DISCERNMENT

Put Your Hand Into God’s

asphalt-1867679_960_720

          Since the passing days of Christmas, my heart has been searching for direction for my new year. My kids and their education challenges. My job, my husband’s. All the struggles pertaining to our jobs. The state of affairs in our country, the anguish and pain of the world – what is God’s will for us there?

How do I live out the days and months of this new year?

          Just after New Year, I was reading posts from other bloggers, on their Word for the Year. It got me wondering if I should give it a try too – and I did. Since my inner self has gone into complete silence once more, not a murmur from it, I availed myself of a Christian word generator.

          The first one yielded Comfort.

          The word didn’t reach out and… grab me. Quelling my slight disappointment, I thought I should shop elsewhere.

          I should have quit right there because the second one gave me wink. I’m not a winker, never have been and never will be. The only great winker in my life was my mother who always winked to let us know that she was lying to someone else, so that has pretty much coloured wink all wrong for me now. Christian word generator or not, I was quite sure God hadn’t picked out that word for me.

          Through the weave of days, past the joys of home and the upheavals of other lands, I kept prodding God,

What do You ask of me?

          Because I’m not the cruise-to-nowhere sort. I’d rather not be surprised. Cresting the hills of life, more often than not, I’ve come to things I’d rather not have journeyed towards. My idea of bravely accepting the unknown now is learning as much about what lies ahead as is willed so that I can condition and prepare myself for it. And that is why I trouble God an awful lot.

What do You ask of me?

          Today, I think I have my word for the year. It has come through a beautiful poem I learned about through an equally beautiful blog, It’s a Beautiful Life.

The Gate of the Year

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

 

Put your hand into the Hand of God.

          My word is trust. Hardly the earth-shaking revelation I was hoping for. A sigh escapes me – because I was hoping for some quick changes, good changes. Just enough to lift my spirit and spur my steps forwards. Trust intimates that the journey winds on for me, that what is in store may not be what I am hoping for – even if it is what is best for me.

          As I give myself a little shake to chin up and stand up, I spy something I missed earlier. The title of the post that mentioned the poem, The Gate of the Year. The post was titled: The New Year: Comfort Food for the Soul.

          Comfort. The first word I drew for 2021.

          Funnily, just like that, all the grey around Trust misted away. I felt the word dust a wee spot in my heart and settle in for the ride.

          As I gazed at this change in me, I almost felt Someone wink at me.

Lord of Sea and Sky

abendstimmung-4315445_960_720

          In the dark of the New Year morn, I awakened to an unseen voice sing this line within me,

I the Lord of sea and sky…

          There was unmistakable power in that still voice. Someone was asserting His power. Yet, there was no hint of pride nor of triumph. No smile of joy either. Instead, I sensed something else.

Seriousness.

And intent.

          Whenever I have such an experience, I trace the rest of the words of the song or hymn sung to me, to discern God’s will for me. And so, I did this time too.

          But the rest of the lyrics didn’t stir my spirit. Puzzled, I went back to the beginning.

I the Lord of sea and sky…

Again, that quiet power.

          Then, I became aware of the heavy rain pouring down outside. An unexpected change in the weather.

          Travelling to New Year Mass a little later, the rain almost blinding, we saw that little rivers had burst their banks, flooding the low-lying lands framing the highway. It had been happy and sunny just a week back on Christmas Day. How quickly things had changed.

I the Lord of sea and sky

          I pondered those words as we came upon damage to the road we were on. A portion to the side had given way, wrecked by the force of water from rain. The tiny, benign rivulet beside it was now a rushing, churning body of water. There hadn’t been much rain since last week so the speed at which the road had degraded was startling.

          It was a beautiful Mass and after that, more lovely hours followed. I treated myself to a new lippie and then, it was to the bookstore for books and stuff. We got everything we needed there quickly yet gently. Laughing and joking, we went off for lunch. Again, it was a simple yet happy time, the delicious food the icing on a sweet and tender day.

          It was then that one of our kids reminded us of a stop at an Apple store we had planned previously. I couldn’t believe how that had slipped our mind; we had talked so much about it before this. But there was nothing to be done now. We didn’t relish navigating city traffic back to that store. Besides, the weather wasn’t good, and we were a long way from home.

          Still in good cheer, we laughed off the missed stop and began the return journey home.

          Within an hour, the fast-moving traffic on the highway home had suddenly slowed. We discovered why soon enough: a big sinkhole had developed on the opposite side of the damage we had sighted earlier that morning. That entire section of the road was going to collapse soon. We were horrified but quickly thankful too that there was still some space available for vehicles to circumvent that damaged and dangerous portion and cross over safely. But even that bit was muddying and softening very quickly; it wasn’t going to hold out long enough. Collapse was imminent. Had we stopped at that Apple store, we would have arrived at this point hours later and be forced to make a very long detour to get home. Or get ourselves into something worse.

