MIRACLES

He Will Not Refuse You

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I advise you to have recourse to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, if you want to conquer your enemies and obtain the strength and consolation you need; He will not refuse you this help, if you ask it of Him.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

 

          Covid-19 cases continue their surge in my country and I am once again under home quarantine due to 2 close contacts testing positive.

          Last week, as I was being swabbed together with 80 plus others from my workplace, a team leader posted a message saying that our additional work assignment under her was to continue. That unnecessary assignment required us to return to work after formal hours and to work in cramped rooms with little regard for social distancing. Of course, being under mandatory home quarantine, I needn’t have worried about it. But her posting angered me. Since there were so many of us involved in this latest cluster, we were all being swabbed in the community centre in our place of work. Photos of the event were posted on our work groups. Those being swabbed were beset by frustration, anger and worry. Nobody, absolutely no one, could claim ignorance of what was happening.

          And yet, this woman chose to turn her back and her heart against our collective pain and worry, and to insist that her programme continue. I decided enough was enough.     

          There’s one thing that singles out narcissists like this particular team leader: their fear of ridicule or a public put down and the like. In any dispute, I’ve always gone one-on-one and in private. But this time called for something different. Since the woman had put her announcement out in the open, so to speak, I decided I’d meet her there. I felt I had to make a stand once and for all and I had to let others know what I was doing. So, I posted my own reply notice saying I was pulling out of her programme as long as Covid remained an issue and especially due to the fact that we were now already seeing more and more close contacts test positive for the illness.

          As far as words go, mine appeared to be like bubbles, small and ineffective. But no public slight is small enough for a narcissist. She went completely, uncharacteristically silent. Soon, 2 other voices joined in, urging her to scrap the programme. I expected more to join the chorus of protests but it stopped at 2. Of course, behind the scenes there was plenty of bitter noise but none of that mattered as it didn’t fall on the ears which needed to hear it most.

          Strangely, despite doing something so out-of-character, I was untroubled, my mind clear, my heart calm. More than that, I was glad I didn’t trouble myself to try and save others who couldn’t be bothered to help themselves.

          Close to midnight that day, a directive came from higher up, effectively cancelling the programme. I had deepened the lines of enmity between that woman and myself but at least, we had some respite now.

          Still, for how long?

          In the days since then, I’ve been reflecting. There have been times before when this woman has successfully forged ahead with her ridiculous plans. There have also been a few clear occasions when she has been unexpectedly thwarted. By and large, it has been disruptive and frustrating. This sort of turbulence is unnecessary distraction to anyone who just wants to work and especially to those who work hard and work well. During Covid uncertainty, with our daily worries about our own families, such disruptions and upsets bite deeper and harder. How much of this could I take? I wondered.

          One thing becoming more and more clear to me is that this pandemic has set into motion a massive reset. It has shown us we need to return home in deeper ways. That even as we hold down jobs and work, we need to return to some aspects of life as it was in the past – spend more time with home chores, cook more, making caring for others a priority. Create gardens, tend to vegetable plots. Watch the sun rise and set. Listen to the rains and winds, learn their songs and understand their word to us.

          Enjoy our kids. Teach our own kids. Learn how to teach our own kids.

          Learn to be silent, learn to love silence and stillness.

          In a painful way, this scourge is making us undo some of the knots we have worked into our lives.

          But some people, like my team leader, do not seem to want us to rectify the wrongs in our lives. They are resisting this reset and straining against the ropes to return to imprisonment – and insist that we too return to our prison cells. They are, in effect, willing us to believe that the prison should be our home. And there are also the many enablers who do not try to resist but instead choose the easier path of acquiescence to all that is wrong simply because it troubles them less.

          About 3 years ago, just before Covid came upon us, I had a dream of a dark, dark night. My family and I were on the darkened streets. I seemed to be leading them. Some danger was closing in on us. Then, I ran into a bamboo hut. Inside it were some of my colleagues. Desperately, I pleaded with them to leave the place, to run to safety. While they looked up and listened to me a bit, there was barely any reaction from them. Soon, they had returned to their business. 

          At that moment, we were attacked. A massive tiger was pricing and tearing apart the bamboo walls of the hut. Somehow, I managed to escape. But escaping only put me out on the dark streets again. Out in the open. In trying to go out and warn my colleagues, I had taken my family with me away from safety and now because of me, they were in danger too.

