PRAYING FOR OTHERS

Friday Summons

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          Today, first Friday of the new year, I received a firm summons to the Lord’s Heart. Upon being reminded about First Friday devotions, I felt led to bookmark this page for my prayers – https://americaneedsfatima.org/Our-Lord-Jesus-Christ/the-nine-first-fridays-devotion.html. The devotion called for 9 first Fridays to be offered up for reparation. Last year, I was called to a similar ‘novena’ – 9 first Tuesdays for reparation. Just as it was that time, I knew that with the memory I have, and even with smartphone reminders, I’d fall off the wagon pretty soon.

          So, once more, from today till the end of September, for a period of 9 months, I will recite the Reparation to the Sacred Heart prayer every Friday, not just the first 9. I also told God that I offer my prayer as not only from me, but also from all those I have attached to my heart. This is a beautiful and indeed helpful way to remember to pray for many people. Instead of naming them individually or trying to remember who to pray for or even having to always consult a prayer diary, we can attach to our hearts the people whom the Spirit always moves us to pray for in a special way. So, every prayer we pray, covers those ‘attached’ to us as well. Melanie Jean Juneau taught me this. With a memory like a leaking sieve, I am forever grateful to her for this wisdom.

          I’m taking this attachment one step further this time with the Friday Reparation prayers: that as I pray this prayer, others attached to my heart echo it as well – whether they are aware of it or not. I believe this is possible because I’ve learned that prayer is not merely confined to words; prayer can be many things – silent suffering, sacrifice, obedience when it is hardest, a day lived in pure service to our neighbour.

          With so many prayers being prayed and lived, may graces flood the souls who need them most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blood and Water

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          When the angel placed my eyes upon the Divine Mercy prayer, Jesus, I trust in You, it was the hardest prayer for me to pray, on that day and especially, in the days that followed. I had gone instead, to every spiritual pool I knew, to every saint’s door, begging for discernment,  for relief, for strength, as Jesus, I trust in You stood by resolutely. I searched in so many places, yet, nothing reached out and caught my heart.

          As I dithered, waiting for another nudge, a commenter told me to read Psalm 102 – the Psalm of the Afflicted – and to say Jesus, I trust in You, at the end of each verse. So, I read it and made the offering each time. While some of the lines encapsulated what I was facing now, at the end of the reading, what remained was, again,

Jesus, I trust in You.

          Heaven was being very firm with me; I had to say that prayer – regardless of how I said it or how I felt.

          And so, I began. I said the prayer every time the breath of despair swept close to my heart. Every time desolation threatened to take hope away.

          There was no answering strength that I discerned, no bloom of light.

          But late, late in the depths of night, I suddenly felt I had spent too much time among the stones of lament. I had left Jesus out in the cold, alone with the sorrows of the world. Wanting to make amends, I went to console Him.

          Taking up my Rosary, intending to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet, Someone slipped into my heart a prayer I had forgotten – The Divine Prayer of Conversion,

Blood and Water that gushed out from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You.

           As I stared at the prayer, something gently folded around my Rosary beads, and I slipped into

Blood and Water,

Heart of Jesus,

I trust in You.

          Over and over, like with the Hail Marys, my spirit nestled into a quiet, resolute rhythm,

Blood and Water,

Heart of Jesus,

I trust in You.

In place of the Mysteries, I placed before my heart the images of places, people and practices that hurt and wound my family and I. Around each image, on my rose~beads, I wove Blood and Water, Heart of Jesus, I trust in You.

          At dawn the next day, I saw the word, Emissaries. Recently, I learned that for me it indicated the close presence of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Mother of those in battles. Barely had my thoughts gone there, when from the dark green breast of trees awakening to the touch of shy sunrise, I heard a sudden burst of baby~bird melodies. I’m accustomed to hearing the little tweets of bird~lings, but today, it seemed like many little bird babies lifted their voices to joyously sing, spilling diamonds into the night sweetened air awaiting the embrace of the sun.

          A melody never before fallen on my ears.

          I went to work later. The hurts and the wound-ers, in their usual positions,  as solid as ever. The night’s prayers and sleep hadn’t lit strength in my soreness; nothing seemed different.

