Love of God

Lent 37 ~ I Must Love

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I believe in my pain, made fruitless by selfishness, in which I see refuge.

I believe in the stinginess of my soul that seeks to take without giving.

I believe that others are good and that I must love them without fear and without ever betraying them, never seeking my own security   ~   The Creed of Pope Francis, in Pilgrimage by Mark K. Shriver

 

 

          I went to work today, armed with Pope Francis’ creed, determined to love without seeking my own heart. I fell soon enough. The invisible onslaught was too much. I forgot all about the creed but I know I fought and fought to love. And yet, I fell.

I believe in the stinginess of my soul that seeks to take without giving.

          I gave but I asked for just a bit of kindness in return, for my parched heart. It was that seeking that made me fall. It took me away from Jesus’s hidden suffering.

          His death was nearing but His apostles were distracted by tainted conversations, empty pleasures, the inflicting of pain on others. As His suffering increased, Jesus searched the crowd of consolers for my heart but alas, it was not bound to His.

          No, my heart was seeking its own comfort today.

          It is night here. Only the crickets sing. The air does not dare stir to soothe. I have only a few short hours before dawn comes once more.

          I am weary from years of struggle. But the battle is not over yet. I seal my heart in His Tabernacle. I must love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Call of Lourdes

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O my Mother, come to my aid; grant me the grace of dying to myself so I will no longer live – save in my sweet Jesus and for my Jesus.   ~   St. Bernadette Soubirous, Lourdes seer

 

 

 

 

Thrust Out

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          I go to begin another tough day and I begin with a grumble – too much work, too little time, no quiet space, I mutter to myself. It’s been raining ever so often, the capricious skies wet~greening trees with pretty rainpearls. How I love driving past sodden trees, freshened and nourished from rain baths, beautiful beyond compare.

          But I am too much in a rush to prolong Nature’s embrace. Too much work, too little time. I begin the day with a grumble.

          It comes to me that I should take my discontent to the Lord. To ask that my hours  be painted another colour. For a soft moss~bed among flowers for my weary head and heart. After all, I deserve a break as much as anyone else.

          And so I do.

          But this was God’s reply:

May we love our neighbours as ourselves,
and encourage them all to love You,
by bearing our share
in the joys and sorrows of others,
while giving offence to no one.  

~   Paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer by St. Francis of Assisi

 

          No ear for my whine. No pillow for rest. But a firm thrust to go back out unto the highways and byways.

          To gather the poor and the broken for the wedding feast, by loving them as Christ wills me to.

 

 

 

 

Lent 2 ~ Less for More

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          The slippery slope from a hurt or negativity, down into anger, is very slippery indeed. It doesn’t take much to slide all the way down into fiery and lacerating depths. In recent days, God has shown me He doesn’t even want me treading the starting rocks of this abominable descent.

          He showed me the safety hatch called Charity from the mind.

          By praying for conversion of souls at the earliest moment of hurting or at the very moment I have observed a negativity or sin, my spirit is kept away from that infernal slope. By virtue of this prayer, as my own soul is taken from harm, my brethren too are saved from plumbing the depths of other hells.

          He has shown me, in no uncertain terms, that Charity saves, and lack of Charity will kill.

          And so, I did my best to pray all manner of conversion prayers at the sight of every flare. I mostly kept off that slippery slope. But there were occasions when I went back to familiar ruts of behavior, and travelled some distance down the very path I had been warned away from.

          I got back to my feet undeterred after each fall.

          That was when I began to notice something. The moment I began to pray a Charity prayer, my prayer began to blur, and another took its place:

Help them to love God more than themselves.

          To be saved from the slopes of sin, we need to love Jesus more than ourselves, because sheep that we are, we will gravitate towards the easy pastures where sin disguises itself as verdant sustenance.

          The struggle to keep off slopes is the struggle of every Christian after the heart of God, as we learn that to love ourselves less, is to love God more.