          Many times since then, I have gone back to that dream, pondering it. The message was clear: it is not my mission to save my colleagues. If I save my family and if my colleagues wish to learn from it, they are most welcome to.

          But my workmates are not my mission. My family is. This week, I learned that lesson anew.

          And as long as one chooses family, there will be forces against it. Like the woman at work who will not allow us to choose family because she won’t. She will trouble us until we admit defeat and resign ourselves to her will.

          In a moment of quiet yesterday afternoon, I sensed a tiny movement in my spirit.

         I advise you to have recourse to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, if you want to conquer your enemies and obtain the strength and consolation you need; He will not refuse you this help, if you ask it of Him. 

          I think of the many things that have happened this week. Incidents, realizations, choices and decisions. Each invisibly linked to the other, creating a little bridge across this Jordan of my life. The other side still some way off, I need a way to win this battle and reach it.

Have recourse to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

He will not refuse you this help, if you ask it of Him. 

          And so I do. And I ask big. I ask for all the miracles possible to end this battle.

 

 

Lent 34 ~ Miracle of Motherhood

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The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.   ~   Luke 1: 35 – 37

 

          From yesterday, my heart has been filled with babies. This past year, I’ve truly carried my children close to my heart. For all the times work has taken me away from them, the past 12 months have returned me to them.

          But yesterday, babies clung tighter to my heart a little more than usual.

          As always, the realization came belatedly.

Feast of the Annunciation

Feast of the Miracle of motherhood

          I have been blessed with this miracle seven times that I know of. Some of my children are here with me, my heart’s delight. Some are hidden from sight, my unseen helpers.

And one leads the way.

          For a time, I struggled to have children. I know too well that everything the world says is right can instead result in disappointment after disappointment. The sun will never rise unless God grants us His love. Many women have trouble with this comforting truth – that God determines each dawn of life, the journeys each of our children take to come to us.

          But it is true. A child comes to know our love only in God’s time.

          Today, on this day sacred to motherhood, my prayers are for a dear colleague aching to have a baby after the sorrow of miscarriage. If it be the will of my Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady, may my friend know the miracle of motherhood again. May she be one with the others I place in the Divine Hearts of Jesus and Mother Mary,

Those who sit by the window of life, waiting and waiting,

Those who returned God’s gifts because He asked.

Those who said, Not now, Lord,

Those who turned their hearts away, saying, Never.

Those who loved and who had no choice but to release their loves to others.

          Today, I consecrate each heart, of woman and baby, to the Mother Heart that knows the seasons of motherhood only too well.

          May today be the Day of Miracles.

Lent 30 ~ Milagro

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          At the Farmer’s Market yesterday, the heat stifling and sweltering, all I wanted was to get out of the sun and go home. So, my husband and I moved about quickly and got the few things we wanted.

          On our way out, we passed a small stand where fertilizer was being sold. On a quick trot and totally uninterested, my passing gaze fell upon the brand printed on the bags. Milagro. It meant nothing to me.

          Hours later, relaxed and contented, I was vacuuming the house floors, when slowly I became aware of a word being gently repeated in my head.

Milagro

Milagro

Milagro

          And with it a light. Milagro is Spanish for miracle.

Lamp of Nazareth

          Deep in the old trenches of work once more, God came today to steer my heart to His Light.

          For a long time, February had been the month of Lourdes for me, in remembrance of Our Lady of Lourdes and her apparitions there. So, through the days of February, I try to live my hours as close to Her as my fickle self possibly can. Yet, given that I am once again back in the thick, thorny thickets of work, I did wonder more than once if this work year would be any different. My two superiors were back at it again – casually loading up our schedules, blatantly defying lockdown regulations, secure in the confidence that enforcement officers would baulk at coming so far out here to the boondocks to check on us.

          Mere weeks into the new year, I am already as tired as before.

          But the start of 2021 has not been bone-dried out of its miracles for me. For the first time in such a long while, I have woken up each day and gone out to work with a little skip in my step. Despite the amount of work set before us each day, I have gone to it with much enthusiasm. This was only possible due to the Christmas miracle of joy and rest and sufficient quiet.

          Yet, my spirit yearns for more. Not so much for a reduced workload as much as for freedom from tyranny – for it is back in full force now.

