ENDTIMES

Lent 2 ~ A Coming Land

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If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God,
loving Him, and walking in His ways,
and keeping His commandments, statutes and decrees,
the LORD, your God,
will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy. ~
   Deuteronomy 30: 16

          There’s something about the times we are in. Susan Skinner of Veil of Veronica wrote about the widely held belief that we are in the end times. She explains simply and clearly why we have not yet arrived. We have a long way to go yet.

          I too believe that the end of the world is not upon us, but that we are coming to the end of something. The violence of the hours so many of us encounter each day speaks to this belief. However bad it was before, these recent years have been far worse. The pain, the frenzy, the struggles.

          The confusion.

          But there’s been something else too, alongside the darkness and drought: wellsprings of hidden graces, surprise oases in the interminable stretches of deserts.

          This year, someone has leading me more often and more quickly to these oases. Now, no matter how much I get torn up, I come upon these hidden healing springs quicker than ever.

          The pessimistic coward in me fears that this too will some day come to an end, that one day I’ll go looking and not find another spring such as this because good times never seem to last for me, why should now be any different?

          Yet, every time fear tries to flavor my time by these springs of hope and healing, I find myself resisting its old claws. Bible verses and parables come to mind, words spoken by prophets and soldiers of this earth gird my faltering steps in strength. And so, I resist fear.

If you obey

the Lord your God

will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy.

 

          I’ve lived for too long in the shadow of fear. It’s time to find another address.

 

 

 

The End is at Hand

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          Three days ago, reading, I began to feel the waves reach over my head. That is often a sign for me to step back and away, and to let the word that matters settle gently over my spirit. And so I did, and it was this:

You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power. Reject them!   ~   2 Tim 3, 1-5

          It pertained directly to a present suffering. Love those who hurt me, pray for them, suffer for them even.

          But reject them. Because they choose to love themselves more than God.

          It confirmed the dawning realization that the time to be the friend that I was to these people was over. They had seen what they needed to see. They had heard the Good News. Then they came to the crossroads and they made their decision.

They did not chose Life.

Hence, it was time for me to move on.

          This time, in spite of myself, I could sense that my once wavering will had set in stone. Like Lot must have felt that day he fled Sodom, I knew that, spiritually, there was nothing to linger behind for anymore. Physically, I would remain in the same place, but my work among some people was done; it was time for me to move on spiritually and emotionally from these few.

          There is grief in some farewells, and there was to be in mine. Heaven readied the urn to receive the ashes of my sadness,

Heart of Jesus
Heart of Jesus, Victim of charity,

make me a living sacrifice to Thee,

holy, and pleasing unto God.

          Every time the sadness returned when I recalled old happy moments with these ones who chose to turn back like Lot’s wife, I felt the angels nudge the prayer back before my eyes.

Heart of Jesus, Victim of charity,

make me a living sacrifice to Thee,

holy, and pleasing unto God.

          What if I too turn back? I wondered uneasily. What if the lure of old roots of rot be too strong for me? What if the longing for a friendship be stronger than my love for God?          

          St. Margaret Mary Alacoque replied for Heaven:

          Having once made an entire donation of ourselves, let us not retract it: our Lord will employ every means to sanctify us, in proportion as we make use of every opportunity to glorify Him. 

          Again, I sensed a subtle strengthening of my will.

          On the First Friday of the month, offering my Atonement Rosary, I felt a strange piercing of my heart, as if something had passed through it, and then a momentary weakness. It felt almost physical. And yet, it wasn’t. As I straightened up in internal readiness, my eyes fell upon the First Reading, 1 Peter 4: 7-13 ~

Beloved, the end of all things is at hand. Therefore be serious and sober-minded
so that you will be able to pray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LENT 18 ~ A COMING

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          Since the dream of coming waters, I have been mulling the call I heard: Prepare . As the dream showed an impending trauma for my town and community, I often wondered what kind of a preparation I was being called to. Spiritual, certainly, but physical? Probably, but to what extent? Although it should have been pretty obvious, it wasn’t to me. For some reason, every time my mind traced the word, Prepare , I sensed a veil mist over the word.

          And I wondered why.

