How long have I waited for October 13 of this year – 100 years after the Final Great Fatima Apparition, waited in hope of a sign that the God I knew was there was indeed there. Like every other broken being, I needed a special assurance of God. For the now. For the weave of journeys that lie ahead.
Here, rain wept into the earth from the eve, well into the deep hours of the 13th. It was like 1917 all over again and my hope deepened. I held on to this sign because inside me, I sensed a shifting, and it was going where I did not want it to go.
As I waited for a sign or a miracle of some sort, my spirit was headed towards the unpleasantly familiar numbing deadness, which no sun nor rain could rouse.
I didn’t want this numbed spirit. Not now more than ever. I wanted every bit of me to be fully alive to savour the mystical memory of October 13, 1917. I wanted to touch that day a hundred years ago with my spirit, and seal my brokenness to the hope and life that had flooded into the many souls there that great day, a hundred years before.
All day long, I clawed the air trying to keep death away from my spirit.
Sadly, so preoccupied was I trying to hold air in my hands, that I failed to keep watch over my living in the hours of the day. Keeping an eye on the grey~shrouded skies for a Fatima miracle, I let slip words and thoughts in caustic comments and snide jokes that should never find berth in any Christian soul.
Hours later, orange breezes gently danced in to sweeten the somber winds of the aging day. And to illuminate for me the rutted track along which my day had fallen.
It was then that my numbed and disappointed heart learned two sorrows.
That the miracle I had primed my waiting for was not coming that day.
And a worse one – that even had it come, I would have been found wanting, because I had sullied my garments by dipping into pools I had no business going by.
How easy it was to be distracted, to lose sight of the goal – love of God, love of neighbour. How easy it was to scan the skies for light and yet not see God in my fellow men. How easy to slip and fall, a stray thought, a joke here, an observation there.
When so many other humble souls had spent the day in Masses and Adoration and prayers to love as Mary had, in pursuing my wayward will, I had set up watch by the wrong harbor, waiting for a ship that was not meant to be.
And worse, like the bridesmaids of old, who had been waiting for the Bridegroom but failed to keep watch over their conscience, I had soiled my waiting hours in reckless speech and empty mirth.
When it dawned on me just where I had allowed myself to go, I didn’t try to evade the bite of remorse that cut deep. While the incense of Fatima must have risen hidden in a great many spirits all over the world, I sang the dirge of lament for the stain I had allowed on my soul. Will I ever, ever learn to choose silence and restraint over unnecessary chatter and empty laughter? Will I ever resolutely seek the inner cloister over social circles that have never known or will ever care to know Christ?
Will I ever learn that to see God, I must love my brethren as Christ did?
Over and over, hidden from earthly eyes, I tossed and turned over my sin.
Yet, this time, despair was not my lot. I was determined to admit my wrong at the only Knee that welcomed saint and sinner. Because I knew that only there would I find Pure love and Supreme forgiveness. Over and over, I went before the Seat of Mercy. I allowed nothing to distract me from this secret pilgrimage. As hour latticed into hour, every time the angels placed the memory of my transgression before me, my spirit knelt before the Miraculous Image.
Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me.
Suddenly, my spirit straightened to attention.
The thorn of remorse had been silently plucked from my spirit. Noiselessly, no stirring of the air did I sense.
It was gone. In a breath of a moment, I had been forgiven.