Love of God

Open My Inner Ear

          Last Friday, I had the alluring prospect of the afternoon to myself. After weeks of pushing myself, I was coming to the end of the work week feeling drained, so some hours to rest and let go were precious indeed.

          But then my husband came home from work in the middle of the week, fuming about a change in work plans, necessitating him to attend a long meeting in the city on Friday afternoon.

          Immediately, I found myself asking him if I could tag along. Given what the weeks had been, especially that week, I did wonder inside of me, if I was mad. Mad to forgo physical rest. Mad to endure that long drive to the city and the likelihood of traffic snarls.

          Yet, there was no doubt in my mind. I wanted to go with my husband and while he was at his meeting, I wanted to be in church. I had gone so long without being before the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus had sustained me all this while and would continue to, I knew, but this Friday, after giving so much of myself to others, I wanted to give my Jesus an offering of myself. I wanted to be before Him and to console him by my presence and the offering of my heart, however tattered it was.

          My husband readily agreed. Over the 2 days or so till Friday came, I sensed a change come over me. Something began trickling into my heart. A cool stream of some kind of water, mystical and mysterious. As it tumbled and slipped into the gullies and crevices, my tiredness and tensions yielded unprotestingly to that water. I thus came to Friday, happy and light. Happier than I had been in a long while.

          In my happiness, I told Jesus that He was not to be silent with me. It had been so long since I had been in church and I wanted Him to speak and speak to me all the hours I was before Him.

          Then I spoke of my wish,

Open my inner ear

I didn’t just want to hear things; I wanted Jesus to speak to me through the ear of my heart.

          When Friday morning came, readying for work, I felt that skip of joy inside me, and again, wondered at it. Is it because I’m coming to see You? I suddenly asked. That I chose hours in a simple seat inside a still and empty church instead of an afternoon of deserved rest?

          A tiny sprite of words formed in reply,

My little adorer

          I keeled away from the name. I did not deserve it. All I was, was a mess of a person. One who slipped and tripped and fell more often than she walked upright, clearsighted and steady of heart. Never was this more evident than this October. This October of farewells and a change to life. An October of hoping and of hopes being dashed. Of a reigniting of old fires in our marriage, nefarious fires that had no business coming back to life.

Adorer

          For close to 3 hours in church that day, over and over.

          I left church later that day, tired, but with an inner quiet missing for so long. That Friday led to 4 more incredibly hectic days. My step slowed and I laboured to get through each day.

          But that sweet, cool brook within tripped and skipped on, catching the rays of an invisible sun with every turn and bubble.

          Today, I was home on sick leave. As is my practice, I fight illness with work. Managing to put dinner together, I left the kitchen after some minutes of listening to my husband venting about a mess at work. A sudden weakness had come over me and I needed to sit down. But I also wanted to get away from my husband’s anger and frustrations over work.

          I had barely sat down and begun scrolling through the posts on a forum when it occurred to me that I was giving my time to other people instead of being with my tired husband. That thought had not fully rolled itself out when these words formed,

Carry his cross.

          They were not my thoughts. They were from somewhere else. From within me but not of me. I know it because I did not delay, trying to hedge out of what was needed. Instead, in an immediate obedience pretty much foreign to me, I went to my husband and let him know he had my ear once more.

          I knew then whose Voice it was that I was hearing, that quiet bloom of words within me. I understood the difference between the talking to I often give myself, and this other Voice. When it is from me, often there is a struggle to comply. But when it is my Master’s, it straightens my soul to willing obedience and to genuine humility.

          Open my inner ear. My prayer had been heard.

Return to the Old

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Thus says the LORD:

Stand by the earliest roads,

ask the pathways of old,

“Which is the way to good?” and walk it;

thus you will find rest for yourselves. ~   Jeremiah 6:16

 

          A set of old books which I read every year without fail would be the Anne of Green Gables series written by Lucy Maud Montgomery in the early 1900s. When times are rough, as they have been these past 12 years, each book is sometimes read twice each year – for they impart to me a deep comfort, their pages a place for my soul to rest.

          More importantly, the Anne books return me to a time in the old when life was lived as it should be.

          I always take leave of my reading moments somewhat wistfully, for returning to an unpleasant reality is never welcome return. Yet, I return in renewed strength and vigour to the calls of home and hearth. After each sojourn to the kingdom of Anne, I am a better mother and wife, my rough edges smoothened down.

So, which is the way to good? I ask

The old Anne~roads, I answer myself

Where people rose early to greet the bloom of a new day, consecrating their hearts to the God they knew and feared, yet loved. Their hours spent in hard, honest labour, busy yet not imprisoned, free to smile at heaven even in the midst of occupation. Never too caught up in doings to rest spirits in the chant of winds and merry blooms, never so overcome by hardship or hurt so as to forsake neighbour.  Their hours set to chimes of cheer, hope and faith, scented by graces received in humility and joy, each day is lived and bequeathed to God and to God alone.

Stand by the earliest roads,

ask the pathways of old,

“Which is the way to good?” and walk it;

thus you will find rest for yourselves

          God is telling me to take my family in hand and return to the days of old. To return even if echoes of derision follow us – for some may never see the wisdom of our choice. The call to return is placed in every heart, awaiting only the obedient response,

Yes, Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.