          Arriving at our town some time later, roadblocks were up: the highway was being closed to all northbound traffic. I felt so very sorry for those caught. It was New Year’s Day and many people needed that highway to travel to the city and out of state. I could only imagine the chaos and consternation. The rain didn’t help matters.

I the Lord of sea and sky

          Once home, I looked up the 2-week forecast. We were in for some unpleasant weather. A mad amount of rain. Wind. High waves. Sea and sky. Again, I was surprised. I had been regularly checking the forecasts and none of this had shown up before.

          Something had suddenly changed. Suddenly, I recalled something a woman had said weeks back.

The hour of change is upon us.

It hadn’t moved me then, but now I wondered if her spirit had been told something.

          Still, the weather the world over being what it is these days, nothing is certain. We might be in for crazy weather; we might not. In my country, at least, gone are the days when our hours generally obey forecasts.

I the Lord of sea and sky

          It’s unclear why God chose today to remind me of His sovereignty over sea and sky – the heavens and water. In my present state of peace and deep inner joy now, I am in a place I never want to leave. I am content to be here, content to rest and plumb the depths of quiet joy.

          I am not quite ready for anything else. But the still voice roused me this morning to tell me that something is ahead. Something of sky and of sea. And I need to be ready. Whether it is in prayer or preparation, be it earth shaking or even something as simple as stocking up on essentials a little more to tide us over uncertainties.

          My heart burrows deeper into its blanket of peace. Happy yet alert.

 

Go Tell Everyone

graylag-4678297_960_720

He sent me to give good news to the poor
Tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more
Tell blind people that they can see,
And set the downtrodden free
And go tell everyone
The news that the kingdom of God has come

And go tell everyone
The news that God’s kingdom has come

          In the weeks leading up to the US elections and during election week itself, a lone eagle circled our skies, calling and crying. The eagle is a personal sign for me, as is the kingfisher. When I hear the eagle’s call, just as when I hear the kingfisher’s, I turn away from the world and pay attention.

          But other than the piercing call of the eagle, I hadn’t really heard the other birds for some time. I wasn’t sure if they had all fled somewhere or if I had been too deeply buried in work to hear them. I mentioned as much to my dear Linda Raha, who replied in her gentle wisdom, It is in moments of quietude that we find ourselves again.

          It hadn’t been very quiet in my part of the world for some time now.

          Then, came last Thursday, and a gentle light shone its love into my heart. A 4 day break was coming up and I knew I needed to live it differently if I wanted to hear birdsongs with my inner ear again.

          We had to drive into the city on Friday. Since we live far away, I always try to make the most out of such trips. Often, things go reasonably well. Yet, there are times when I pack way too much into the day, and we come to the end of such days feeling none the better for it.

          With Thursday’s illumination, came a firmness to my will to not squander the day by over-planning. Instead, I made only one plan and lived the rest of the Friday hours in serenity. Its gift to me that night was an unusually still and calm spirit.

          I awakened on Saturday morning not to birdsong, but to the strains of an old hymn I’d long forgotten. It had been ever so long since my angel had sung me a hymn to greet my awakening. But unmistakably, I heard him now. From somewhere deep within me came,

He sent me to give good news to the poor
Tell prisoners that they are prisoners no more
Tell blind people that they can see,
And set the downtrodden free
And go tell everyone
The news that the kingdom of God has come

          Wide awake and fully alert now, I traced the lines of that chorus with my heart, seeking the part God had willed for me, What do You want me to know, Lord?

          In a swift and gentle reply, He said,

Go tell everyone
The news that God’s kingdom has come

Carry the Cross, Not You

extreme-poverty-free-life-dirt-road-woman-carrying-bundle-on-head-473967115-900x506

Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it.   ~  St. Philip Neri

          Just as dusk was falling today, I sensed a familiar but unwelcome shrivelling up within me. It didn’t come on the heels of frustration or tiredness or boredom. It wasn’t due to overwork or a lack of sleep. It came after days of beautiful blue skies and fat, white cloud boats. After a sudden orange~black darkening of evening farewells, running thrills through me. After the skies tipped over the blessings they had hidden in their bosoms all day, washing the earth clean and fresh.

          After so many happy, daisy~days, comes this old path, its emergence as always, unheralded, as always, unwelcome. Bitterly dry, with nary a water drop to wet even a morsel of the unyielding earth.

          It comes in the later hours of a Sunday lived in a new way today, for upon my morning rising, I had tasked my angel,

Take my soul to every Tabernacle where it is needed.

Place my soul before the Eucharistic Face of Jesus.

 

So that on a Sunday where the sacrifice of the Mass is yet again denied us, He is not left alone.