          The Lord has come to me many times to say:

Tell My people how much I love them. Tell My people that they are not alone and that I am with them. Tell My people that My Holy Spirit provides power, grace and love each day of their lives. Tell them miracles are there for them every single day, but they must look for them. They must expect them; they must want to experience My love.   ~ Look for Miracles Every Day, Steve Greco, Catholic Stand 

          Since reading those words, I have been spurred to tug at God’s robes to ask for more miracles. Each time I asked for miracles, I also asked His forgiveness for the thanklessness in my heart, if anything was blinding me to the many flowers already in bloom in my life this year.

          And of course, even as I pray, I have a very clear idea of what shape and form my miracles should take. I am, as ever, ready to give God the helping hand He doesn’t need.

          Two days ago, Jesus sent His spirit to open my eyes. One of my superiors stopped by my table with an unsettling gleam in her eye and casually put forth a proposition for me to extend my already long working hours and conduct yet another programme. I don’t know whether it was because I was already up to my eyes in work at that moment or if it was due to something else – but a calm yet firm refusal immediately sprang to my lips even before I could think up counter arguments. What I could see of her face above her mask tightened, obviously angered that I had dared to defy and refuse and she quickly moved on to seek support elsewhere.

          Coming home after work, I slumped to the floor, very, very tired. Dinner needed to be cooked, the younger kids needed help with studies and the house needed some cleaning. The birds were noisily chirping their evening farewells as they lifted into skies painted in swells of pink and tangerine. Even as I heard them, their songs I could not seek. There was no time to rest; yet, it was also too difficult to get up and to get going.

          Suddenly, an unseen hand pushed to memory a dream I had of this same woman last year. Of her entering my bedroom and stealing my rest. It was then that I realised that this superior needed to be fought off.

          And that Someone had done it for me that day.

Miracle

          But that superior is never one to take a rebuff well, and too soon, I was slightly beset with anxiousness about what traps she’d lay out for me next.

          Nonetheless, God was already ahead. The next day brought a bout of energy and a slice of wily wisdom. Covid came a little too close and some colleagues had to give up their work time. With some maneuvering, I could take on a bit more, freeing me from the need for extended hours. That put me out of the crosshairs of that woman.

Another little miracle.

          Then came the next miracle. Due to a colleague coming down with Covid, we came under the very scrutiny my boss was hoping to evade. He was then forced to allow us to work on a schedule that blended on-site work with working from home. That gave me 2 beautiful days of working from the peace and quiet of my little nest.

          Today was my first day of working from home and it filled me with tufts of early spring sweetness. Despite being up till past 1 a.m. working on reports and plans, I rose early in glee of being home. It was into this rising dawn within me that God told me something that I had not known before.

That the month of February was also dedicated to the Holy Family.

          And with that, God gently lit the Lamp whose light I was to follow. In my fears over work-related reprisals and doubts over the validity of my resistance, when guilt shadows me, whispering I must do more, more, more, my heart must flee to Nazareth. Into the hearts of Three who lived hard days within the untroubled sweetness of the Divine Will.

          Today, as every little feathered friend sought the dawn sun hidden within fleecy skies, He taught me once more that even as others seek to set their yoke upon me, my heart must be resolutely illumined by the Lamp of Nazareth.

          In the quiet of its humility, courage and obedience, lived unwaveringly by a Mother, a Father and a Son.

We Leave Thee

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          There is a temptation to write off and stuff this old year into an invisible drawer never to be opened again. But I cannot yield to it, for despite the darkness and the stress endured, there has been much beauty in this mottled, troubled year.

          There is no way I can turn my heart away from His gifts to us because God gave us so much. So very much. He softened the difficulty of studying and working online from home through the consolation of good health and of our jobs being intact at a time when so many lost their livelihoods, when so many fell ill and too many did not return to life. Yes, like so many, we struggled to make adjustments to stay home orders and to unfair and poorly thought out government directives. But He buoyed us on with hope through happy news concerning our children. At the end of each day, we stumbled away from our laptops and phones, mentally drained from work, upset and frustrated with our employers, little wine left in our barrels.

          And God changed water into wine through the miraculous renewal of our family life. He taught us how to lock our gates against trespassers and instead, to turn the gaze of our hearts towards the gem of family, of time spent together.

God gifted us with laughter. Precious laughter.

This year, for every day of anger and hurt, there were ten times more of mirth and joy.