         

BUILD AN ARK

Noah's Ark

Noah’s Ark

13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark…. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you…. two of all living creatures, …21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him. ~ Genesis 6:13-22, New International Version (NIV)

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A storm darkens and burgeons on the horizon ahead. A new storm, one whose effects will stain and wound every living soul. A storm of many dimensions. Felt by all, manifested differently, and no escape is there.

Not for those who live in the Light, nor for those who have made darkness their abode.

The grief it will bring will surpass any pain suffered hitherto. It will be a storm that will build its strength on our personal weaknesses, things kept hidden brought to light, forcing us to confront every mist and cloud we have always run away from.

The angels have sounded the Lord’s call. Soul to soul, writing His message on every door, Build an ark for the flood of souls. The call chimes and resounds in every soul ~

The young for whom the sun shines every day, nary a cloud to filter the gold of joy,

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The old and worn, thinking their life’s work over, nothing more but to wait for the summons,

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The carefree never troubled by the groans of mankind.

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Build an ark for the flood of souls, Jesus pleads. And the angels in obedience go forth

To write the call on the widow’s broken heart,

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The happy farmers in dance of joy over bountiful harvests,

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Build an ark,  Build an ark, Build an ark

Come, He calls

both young and old, wounded and healthy.

Write the blogs, sing the songs, paint the pictures.

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Comfort the hurting, wipe the tears of grief.

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Still the tempests, instruct the ignorant,

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Feed the poor, nourishment give to body and soul,

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Look up the friend, the stranger welcome.

The Word of the Lord take to each wound and shadow.

This is the time of Mercy

Build an ark for the flood of souls.

Wipe My Blood

From the time Jesus appeared to me in the dark of 1999, sometimes, like a tiny breeze weaving its way through a room, the memory of the vision would come back, and with it, the mental imprint of Our Lady wiping the Wounds of Her Son. Yet, as one year folded into the next, marked by events both happy and sorrowful, I never went beyond the memory of the visions and the release accorded to me. I was too preoccupied with my remaining, ever increasing battles to really search for the meaning to Wipe My Blood.

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In November 2010, as the aging year began to wind down, I sensed an interior longing to pray the Rosary using only the Sorrowful Mysteries. The grief held in for so long, needed an outlet. Not just any release, but a release into Heaven’s comfort. I was inexplicably drawn to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries but didn’t understand why.

Then, Mother Teresa’s Come Be My Light came into my life, and I read and read, and the light began to shy in.

Come Be My Light

Come Be My Light

One day, deep in the night hours, I sensed an awareness leaning against my soul. I put the book down and stared at the Divine Mercy picture on my wall and waited. Then, it came. An unseen finger traced the words, Wipe My Blood, on my soul again, and life was breathed into them. The words from so long ago began to throb in my soul, like a caged bird seeking release in understanding.

How, Lord? How do I wipe Thy Blood?

In response, I again felt the pressure of the words, Wipe My Blood. The images from Mother Teresa’s book swam before me. I saw the old saint and the love she took into the slums. Her struggles. Her faith. Then, I knew. Wipe My Blood was the bell chime of absolute freedom, telling me it was time to flee the confines of my childhood cage, every one of it, and to go out and love like I have never before. It was a call of Love, to love.

In a motion of light, month after month, year after year, from that day on, an unseen angel lifted the veil to places where I was to answer the call, Wipe My Blood.

I saw the children I had birthed after years of barrenness. I saw the tired, dogged determination to do what was best for them. I saw all too clearly the frustrations, the anger when things didn’t go my way. The hate for myself when I couldn’t enjoy my own wee ones. Wipe My Blood. God wanted me to love and enjoy my children. To feel the tickle of bubbles from a baby’s trumpet-lips. To enjoy the buttons that wouldn’t button over fat tummies. To lean into the paws that batted my face, telling me baby didn’t want to sleep but play. Love them, Jesus said. Love them differently from before.