          But I saw immediately that the blade of anger sheathed within my heart was blunted.

          I think I understand. My anger takes me into a battle that serves no purpose. It takes me away from where I am most needed – the Guadalupe Battle.

          The battle for the conversion of souls.

          Through that unexpected avian hymn of unearthly sweetness, Mother of Guadalupe had sent Her emissaries again, to tell me that The Rosary of Blood and Water was Her answer to my anguished seeking.

          It is Her wish that I wield it for Her in the battle for souls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song of the Lark

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May you see God’s light on the path ahead
When the road you walk is dark.
May you always hear,
Even in your hour of sorrow,
The gentle singing of the lark.

 

          The road is dark indeed, and getting darker for many. We have days of joy-filled moments embroidered into them. Hours laced with funnies and laughter where the sun spills its warm blessings upon the dimpled land and the green~gold breezes tug leaves  and boughs into a timeless dance.

          Yet, paradoxically, I sense the light outside going out. One by one, lights which line the streets of life and living, the lights we have come to depend on, are dying. I’m only getting by because of a strange, invisible light from within. A light fed by family, thanksgiving and prayer, knit together by obedience – the oil that will feed the light.

          Some days, the walk comes easy. Some days, obedience is hard to find. But I must trudge on. If obedience dies, so will the light – for me.

          And for others too.

          For tonight, another’s sorrow weighs heavily on my heart. A young man I know has fought many battles to live to love his God. Gentle soul, he burdens none with his bitter load. But the Cross bites deep now, deeper than before. Like it is with many the world over, I sense his lights too are dying out, one by one.

          My heart aches for him, this son of Ireland. He is tiring, it comes strong this still night, where the wee leaves lie unstirred in the dead of winds.  I’ve been there before, that same shore where hopes go to die.

          Only love pulled me back, away to the secret nooks where hope sings and lives.

          Now, this love must be returned for this young soul, as once was done for me. In every way the Spirit moves me to, in an obedience that doesn’t always come easy, I press this son loved by a Mother, into the Divine Heart, praying,

May you always hear,
Even in your hour of sorrow,
The gentle singing of the lark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 5 ~ Left Behind

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          Some hours back, I had the fleeting thought to pray for the Holy Souls of Purgatory. I love them much but sadly, of late, I have not spared much thought or prayers for them.

          Then, there was dinner and other house chores to work on and soon the intention got lost somewhere.

          But it wasn’t a mere passing thought.

          Well into the night, when the day’s frolicking winds had fled to their hidden nooks, I read an old mother’s plea to a priest for help.

My son committed suicide on July 8 2012. He was only 39 years old. I was maybe 50 feet away when he shot himself. Can’t find peace and I do have tremendous guilt that I had not saved him. If I only went to his room, but I didn’t. My life is hell, and I am old, praying so hard but my pain is so intense. I am just worried as he was such a good son but not been in church since his childhood. Please help me, I am hoping that merciful God will forgive him, I don’t think that he knew that suicide is a mortal sin. Help me please.

The mother had written to the priest about 3 months after the tragedy. It is now close to 6 years since that day when 2 lives ended – the son’s, and in many ways, the mother’s too. That is what untimely death does, worse when it’s suicide because I suspect guilt stays longer and bites deeper.

          This mother was grieving the loss of her child and the loss of life as she knew it. Deep inside, she was screaming and pleading for them both.

          For every life that ends, so do other worlds.

          I think it is this plea, this poor woman’s and others as well, that the angels have placed in the curve of my night hours tonight. I don’t know anything about this poor, poor mother beyond what she has written. I wish I did because it would make my own ache bearable if I knew she has now passed through the darkest parts of this valley of grief.

          If such a thing were possible.

          But what is my pinch of pain compared to this severe sorrowing of those left behind to grieve? Those who remain to suffer doubt, worry and fear, in addition to the terrible inner tearing as they mourn the loss of someone who left without a goodbye. Who likely left not knowing they were loved and would always be loved.

          I loaded this woman, her son, and others onto my prayer cart. I had yet to say my night Rosary, so to it I resolved to take these suffering souls.

          It was then that I recalled something I had read.