          Then, the sky of Advent dawned quietly in the frenzied churn of life. For years, the road to Christmas has been dark for me. Even when the sun began to slowly pierce the winter, the cold and dark hovered too close by. Even as I built fires for everyone else, my own hearth remained unlit.

The light would not come.

          Year after year, I would ache in hidden disappointment that God had passed me by yet again, my outstretched heart left empty, my seeking bereft.

          This year, not wanting to hope for a miracle (yet going ahead and hoping all the same), I took to heart the words of my friend, Linda Raha, – Make every day Christmas. I decided then and there that my Christmas would be that.

That the Light of Christmas in my hearth would be the Light of Christmas let in for others.

          That I would stand by the windows of other hearts and rejoice as the sacred Light of a newborn Babe warmed and healed those spaces. That even when I had to return to my own empty and wind-chilled heart, it would only be to resolutely light and stoke to life fires of thanksgiving and gratitude.

          And not forgetting – to gather up more wood to make more Christmas fires for others. Prayers for friends braving so many unsurmountables yet forging forwards in love. Love for those who hate the Jesus they do not know. For those who need Christmas in order to love. For poor muslim friends hiding their poverty behind brave smiles. For the old and the sick in our family, separated from loves by Covid.

That would be my Christmas and that would suffice, I schooled my heart firmly.

Heaven must have smothered a smile at my efforts, and angels surely clapped back their mirth. For they knew what I did not.

On Christmas Day, Heaven spilled Light into my heart.

          Not bright, joy-giddy Light, but a different Light. Many Lights. Gentle and playful Lights, little lamps loved and released yet cherished in secret. Lights wan yet so sweet, passed through hearts gone before us. Lights lit from love old and worn from waiting, yet firmly steadfast in the quiet of Hope Eternal.

          Today, as the winds blow their last notes among plump, white clouds and sun-drenched swaying boughs, my heart traces the whorls and lines of the old year once more.

          It is then that I see something. Strangely, today, none of the old anguish, those dark sentinels which have jealously guarded bitter memories, charge towards me. They are gone. Even as the memory of difficult days remain, the stain of pain is no more.

          Pondering this, I recall the words of my pastor in his Christmas Vigil sermon, his heartfelt exhortation to each one of us to pray for a miracle at the Crib of the Wee Child. Taking his words to heart, I had obeyed promptly that night. In spirit at the Crib’s edge, my plea had been direct,

Please Lord,

Miracle

Miracle,

Miracle.

And a miracle it was!

          Through the power of the Crib, the old shadows have gone, mysteriously brushed away from my spirit’s sight.

          The night grows old now, the last rains of the year fall in final benediction. Poised for flight into the new year, one last look at all that was,

Farewell!–we leave thee to Heaven’s peaceful care…

Room for a Miracle

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          I awakened early Friday morning for work, and found 2 song lines tipped into my heart,

Is there room in your heart

for God to write His story?

          At my altar for early morning prayers, I was too tired to think, so as I sealed my heart in Jesus’ Heart, I told Him that my prayer of Adoration today would be the work I did this day, given as an offering for Him. It turned out to be a gentle, unremarkable day lived in the happy slowness that Friday sometimes brings. I didn’t rush nor push much. I went from sweetness to sweetness.

          Yet, by afternoon, I was deeply exhausted. With an apple cake waiting to be baked for several days now, there was no putting it off; the kids were waiting for it and what better way to celebrate the end of another work week than with a lovely cake for tea?

          I planned to begin the baking right after lunch but being so tired, I went to lie down a bit to get my energy back.

          And I had a dream. I dreamt that one of my superiors at work was in my bedroom. She had come to check on my preparations for a programme she was overseeing. She had brought along someone else and she came to make sure that person was settled in my bedroom. In the dream, she wasn’t entirely pleased with my efforts but I wasn’t in the mood to appease either. I was clearly tired, fed up and couldn’t care less as she set about impatiently making up the extra bed as it should have been done. When she finally left the room, I didn’t bother to see her out. Instead, I stood in my room, agitated about having a stranger in my private abode, wondering too how I had allowed this woman to bring her work right into my home.

          What was the dream saying to me? That if I didn’t make room for God, trespassers from work would push their way further in? But I was making room for God, I knew I was doing all I could under the circumstances. What more was God asking of me?

          Again, this strange exhaustion washed over me. Why was I so very tired today?

