Easter Joy

Lent 40 ~ Victory

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          Short weeks before the Passion Week, St. James came before me. I had learned some years before, that whenever he comes, it will mean, Prepare for Battle.

          I didn’t get into a panic this time, but I went into alert mode.

          There were indeed many spiritual skirmishes, but I came through with few bruises. And I thought that was that. Even when the Passion Week loomed and the warning, Prepare, sounded again, I didn’t see the shadow take form before me.

          When it did hit – in the form of physical suffering that brought on fear and worry and distraction, I slipped and struggled to regain my footing. Of all the battles I had imagined, this one caught me off guard. From Holy Thursday right up to Good Friday, I struggled to hold on to my faith. I struggled to console my Crucified Lord.

          Easter Vigil morn brought some relief. Gulping in air, I hoped the worst was behind me. Yet, I held on tightly to the 2 saints who had kept vigil with me in my struggle – St. Anne and St. Gianna Molla. Something told me it was far from over.

          I was right. Travelling to Easter Vigil Mass, I was dragged down once more. Fighting fear and weakening of faith, I suddenly remembered the light that came to me on Good Friday.

Place your sufferings into the Wounds of Christ

          I lunged for it. Over and over and over again, every time the pain and discomfort took hold of me, I sank my sufferings into Christ’s Wounds. I didn’t try to pretend faith. I told St. Anne and St. Gianna that I was slipping. I begged them to not let go of me.

          Towards night, before Mass, I finally emerged from that battle.

          I offered thanksgiving to heaven.

          And wondered why I wasn’t flooded with more relief.

          That was answered soon enough. The moment I stepped into church, as it began to fill up, I was hit again.

          The hammer that struck this time was different. In some ways, it was far worse than what I had endured the whole week. Every time I tried to immerse myself into the prayers, I was hit from every single direction.

          I was hit so that I would not pray.

          I tried to fight back but even I could tell my attempts were weak. My blows were soft against the unyielding iron of evil.

          Suddenly, before me, misted these words again,

Place your sufferings into the Wounds of Christ

          I fled to the Wounds of Christ. Every time negative thoughts about people entered my mind, I fought back by placing the persons into the Wounds of Christ. I sensed a new courage flood me. My enemy had unmasked himself but I was no longer cowering in fear behind stones. Everything he threw at me, I did not deflect, but I reached out and grabbed and plunged into the Wounds of Christ. Over and over and over. Bring it on, I challenged as I have never before done.

          Every attack now meant more souls for Christ.

          The moment I received Holy Communion, I knew it was truly over.

          The Wounds of Christ had won.

 

 

 

 

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Lent 40 ~ Fear Not, He Is Risen

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I was with Him when He rode into town
And crowds gathered ’round Him like a king
Their smiling faces joined a sea of branches waving
Though they were masquerading in the end.

And my heart rose in my throat
When I heard them sing
Hosanna in the highest.

We went upstairs,
Broke the bread and drank the wine
From the only living vine that we would taste
And I watch them take Him up the mountainside
Where He was crucified though innocent
And they mocked Him
And cursed Him with their mouths
And told Him to come down if He was God.

And my heart broke in my chest
When I heard Him say
Forgive them, it is finished.

I remember in the garden
When He sweat like drops of blood
And how He begged the Father to let Him pass the cup
I can still feel the anguish
When they pierced Him in the side
And how the ground beneath us shook
Upon the very moment that He died.

Three days later we found an empty grave
And the stone was rolled away where He had been

Tears of joy streamed down my face
When the angel said,
Oh, fear not, He is risen
Oh, fear not, He is risen. ~ Sean Carter, Passion Song

 

GIFT FOR MY KING?

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On Good Friday, I was tired and irritable from a tough 2 weeks. With Easter only hours away, I was dissatisfied with my Lenten practices.

As we prayed the night’s Rosary, I asked Jesus dejectedly, Lord, what would You have me bring to Your Table? Dry and almost empty inside, I was to approach the Throne of God with empty hands, no gift did I have for my King.

In the early hours of Easter Vigil morn, I had a dream. I dreamed of people and situations somewhat similar to what my husband and I were facing now, that which was bringing us much frustrations. But unlike our actual reactions, in the dream, we did not lose our calm. There was a serenity as we faced each situation, even a cheer, although deeply cognizant of the wrong present in those situations. We took the wrong in our stride; we did not fall by the side.

In the dream, we were a people of hope, in careful and obedient tracing of the path of Jesus.

Very unlike reality– we were frustrated, hurting and struggling.

The dream continued. When the slideshow of sorts ended, I found myself back in my bedroom, lying back on the pillows. The room was dark. All of a sudden, a big ball of bright white light appeared high before me. I felt myself being lifted towards the light.

I had no fear.

But an immediate prayer escaped on my breath: Jesus, take care of my family!

Immediately, I was lowered gently back onto my pillows.

I awoke from my sleep later, still tired but not drained. I began my day with prayers and reflection, calm and purposeful, unlike the usual distracted state I am in usually. Work got done with nary a hint of carping. Home got a good cleaning, fresh sheets for the beds, kids’ clothes all ironed, laundry done.

But the White Light stayed before me. In every chore done, I saw that light. I felt being lifted up. I felt the soft sheets beneath me again.

I pondered. I questioned.

No Word from my Lord, yet.

My life – the various tensions, the beauty of domesticities, – are they the gifts He asks of me?

Do I seek to give Him what I think is right, but not what He actually wants of me?

Does He instead want the mundane and the blighted hopes, the struggles and thwarted good intentions?

Does He wish for His gift my climb up Calvary, my stumbles and missteps, the bruises and tears?

Did my Lord come to me in that bright white Light, lifting me to Him to ask that I gift Him with myself?

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