          And then, I had skipped to my waiting day. Flowers on the altar, marigolds and zinnias after ever so long. Mass on tv. A happy lunch. A little work. Good rest.

          A day so right, lived seemingly right too. And yet, here it was, that old of olds, an inner state that felt like the dull brown-red of the streets of purgatory I’d seen almost 2 years ago in a dream.

Drynesses of spirit and devotion

          Oh, any cross but this, my heart gets ready to grumble.

          But again, St. Philip Neri beats me to it.

As a rule, people who aim at a spiritual life begin with the sweet and afterward pass on to the bitter. So now, away with all tepidity, off with that mask of yours, carry your cross, don’t leave it to carry you.

          Despite it all, I have to chuckle. Carry your cross. Don’t leave it to carry you.

          Oh, the wisdom of God!

 

 

 

 

 

Return to the Garden

Anemone Coronaria, Flower of Israel

May He teach you what He desires of you, and may He give you the strength to accomplish it perfectly! If I am not mistaken, this, in a few words, is what I think He chiefly requires of you: He wishes that you should learn to live without support – without a friend – and without satisfaction. In proportion as you ponder these words, He will help you to understand them.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

 

          On Wednesday last week, longstanding issues resurrected themselves at home. Deeply hurt and frustrated that even the beauty of time with family and nature couldn’t resolve old habits, I took my heart and placed it in the Sacred Heart of Jesus – because left within me, my heart was sure to fall into the depths of anger and unforgiveness.

          Then, I threw myself at the feet of heaven, asking for guidance.

          Its answer came from the mother~heart of St. Margaret Mary.

May He teach you what He desires of you, and may He give you the strength to accomplish it perfectly!

          Stunned somewhat, I realised this unpleasantness was willed.

He wishes that you should learn to live without support – without a friend – and without satisfaction.

          That broke my heart into pieces, for loneliness and aloneness due to being misunderstood and maligned, has been my cross for a great many years. To see now that even that was willed, was just too much.

          Upon praying to St. Anne and to my guardian angel to keep my tears, within a few short hours, they brought me Jesus’ words,

Love as I have loved you.

          And with that, I resolved to get up and start all over again.

          But even as I went to my day and busied myself in the depths of a beautiful, sunny blue day, I wondered about St. Margaret Mary’s last words,

In proportion as you ponder these words, He will help you to understand them.

           Those words remained before me in the weave of gentle wind brushed hours. Curious as to what St. Margaret Mary meant, I went in search of her, and this I found,

Every night between Thursday and Friday I will make thee share in the mortal sadness which I was pleased to feel in the Garden of Olives, and this sadness, without thy being able to understand it, shall reduce thee to a kind of agony harder to endure than death itself. And in order to bear Me company in the humble prayer that I then offered to My Father, in the midst of my anguish, thou shalt rise between eleven o’clock and midnight, and remain prostrate with Me for an hour, not only to appease the divine anger by begging mercy for sinners, but also to mitigate in some way the bitterness which I felt at that time on finding Myself abandoned by my Apostles,…   ~  Jesus’ words to St. Margaret Mary

 

I will make thee share

Garden of Olives

Without thy being able to understand it

Agony harder to endure than death itself

Mitigate the bitterness

Finding myself abandoned by My Apostles

 

          There is only one hurt worse than all others for me and that is the hurt caused by the family I love beyond all else. And of the many hurts to be endured in a family, it is the hurt of being cast aside in favour of professional work, which cuts deepest. It is not the childish and narcissistic petulance about wanting to always be first in your spouse’s heart. Rather, it is the pain of knowing that whenever it comes to a choice between passion for work and staying close to your spouse’s heart, work has always won.

It is a hurt that falls within the shadow of the Abandonment in Gethsemane.

          Despite knowing what Jesus has to soon face, the Apostles – those closest to His Heart – chose the less troubling option of indifference. They chose the appeasement of slumber.

They choose themselves over Jesus.

          In a marriage, in family life, when we choose ourselves over even the littlest wills of heaven, we once again become the apostles in Gethsemane – because we choose what we want, we choose what stimulates and excites and what drives us. While marriage and family life is every happy and joyful tale we hear, it is also filled with heartaches, struggles and stretches of mundanity. Yet, these are the crosses God weaves into our lives to enable us to walk in His Son’s footsteps – for that is the only road to heaven.

It is the only path to Life.

          By willfully and defiantly choosing external lures and satisfactions, we choose the side of the apostles in Gethsemane. In choosing worldly consolations, we choose another path. We delude by comforting ourselves that this too is just another road that leads to Life.

          But it isn’t and doesn’t. Because that path bears not the footprints of Jesus.

          Despite the resurgence of old cheer within me, a note of sadness has stolen into the glorias of the winds and the sun. No matter how happy I am, there will be many more returns to the Garden of Olives.