          It was well after dinner that night that I made the connection between the afternoon dream and my overwhelming tiredness. This brazen woman inside my home, worse, inside my bedroom, dictating who else should be given access and how the room should be prepared, showed how emotionally and physically invasive her projects have been, this year especially.

          Her insane year end project, most of all, had trespassed right into my home life and stolen my rightful rest. I had been working on it for several weeks now, giving my very best. Now, I had 2 more days left of it. One – on Sunday – which broke my heart because working with Muslims, all my life I have refused to work on a Sunday to make it clear to them how important Sunday was to me. But now, with no one else willing to give up their Sunday, I was up against the wall with no hope of a slot exchange.

          My final slot in this woman’s programme was on the last day of work for the year for me. I sign off at 1 in the afternoon on Friday the 18th but despite knowing that, my superior had gone ahead and scheduled me for an entirely needless and taxing evening programme with her.

          My thoughts returned to the afternoon dream. Why had God come to point out the obvious? What was God asking of me?

          Discussing it with my husband, I came to a decision. I had already quietly rescheduled the timing of my Sunday programme, making it an hour earlier so that I still had 2 hours of my Sunday morning afterwards for my Lord.

          Then, I made a final decision. I would cancel the final programme on Friday. By scheduling it, this woman had trespassed into my rightful rest. She had no right and I wasn’t going to allow her, come hell or high water.

          That night, I slept soundly.

          A Saviour King who had no home
Has come to heal our sorrows

Is there room in your heart
Is there room in your heart
Is there room in your heart
For God to write His story?

          I awakened to a soft moss green morning misted by rain~breaths, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Am I not here, I who am your Mother?

          The moment I recalled Mother Mary’s words to St. Juan Diego worrying over his ill uncle, a little thought bud to life.

A Saviour King who had no home
Has come to heal our sorrows

Is there room in your heart
For God to write His story?

          What if the lines in the song weren’t meant to be a chiding? What if it wasn’t about what I hadn’t done and still needed to do?

What if it was an announcement?

          Had my angel sung those lines by the lip of my ear to announce a coming miracle?

          A miracle beyond compare, so huge and magnificent that it would stretch the room of my heart to its limits to contain it.

                 

Gentle Roads

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          Today, I read an old post from my friend, Ann’s blog, Muddling Through My Middle Age. She was reminiscing about Halloween as a child and how things changed for her over the years. Like so many of Ann’s posts, this one made me reflect on my life, specifically on what I yearn for: a slower, gentler life.

          While Halloween is not part of life in my country except maybe in expatriate enclaves, what catches my heart each time Halloween comes around would be the beautiful photos of carved pumpkins adorning rural front porches as the waning orange of sunset reaches its twilight slumber. To me, those photos speak to a time of gentling. Of slowing down. Of savouring the ineffable sweetness of littleness and simplicity. A time to rest and to chuckle, to do things different to the daily dictates of regimented life.

          The all too brief months of sheltering at home due to Covid gave us that gift of time to live along gentle roads for once. Although often the hours at home seemed impossibly shorter, it was only because while they were filled with stressful formal work, they were also interspersed with the happiest hours for home and family.

          I miss that deeply now. We’re almost back to full work mode, and I’m not too thrilled about it. Yet, I’m also determined not to shut all those gates leading to those gently winding roads. Some aspects of that brief interlude God gifted us with must be brought into this new weave of roads beyond the gate. Since I am surrounded by people who now barely remember, much less treasure, the good of those slower days, it’s left to me to craft and fashion my present hours from the lessons I learned during sheltering. I can’t change people but I sure can cut the fabric of my now’s a little differently.

          This insight didn’t come quickly, though. But God was patient with me and took me to one lake of realisation after another, where I could review and contemplate how I had lived each day since the return to full time work.

          Slowly, my heart began to see things. Even more slowly but surely, I allowed myself to be released from old habits of behaviours.

          I’ve always been a workaholic. Coupled with guilt and a few other  burdens, my formal work has always followed me home, often forcing me to work well past midnight.

          But since June, when I returned to work, I’ve noticed a loathing to bring work home beyond the few times it was absolutely necessary. It suddenly felt as if I was sullying the purity of my hours at home by doing work that could wait. This reaction isn’t exactly new; but every time I’ve tried to stop working on reports and projects before, guilt has always won me over to the wrong side.

          Till now. If something from work needs to get done even at home, I do slog at it. But if it can wait, it certainly does, and I don’t quite have to fight myself to step away.