When a particular people become for you a cause of worry and distress, give them to Me and represent them before My Eucharistic Face. ~ Anonymous, In Sinu Jesu.

          I wasn’t anywhere near an Adoration Chapel. But I thought I’d close my eyes tight and go before Jesus in my heart for those who suffered this particular scourging – those left behind to grieve.

          That very second, my memory gently pressed before me,

You will see changes in them that only My grace can produce. ~ Anonymous, In Sinu Jesu.

          The distress left me.

 

 

 

Fatima 4 ~ August 19

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          Under the pretext of providing his personal automobile, so that the children could travel safely through the crowds pressing around their homes, the civil Administrator or Mayor of the district in which Fátima was located, arrived in Aljustrel on the morning of August 13th. A previous attempt on August 11th to obtain the “truth” from the children having been unsuccessful, Artur Santos, an apostate Catholic and high Mason, had devised a scheme by which he would take them into custody and force them to reveal all.

          With a show of good will he now offered to take the three and their parents to see the parish priest, whom he claimed wished to see them, and then to the Cova. At the parish house he abandoned this ruse, and the parents, taking the children alone from there to the district headquarters in Vila Nova de Ourem, some 9 miles away. Here he tried bribes, threats of death and locking them in a cell with other “criminals” in order to get them to recant their story. It was to no avail. Despite their ages, their belief in the Lady and their courage was unshakeable.

          Meanwhile, in the Cova at noon on the 13th the characteristic external signs of the Apparition appeared for the benefit of the crowd, the greatest crowd to that time. After they ended the crowd dispersed, as yet unaware of the trickery of the government.

          The “trial” of the children, however, continued for two days, to the consternation of their families. Finally, on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, the Administrator had them driven back to Fátima and deposited on the steps of the rectory. Here they were seen as the people, who had just come from Mass, were trying to determine from Ti Marto where the children were. Their anger was poured out on the driver, and on the Mayor when he arrived a little later, both of whom were no doubt glad to be rid of their little charges and to escape unscathed. It would effectively be the only serious effort of the civil authorities to interfere with the Lady of Fátima.

          As it was the Lady’s plans were delayed slightly. On Sunday the 19th Lucia, her brother John, and Francisco, were grazing the sheep at a place known as Valinhos. It was located on the side of the same hillock opposite Aljustrel where the angel appeared twice, though a little farther north. At apout 4 o’clock, sensing that Our Lady was about to appear, Lucia tried unsuccessfully to get John to fetch Jacinta, until she offered him a couple pennies for the errand. As she and Francisco waited they saw the characteristic light. The moment Jacinta arrived, the Lady appeared.

          “What do you want of me?”

          “Come again to the Cova da Iria on the thirteenth of next month, my child, and continue to say the Rosary every day. In the last month I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”

          “What are we to do with the offerings of money that people leave at the Cova da Iria?”

          “I want you to have two ardors [litters to carry statues] made, for the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. I want you and Jacinta to carry one of them with two other girls. You will both dress in white. And then I want Francisco, with three boys helping him, to carry the other one. The boys, too, will be dressed in white. What is left over will help towards the construction of a chapel that is to be built here.”

          Lucia then asked for the cure of some sick people.

          “Some I will cure during the year.” (looking sadly at them) “Pray, pray very much. Make sacrifices for sinners. Many souls go to hell, because no one is willing to help them with sacrifice.”

          Having said that, She departed as She had on the other occasions.

 

~ EWTN

 

 

 

The Harvest Has Begun

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The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.   ~   Matthew 13: 39

 

          This line from today’s Reading lingers before me while others move ahead. I see the words: Harvest. End of age. Harvesters. Angels. All of these marked the old July. A few short weeks before, such a line would have filled me with dread. And the way July this year shaped up for us, would have added shadows to the chill in me.

          But since the passing of my colleague’s husband, and the prayer journey we took as a family, and since a physical and financial difficulty we faced over the weekend, something has changed within me. I fleetingly sense something has taken root. A calm I never had before. A quietness to my strength. A gent~ling. It’s as if someone not me has come to live within me.

      The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.  

          For the first time, I am filled with hope. Always one to fear the Cross despite my best attempts to love it, I cannot understand this reaction. I cannot explain it.