          For Jesus has made it clear in His last words for the day. He needs my suffering to

Mitigate the bitterness I felt on finding myself abandoned by My Apostles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 33 ~ Step Into the Breach

merlin_170546439_78a72534-5d83-4de0-ab43-ce1424282099-mobileMasterAt3x

Yesterday a woman from Crema phoned me to get news about her grandmother who is hospitalized and in serious conditions at the Sacco. She told me of her other grandmother, who died of Covid, and of her mother, who is in intensive care in Crema, and then she said, “You see, Doctor, at the beginning I was praying, but now I’ve stopped.”

I answered, “I understand, ma’am. Do not worry. I will be the one praying for her.”   ~  Dr. Amedeo Capetti, A Letter from the Trenches, Luigi Sacco Hospital, Milan

 

 

          An insistent whisper beats against my heart,

Step into the breach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 27 ~ The Sign is Given

  ocean-828774_960_720

          I was roused from sleep early this morning with the words,

… will die from this

          ‘This’ referred to Covid-19. And I was told the family member who would succumb to it.

          Then, I was taken back to an old dream of 2016, of a white map in the sky, pointing to a time of coming terror. In that dream, my gaze was directed to 3 continents in succession. Not together. I saw them one after the other.

First – Africa

Second – Europe

Third – Asia

          Almost a year later, in 2017, another series of events on a single day. And through them, I was made aware of the need to consecrate the world to Jesus – through Mother Mary.

Mary the Gate

          Several times, I brought up this dream of the white map to some people dear to me. Together we tried to make sense of it. Each interpretation made complete sense. Yet, I was always left feeling that our views were not quite on the mark; that there was something more.

          Yet another year later, in 2018, suddenly the mists parted a little.

Africa. Europe. Asia.

wasn’t referring to continents specifically. It was pointing to 3 consecutive years.

2017. 2018. 2019.

          3 years before the explosion of events, leading to the Covid-19 pandemic in the 4th year.

          In the dream of the map, everything had been covered in white. I sensed it meant something but didn’t know what it signified at the time of the dream. In 2018, interiorly I understood that it referred to a coming winter. Sure enough, soon winter began to appear at unexpected times and in unexpected ways, in Nature as well as metaphorically.

But this morning, I finally saw what that white of winter actually meant. It was the time of being indoors as one would in the winter. And that winter was this pandemic. A winter being experienced by every country on God’s earth.

          One by one, slowly things were revealed and illumined this morning.

The death

The map

          And finally, When Communism comes again. This prophesy was given to a seer of the Garabandal apparitions which began in 1961 in Spain.

When Communism comes again, everything will begin to happen.   ~  Conchita Gonzalez

          When Communism comes again, it will be the marker indicating the time we have been alerted to in many different ways. A time of sorrow. A time of revelation. Of unmasking. There are several predictions about this time when the unimaginable begins to happen, and I concurred with at least one.

          But what was conveyed to me in the dark pre-dawn hours of this morning was that the marker of Communism coming again is Covid-19, originally named the Wuhan virus, after the city of Wuhan in Communist China. Where it all began.

Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!   ~  Isaiah 7: 10 – 11

          I asked for a sign on the Feast of the Annunciation yesterday. Covid-19 is that sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 10 ~ Language of God

7489697056_da4dcc7c49_b

When doubts come, dismiss them. Know that I speak to you in a language drawn from your own experience and from the resources of your own imagination and mind. The message nonetheless is Mine. It is I who am communicating with you in this way to hold you fast in My divine friendship, and to draw you into the sanctuary of My Heart, there to worship and glorify with Me the Father Who is the Source of all heaven’s gifts.   ~  In Sinu Jesu, When Heart Speaks to Heart

 

          There were countless times last year when I thought I was going mad from some thoughts in my head. They weren’t arrows of attack; they were thoughts so contrary to the reality we were facing at that time. Thoughts of miracles. Im-possiblities. Despite depressing developments, the never ending twine of bad news, these thoughts would make their way across my mind like some out-of-this world train, carrying dreams and hopes untainted by the present.

          For the longest time, I feared that it was escapism, that I was running to this secret world of sprite winds and golden blue sunrises to escape the reality of the present. I feared that when the time came, that moment of immutable truth, I would crash harder, the landing made rougher by these thoughts.

          But twice in recent months, just as I attempted to rein myself in, a little finger had pushed these lines towards my heart,

When doubts come, dismiss them.

Know that I speak to you in a language drawn from your own experience and from the resources of your own imagination and mind.

The message nonetheless is Mine. It is I who am communicating with you…

 

          As yesterday’s silver~gold stream spills joy into my today, I know those thoughts were truly, truly my God’s, speaking to me in the only tongue I’d understand.

          The language of my own life and of my knowing.