          I had been slowly working my way through St Faustina’s Diary – Divine Mercy in My Soul, reading a page or two every day. Every single time I opened the book to read, there would be an answer to a question I would have been thinking about just before. It has happened every single time.

          And Sunday was no different. I accompanied my husband on a quick grocery errand late that evening, but opted to stay in the car to keep out of his way as he scuttled around in the mart. My thoughts dwelling on the word, Prepare, and praying for lost and dying souls, I opened the Diary to entry #625:

          In the evening, when I was praying, the Mother of God told me, Your lives must be like mine: quiet and hidden, in unceasing union with God, pleading for humanity and preparing the world for the second coming of God. ~ St Faustina, Diary, #625

          Preparing. It seared through me. Caught my spirit. I tried to read on but something held my eyes focused on the entry.

          Only then did I see the words I’d just read: For the second coming of God .

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          I thought of the dream again. A coming sorrow. A terrible fear for some, resulting in panic, minds closed to reasoning. Reacting to the fear by fleeing to seek refuge in structures built on sand.

          Prepare them for the second coming of God.

THE WINDS HAVE STILLED

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          Time rushing past. Days filled to the brim. Lists, lists, lists. Tasks accomplished and unaccomplished. Much done, much to do. A whirlwind of activities. 

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          Black headlines. Bleakness. Fear. Loss before its time. Grief, streams of sorrow. Betrayals of loves we thought we knew. Raging winds, storms all around us. Dreams crushed, hopes dashed, trust decimated. 

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          And yet, deep inside, in a secret place hidden within, the winds have stilled. No curious breezes, no storm, no wind wild. The guardians of our soul know something we don’t – the season is ripe. Wind chimes of angels tinkle, bidding us to slow our stride and pause our rush, for the season is ripe.

         

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          Hold close the Rose Beads, ponder the Truth. Gather the children, spread the mantle of prayer. Love the erring, seek the lost, no soul left behind.

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           The winds have stilled. The angels know. The season is ripe.

MERCY MERCY MERCY

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          An odd stilling within me. Something has changed. No Word, no sensing, no wisp of old hymn flitting by. All of a sudden, unable to discern the signposts that mark the way ahead. Days and days go by. The inner hush remains.

Where do I go?

What do I do?

Silence in reply.

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          Then, after ever so long, from deep within I hear a line from an old hymn. I cannot recall much of the hymn but one word quietly pulses with life:

MERCY

          A common enough word these days. The Jubilee Year of Mercy. Mercy for the Holy Souls in November. Reminders of mercy from the pulpits around the world.

          And yet, this morning, borne on unseen wings, it came to me with a new firmness that could not be shrugged off. It brought with it a frisson of unease. After long days of not sensing anything, I felt something gathering on the horizon. Not here yet, but coming. Coming with a certainty. Mercy. I turned it over in my head. Then, it became clear.

Seek My Mercy

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          I was stunned. I thought I had that covered – in my daily prayers, my sins were never hidden. In recent trials, my weaknesses were highlighted anew, but hadn’t I fought with the breastplate and armour of God? Had I not plunged myself and my failings into the depth of His Wounds? Did He not answer my brokenness in the calm and miracle that ensued? Seek Mercy? So soon?

          A heaviness and a sense of urgency descended.  A growing wordless clamour beat against my heart. Now. Seek My Mercy Now. I went out into the cold, gray morning to gather the jasmine blooms from the laden bush for the altar bowl. As I picked a tiny flower, I clumsily launched into prayer. I beg Your Mercy for all my sins…. The next white bloom…My quickness to anger… the readiness to fume… Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.

          A heaven-willed prayer gently slipped into place.

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          For every sin I mentioned, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. Standing upright, yet, my whole being bent into a repentance bow.

My reluctance to yield….Mercy, Mercy, Mercy….

          Bloom after dew wet bloom tumbled into the clear bowl…sin after sin, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy...

faded-flower-colors1[1]          In the deep wet grass, filling my flower bowl, seen to no one, I slipped into the past. Days of youth long gone by. Transgressions from a time almost misted over in memory. Stony faced but grieving inside, one by one I named my sins. Bloom after bloom. Mercy….Mercy….Mercy.

          All the pearls picked, the clock beckoned.

          No answering peace, no pat on the head.

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          Something in the distance. Not here yet, but coming. Coming with a certainty.