          Neither can I explain my conviction that the harvest has indeed begun.

 

 

 

 

Fatima 1 ~ May 13

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          The First apparition of Our Lady occurred on Sunday May 13th 1917 as the children were pasturing their flock as usual at the Cova da Iria, which was about a mile from their homes.

          They were playing when suddenly a bright shaft of light pierced the air. They described it as a flash of lightning. It was not really lightning, but rather the reflection of a light that approached little by little. Frightened by the flash, the children looked around at the sky that was clear and bright without the least spot of a cloud. No breeze stirred, the sun was strong, and there was no hint anywhere of a storm that might be responsible for a flash of lightning. The children, however, thought that they had better head home in case it might start raining.

          As they descended the hill, another flash of lightning took them by surprise. Panicky with fear, they took a few steps and looked towards the right. There, standing over the foliage of a small holm oak, a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant then the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun.

          The lady spoke to them and said: “Fear not! I will not harm you.”

          “Where are you from?” the children asked.

          “I am from heaven,” the beautiful lady replied, gently raising Her hand towards the distant horizon.

          “What do you want of me?” Lucia asked.

          “I came to ask you to come here for six consecutive months, on the thirteenth day, at this same hour. I will tell you later who I am and what I want. And I shall return here again a seventh time.”

          Lucia said : “Do you come from heaven…and will I go to heaven?”

          “Yes, you’ll go.”

          “And Jacinta?”

          “As well.”

          “And Francisco?”

          “Him too, but he will have to say many rosaries”. In the end Our Lady asked: “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?”

          “Yes, we do.” said the children.

          “You will have to suffer a lot, but the grace of God will be your comfort.”

          Then She opened her hands with a loving gesture of a mother who offers Her heart. From it an intense light departed that seemed to go through them. The vision vanished telling them: “Recite the rosary every day to obtain the peace for the world and the end of the war.”

          And She disappeared.       

(Taken from http://www.theholyrosary.org/fatimaapparitions)

Lent 21 ~ Words on the Heart

Take with you words, and return to the LORD ~ Hosea 14:3

          Yesterday, in the story about St John Vianney and his mystical response to a woman whose husband had taken his own life, the saint said that the deceased had been spiritually saved because of the last prayer he had uttered: the Act of Contrition.

          For some reason, I felt I needed to give the words of that prayer to others contemplating various deaths. Not to physically send the prayer, nor to tell them to pray it. But to pray the words for them who cannot. To say the prayer on their behalf.

          To write the words of contrition on hearts that would otherwise never contemplate them.

          As ever the Doubting Thomas, I did wonder if what I was doing was right.

          But there was no time to be lost. I went ahead anyway, due to the exigency – I was saying the Act of Contrition to stop deaths by human will.

          Today, the verse from Hosea 14:3 holds my spirit as I drift by.

Take with you words, and return to the LORD

          I know it refers to my own penitence.

          But could it mean too the prayers we pray in the waters of love and mercy – which give the words of contrition to be written on dying hearts?

Lent 20 ~ Between the Parapet and the Water

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From the book, Cure Of Ars

There was a woman who told St. John Vianney that she was devastated because her husband had committed suicide. She wanted to approach the great priest but his line often lasted for hours and she could not reach him.

          She was ready to give up and in a moment of mystical insight that only a great saint can receive, John Vianney exclaimed through the crowd, “He is saved!”

          The woman was incredulous so the saint repeated, stressing each word, “I tell you he is saved. He is in Purgatory, and you must pray for him. Between the parapet of the bridge and the water he had time to make an act of contrition.”

          It is the morning after Westminster. I don’t know how many lifebooks will close this day through human will – those who don’t want others to live; those who themselves don’t want to live.

          But I am alive and living and wanting to live.

          And I want others to live as well. In this life and in the next.

          So, for the remaining hours of the day, I offer the Act of Contrition for the world. For all those contemplating ending lives – theirs or others’.

          It saved that man in the story. It will save others too.

ACT OF CONTRITION

My God,
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong
and failing to do good,
I have sinned against You
whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with Your help,
to do penance,
to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ
suffered and died for us.
In His name, my God, have mercy.

