camaraderie, we sing before we breeze on.

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Happy sojourns, success in every form, at every turn in the road. Eyes unseeing, ensconced within our walled-in sphere of accolades and shallow mirth. The still in the winds we sense not. The gathering hush comes slow and stealthily.

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Muted tinkle of warning. Ribboned our way by a wind chime stirred by the first rain winds. For an instant, our skip is stilled. We look up from our preoccupation, irritated at the intrusion.  We might see the burgeoning waves on seemingly distant seas. What’s new? That’s life, – we  reason impatiently. Then, we turn away. A crow call of nothings, we shrug and damp down the sparks of messenger whispers.

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The Storm hits from behind, a wild and feral fury unleashed. We latch our doors and cower in shock. Our houses are pummeled. Every pocket wherein we stored our hopes and faith torn and rent to shreds. In fear we flee the houses we occupied, tearing down streets where we built our other abodes, seeking open doors, ready welcome, comfort and refuge. Panic surges and overwhelms.

No door, no welcome.

No comfort, no refuge.

We crumple to the ground. Our life in ashes lie. Knifing through us, a wrenching grief of loss of the familiar. Mater dei, Mater dei, the cry slips from us.

An ember of light flickers to life within us. Sepia-stained memories of an ancient Call. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?

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Stumbling to our feet, we search for hallowed ground, seek the Mantle we once knew. Grateful collapse, our knees we bend in humble homage. Winds screaming all around, yet, an oasis of Comfort in holy remorse and repentance. Refuge found.