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Cook for the family, He continued. Cook the way you want. So, I began to cook differently. Cooked away from the shadows of remembered recriminations. Simple things. Simple cakes. Some flat, some with so many holes I wondered how they stayed together.The patter of feet into the kitchen. Happy squeals over a favourite dish coming, eager peeking into the oven. Cook for the family. Wipe My Blood.

The call sounded again.

I sought to make my husband and children happy. I sang to them. Sang funny songs with made up lyrics. Blessed with a voice like an old fishing trawler, I am no Whitney Houston, but sang I did because it produced horrified giggles, tickled funnies. It was no longer about waiting to be happy before I made others happy. It was about stepping outside of my circle of grey, and taking the Light I didn’t feel, to where it was needed. And when my doggy-loving child begged me to sing her Patti Page’s How Much is That Doggy In The Window as I brushed her teeth,  I saw that creaking-door voice or not, He wanted me to make my baby happy, and to find happiness in that, because it meant wiping His Blood.

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And from my home, the angel led me further out. He took me to those who chose to suffer away from the gaze of others. To hold and to pray for them as they weathered the storm. To stay by their side because others had long left.

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One day, the angel had me follow him to an old path, rutted in weeds and wildflowers. I was led to write again, after long forgotten years. To find release and freedom. To ponder mysteries by writing. To read my thoughts and learn who I truly was. And then, slowly, to write to heal others. Most of my adult life, I had received letters from home. Letters that should never have been written because they left me with a blackness long after they had been crushed and thrown away. To wipe my Lord’s Blood, He wanted me to write peace, to bring others the gold of joy and giggles, because the best way to purge the past was not to paper over, or to bury it, but to set it on a standard, like Moses did with the bronze snakes in the desert, and to use it to heal others.

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As I obeyed the call, I began to heal. And slowly, I began to see glimpses of Heaven.

But Wiping My Blood was not as much about personal healing as it was about ministering to wounded-ness. There are far too many beaten and left for dead, many who mourn in the shadows.

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There are far too many tears than there are hands to wipe them away, and to tilt lips in an upwards curve of a smile. The sorrows of this earth are many, and they cannot wait till I am healed completely before they are attended to.

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My Lord calls, and with no delay or hesitation, His summons must be answered.

THIS CROSS ON OUR BACKS

We have our backs bent from carrying our crosses for a good part of our lives. Bent from carrying the crosses of others too. Bent from stoicism. Bent from sorrow.

Diego Rivera: The Flower Carrier (1935)

Diego Rivera: The Flower Carrier (1935)

But what kind of cross do we have on our backs?

“…….we have allowed distractions, self-absorption, anxiety, the endless pursuit of pleasure—in a word, worldliness—to enter our hearts. The irony is that we carry these things upon our shoulders like a cross—but it is the wrong kind of cross. The Cross of the Christian is meant to be the cross of self-denial, not self-seeking.” ~ Mark Mallet, http://www.markmallett.com/blog/rekindling-love-for-jesus

When a friend abuses our trust and friendship, when someone we trust lies about us, or cheats us of what little we have, and we are left feeling bereft and angry, do we flee to the Lord or do our feet trace a resolute path elsewhere?

Mourning

Hours of slaving over a project only to have it dismissed or caustically appraised. Years of struggle to keep a marriage going, and facing its death, nevertheless. The golden child who finds later years comfort in drugs.

What do we do?

Do we drown our sorrows in the bottle, try to discern our future in the wine dregs in our glass? Do we bow our heads in embarrassment, shame, and withdraw from society? Or paint a smile on our faces, project false cheeriness because no one needs know the depths of our loss and shock?

by Pablo Picasso

by Pablo Picasso

When the church we trust becomes something we do not recognize.