Lent 14 ~ Sigh of the Prisoner

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Let the prisoners’ sighing come before You,

with Your great power free those doomed to death. ~ Psalm 79:11

          Last year, I wrote of one of my superiors at work who has the unfortunate disposition of crushing hearts and spirits. He doesn’t do it unknowingly; he does it with cruel and calculated intent.

          I’ve been his target for the past 12 years. One day last year, he broke me finally.

          Deeply hurt, I turned to God.

          And the God I turned to turned me decidedly towards praying in mercy for this man. No retribution plea He allowed. No arm about me, no flooding of heavenly comfort into my heart either.

          The balm for my pain lay in the mercy prayer for this man’s soul.

          And so, I prayed. Of course, it didn’t come easy. Revenge can be as strong a manacle of my heart as it is for this man who hurt me. The only difference is I seldom act on it. But revenge maintained a malevolent vigil even as I forced myself to pray that this man be saved.

          I was taken through several prayers as I went from one level of healing to the next. When I first began, it was a simple yet powerful, Blood of Christ on him, Blood of Christ on me. The angels tinkled the prayer chimes every time I saw him at work. Every time he entered my thoughts. I said the prayer when my heart softened from time to time. I said it when my heart hardened in anger every time bitter memories won out.

          And after a time, I was led to the Divine Mercy Chaplet for him. By this time, there was no more inner struggle to pray for him. I didn’t have to be dragged to the prayer. I said it with some dedication too.

          And whenever I slipped in my routine, God sent me dreams of the man and his power to hurt, He allowed little nips at work too – to take me scurrying back to the Cradle of Grace, seeking life for the man.

          I have read to some extent of the immense power of prayer. It can work in ways we least expect.

          Great imagination that I have, it failed me with regards to this man. Despite all my reading and experiences on the miracles prayers can obtain, I couldn’t fathom how my puny prayers this time were going to save his soul – because he barely changed. I finally reached the point where I stopped caring about where my prayers for this man were headed, and how they were going to be answered. I was called to say them, and I did.

          I placed whatever disappointment I had in the lack of signs of conversion, in Mother Mary’s heart. And while I continued to pray for him, in this way, I moved on too.

          Then, one day at Mass, through one of the readings, I heard a voice tell me that this man could not change because the dark pride in him went back a long way; his bloodlines had been contaminated from a long time before.

          I was stupefied. What did it mean? After all my effort, this??!! God let me puzzle over this for many long weeks.

          And then, a tiny bud began to bloom. An Unseen Heart gently drew me to the Prayer of the Holy Wounds. For a reason I have no explanation for, two weeks ago, I began to determinedly place this man in Jesus’ Holy Wounds. I put him and four others in Christ’s sacred Wounds, I imagined them there, deep within, and prayed for the Blood of Christ to flood them all, cleansing every bloodline, helping each one to love God more than themselves.

          Every day, I offered that same Prayer of the Holy Wounds at the start of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Each time I prayed it, the prayer became a little less about me, and more about saving him.

          Then, at the beginning of the new week, these lines of the Responsorial Psalm caught my heart ~

Let the prisoners’ sighing come before You;
with Your great power free those doomed to death.

          At any other time, reading those words would have made me immediately see myself as that Prisoner, because I have too much of mercy for myself.

          But this time, this time was different.

          The moment I saw the words, I saw my superior’s face.

          I knew then that while I only saw him as a sneak and a bully and all things negative and unpleasant before this, in God’s compassionate gaze, this man was a prisoner.

          And by extension of that, if I held on to my negative perception of my superior – however justified it was, but without the compassion of mercy and forgiveness, – then, I was being his jailer.

          Slowly, ever so slowly, the flower of comprehension began to bloom more petals. The Prayer of the Holy Wounds was as much for me as it was for that unfortunate man.  Christ’s Sacred Wounds had freed me from being the jailer of this soul. 

          And I now know with a deep certainty that my Jesus’ Wounds will now free this man’s soul.

          As often, as deeply  and as selflessly as I continue to place this man into the Holy Wounds, this prisoner will be freed to begin to seek the only God there is.

          And the conversion will begin.