          That is not willpower. That is grace.

          Another emerging tint to my days is the spirit of thanksgiving and thankfulness that sits a little more securely over my heart now than it did before. Some time ago, I had an epiphany. Since we reopened, I struggled to get to work each day because it meant returning to the old, much of it detested. Before each new work day, I got myself into a twist thinking about all the sorry and sodden things waiting for me. Unfortunately, despite my penchant for imagining things, my work struggles weren’t pops out of my imagination; they were real and there was no escaping them.

          But slowly, my ingratitude towards the many gifts God tucked into my days, became clearer and clearer. I realisee that no matter how hard the return to the old was, it didn’t exempt me from thanksgiving.

          So, each time there was something to wince about, I tried to find something to be grateful for instead. It wasn’t always easy – not because the good and sweet were few and far between – but because I had gotten into the habit of casting about for greater and brighter jewels.

          Still, I’ve kept at it, and with my angel’s guiding heart, I think I’m getting to be a more thankful person.

          A long time ago, a good and holy priest had looked deep into my soul and saw well beyond what I was struggling to make sense of. He quietly told me that it was people’s jealousy that was souring so much that should have been sweet. When I asked him if there was hope of a miracle, Father had looked at me and nodded, saying, Yes, miracles will come  – but slowly.

          What he might have seen but didn’t explain at that time was also that those miracles would take a form different to what I envisioned.

          I believe that despite the disappointment and sadness which surround us, the time of miracles has begun – but not in the manner and magnitude akin to earthquakes, fires and wild winds. These miracles are beginning to unfold just like the soft, still sound Elijah heard from the depths of his cave of sorrow and pain. Through the protecting of our time at home, sacred to those we hold dear in our hearts. Through our little acts of thanksgiving throughout the day. And many more.

          All miracles are wrought by God, but their seeds begin first with us. I yearn so much for a slower, kinder, gentler life, the very one God showed me a glimpse of this year. But it is not His way to merely shake and break this earth to form a new home for us all.

          For miracles to grow and live, we must first seek gentle roads for ourselves. For every storm, earthquake and fire that we encounter, we ourselves must stand firm along the quiet paths of thanksgiving, charity and holy obedience.

          The world might have us believe otherwise, that a kinder world must begin with bending others into submission through force, fire and violence. But it doesn’t.

          This sweetly gentle life begins first with us. As we incline our hearts more and more towards the Spirit’s leading, we will begin to build new homes along the very roads we seek, formed from the soft, still sounds of God.

Ring of Fire

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          I struggled when trying to accurately describe the miracle of the Illuminated Heart which I witnessed in my home last Christmas. Until today – the day of the Ring of Fire eclipse – the last for this year.

          Not being on social media, I hadn’t even known about the annular eclipse today. It was some moments away from the hot stove, reading the happenings of the day which alerted me to the phenomenon. Assuming we had missed it, imagine my excitement when I realised that the very minute I had read about it, it had ‘begun’ here.

          For a long hour, I became a child once more. The beauty of the experience – the encroaching moon, the dimming of the sun, the drop in temperature, the mysterious shadows formed by the leaves – all wound bands of thrills around my heart as I darted between the outdoors and my stove in the kitchen.

          As the evening winds gentled their farewells, I stood at my window. Looking up at a smoky evening sky which today kept its secrets to itself, I thought about my morning prayer question, What is Your sign for me?, and the joyful experience of the eclipse that followed. I thought of what it was called – annular – which made me think of St Anne who had been much on my heart these months – and Ring of Fire – of our wedding anniversary today. If it was a sign, I needed to know its significance.

          Give me Thy sign, I pressed into the watching skies before turning away.

          Scant minutes later, God lifted the veil.

          The experience of the Ring of Fire had infused me with a strange iridescence of joy. Because it was not merely an experience – it was a celebration.

          As I pondered what it was that I was meant to celebrate, God shared with me joyful news. Dawn has truly, truly broken, was my only thought as my heart swelled and swooped, thinking of the ascending sun over my place of work.

          God must have smiled as He watched me become a kid in the sugar jar all over again.

          Then, He brushed this last veil for the night from my eyes.

          The Ring of Fire was the eclipse. It was also the perfect description of my Christmas miracle of 2019, when the evening sun illuminated the Heart of my Jesus.