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          Do we turn our backs on her, for it is she who owes us, and there is no reason for us to try to help her? Do we ignore her wounds, inflict more, even, because we cannot accept that we are the Church, and if she bleeds, so do we, and by that token, if we bind Her wounds, we bind ours as well? Does the hurt and betrayal keep us anchored to the dark swells of fury, well away from the bleeding hand of our own body and soul begging for help?

What kind of cross do we have on our backs?

Whenever we get petulant and want some extra hours to wallow in the quicksand of our making, when dark comfort is what we seek in the welter of poison emotions, we hoist on our back a cross that is no cross. When we reject the path He has set for us, whenever we rush past His waiting form, rebuffing a love bought with blood, we choose for ourselves a yoke like no other.

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We chaff under its weight. We struggle to straighten up and move on. We bang on the doors of Heaven, and when we do not feel its give beneath the weight of our anguish, our anger explodes against God.

And yet, it’s not His Cross that we carry.

It’s not the Cross He chose for us.

Too often, we break beneath the weight of a cross we selected for ourselves when we rejected His.

But our pride and pain blind us to the truth – that for every grief that comes to us, we get to choose our cross.

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And if it’s with humility, obedience and faith that we choose His Cross, He carries it with us, for He is Love.

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GOING BEYOND THE VEIL

Lake In The Morning, NZ ~ STEFFEN SCHRAEGLE

Lake In The Morning, NZ ~ STEFFEN SCHRAEGLE

Some years ago, in the rain-drenched month of December, I heard the insistent whisper of four words that cut through the fog in my head: Go Beyond The Veil. Day and night for weeks, every single minute, and even the very second I opened my eyes from sleep, the words beat an insistent drum on my soul. Go Beyond The Veil, Go Beyond The Veil, Go Beyond The Veil.

I thought my time was up. Had He come to call me?

No, Lord, I fought back, Not now. The kids are so small, I am not ready yet. Not for another great many years.

          Go Beyond The Veil.

In a twist over the urgency of the voice and its message, I asked someone what it might mean. She said it was to go into the holy of holies, right before the Throne of God.

I recoiled inwardly because the last thing I wanted at that time, was to stand before a God who I considered harsh and unfeeling. One I had called out to so many times, begging for help, for release, but to no avail. Go to the God who gave me an exquisite joy, and yet, reached out and took that joy away?

I fled as far I could. No, No, No.

The voice then stilled.

Many a pot-holed road travelled years later, with all manner of stumbles and trip-ups and lurching into mud puddles, I am now beginning to grasp the true meaning of Go Beyond The Veil. It was not a summons to judgment or death. It was a love-invitation to part the gossamer mist that separated the gray swirls of my life, and the bloom of Light where my abode should have been. It was the Hand I had prayed for but never recognized when it came.

          Go Beyond The Veil was the call to the child within me that I never knew existed. The Hidden Child. One who peeked at the life I led, from behind curtains. Who lived in silent spaces, never intruding, quiet and in hope of release some day. So, release her I have, this year.

Where once I stumbled tiredly to the kitchen to begin each day,

The Child Once Hidden now watches the violet blue unfurling of the dawn sky;

She spends restful minutes under the shade of zinnias,

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And pauses to allow the jasmines to bless her

For many years staring, yet not seeing the blooms in the morning rays

She now bends in humble homage for the pink blush petals to bless her soul;

Rediscovered delighting in trims and trinkets

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Soul’s repose she seeks now in her Mother’s beads;

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Where once she turned away from mothers holding a child in embrace

The Child Once Hidden now laughs and giggles

Treasuring and honouring Life’s pearls and tears.

I no longer lament loss.

But neither do I welcome it, for that strength is not mine just yet.

I do not rue wasted years, for to get to where I now stand, that was the only route.

I have finally found Life in the love God blessed me with ~ the enduring and precious gift of husband and children.

I have always loved them.

But the Child Once Hidden, healed and freed, now receivesBy Jeremiah J. White

The gift of Love that was always, always there.