PEACE

Last of June

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          On this last day of June, month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the winds lift and fall from the break of dawn, blowing secrets among them, marking the last of what has been a very hectic month. Still, even as I’m glad it has come to an end, a quiet awe sits stronger within me. Awe at all God has done and eased for us this entire month. Awe at how, for once, I managed to face the innumerable twists and hurdles relatively calmly and with fewer stumbles.

          But I also know that it wasn’t me going out to meet each deadline and obstacle; each day, it felt as if someone or something within me was already in charge and leading the way. A still and quiet power beyond what I’ve ever experienced. A power so strong yet so exquisitely gentle, unperturbed at my occasional shenanigans and general inability to read things right. A power at peace even when I often tried to do things my way.

          Today, on this last day of blessed June, looking back, thanksgiving and gratitude breathes strong in my heart. I know well many hearts have helped me get through all the hard days of June, for very few journeys of this life can be undertaken safely and successfully without the love of those who pray and guide us all onwards and upwards. Most of all, without a doubt, we have journeyed through June, as a family, bound tightly to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

          As the winds raise their softly golden voices higher in the late morning sky, I can’t help but ponder what July holds for us. I can sense something is ahead, for some endeavours have ended even as we hoped to go on.

It is as if an invisible gate is slowly being shut on some journeys, why I do not know.

          But fear finds no living within me today.

          Today, I am at peace, content to let the Spirit lead.

          And He will, Father of the Poor He is.

Be at Peace

Be At Peace

One day, as I was yearning to receive Our Lord, I said to Him: “Teach me what Thou wouldst have me to say to thee.” Nothing but these words: ‘My God, my only Good and my All, Thou art wholly mine, and I am wholly Thine.’ They will preserve thee from all kinds of temptations, will supply for all the acts thou wouldst make, and serve as preparation for all thy actions.’   ~  The Lord, to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

          I’ve been mulling doing something new for some time now. It’s a major decision and fills me with more dread than hope or excitement because it’s been so long since I’ve done something like this. I’m afraid it will end up a mistake and that I will have to deal with the fallout.

          Plus, my husband wasn’t on board with it. He felt it would be too stressful. He didn’t see why I needed to. Only now learning to leave busy streets to walk in meadows, would this decision take me right back to the point I must never return to?

          I never do anything without my husband’s support, more so for something as huge as this. Nonetheless, while I understood and shared his misgivings, there was no concealing the hurt that he wasn’t giving me his support. I would have welcomed him by my side, examining our options together. If it wasn’t right, then, I knew I would shut the door and get on with life. In dismissing my asking, once again, I felt as if I always had to be the one to make the greater sacrifice. I don’t think I’ve ever held him back from anything. Instead, if there ever was something he wanted, even if I had reservations, I always gave him the freedom to go for it. Yet, now, when I needed it most, I found myself alone by the gate. 

          In the past, having come up against such a wall, I’d have retreated. However, this time, something just wouldn’t let go. I found my thoughts returning to this decision over and over again.

The time for work is over

          Still, in trying to discern from afar, I didn’t get anywhere. So, last Sunday, I pushed open my gate and ventured out a little. I told my husband that I had registered for a virtual session and went in with fingers crossed. There were a number of ‘rooms’  before me and suddenly I felt so small staring up at at them for they seemed like towers to me. Everything about the experience seemed so foreign, so different from all I’ve known. I would have immediately left had it not been for a very persistent friend rooting for me from the sidelines. For his sake, I stayed on, if only to be able to go back to him and at least say that I tried. Still, there was no denying how lost I felt in this new world, huge and shot through with noise. Maybe my husband was right after all, why did I need this?

          Wandering around, I saw a door. Against my friend’s advice to try a different door, I turned this knob and stole in. Almost immediately, I saw something that caught me. Something I hadn’t expected, something that indicated that this might work after all. But I had questions and sought answers for them. The few unseen people I interacted with were polite but offered little by way of the specific encouragement I needed.

          At that point, my home was calling out to me. I wasn’t even physically visiting this particular place, yet, I was beginning to feel overwhelmed. So, just a few hours in, I felt I had enough and retreated home. Perhaps this was a sign that this path wasn’t for me.

          Late that night, I looked down and in my palm was a tiny flower from that room. It had followed me home. As if to say, Don’t give up just yet. 

          That night, I struggled to fall asleep. The fear of doing something new beat hard at me. That I would be doing something for myself after all these years worsened it. And going ahead without my husband’s backing was the hardest blow of all.

          Needing comfort, I called upon St. Anne, the grandmother of Jesus, and asked her to hold me. As I lay my heart against her, I told her I didn’t want anything to come before my husband or children, no matter how enticing it was. And then, I asked St. Anne to help me retreat from this venture. To give me the words for my friend who was hoping I’d do it. To retreat – but with no regret nor rancour.

          I fell asleep and awakened pretty early the next day, unusually fresh and alert. I put in some work but also spent a lot of happy time with my children. All through the day, sun-warmed westerly winds blew against the old windchimes hanging just outside our living room. The cheery lilt of the chimes was a gentle caress, just like the laughter and happy chatter of my kids, loving arms about my heart. Sinking deep into that joy, I gave myself up to it. 

          Soon, no trace of apprehension stained its mark upon me. I was filled with a deep quiet.

And with that quiet, came an unexpected nudge.

          My husband was home from work and I found myself telling him of what I had discovered during that virtual session I had attended on Sunday. It wasn’t with the intention of getting him to change his mind; he was my best friend and I never kept things from him for long.

          This time, I found a very different person before me, attentive and wanting to understand where I was coming from and where I wanted to go with this. Stunned at his change, it helped me to hold nothing back from him, not even my own fears and doubts. At the end of it, he even accepted it and encouraged me to explore my options.

At that, my heart swelled even more with that strange inner quiet.

          Armed with a new, silent confidence, I went back and did some searching, then, made some enquiries. And all through, my heart was at peace. It was basically the same journey of Sunday, and yet it couldn’t have been more different. I took the first polite rejection calmly and went on to knock on another door.

Past midnight on the 1st of June, I got some answers.

Something had been set in motion.

          My discernment is far from over. I still have a ways to go. What lies where the road dips out of sight? Will I go on and take the plunge, will I turn back? Will this journey of discernment be all there is to this experience?

          Give me a sign, I ask Jesus. In reply, He sets before me all the stages of my journey thus far, one by one. My lack of confidence. My nervousness at venturing into new lands. The shame of how little I actually know about anything.

Am I a fool to leave newfound grazing ground to head for the mountains once more?

          Give me another sign, I ask Jesus again. But I sense the time for asking is passing.

          Give me one last sign.

         Jesus’ reply is one I do not anticipate.

Be at peace, He says.

 

A Time for New Roads

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There is an appointed time for everything,

and a time for every affair under the heavens.

a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.   ~  Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 5

          September closes her petals tonight. She has lived her month heroically, going from one difficult day to the next. She will soon draw her last breath for the year, before sinking into grateful slumber.

          Before another year comes.

          This will be a September I will always remember, marked in the way July is, yet differently. A very difficult and stressful September, yet dimpled so beautifully with pretty joys and warm loves. Autumn has come to many of those dear to me. As the leaves sweeten into their farewell hues, many have begun preparing for the coming winter. Putting away things of summer and pulling out winter wears and supplies. Saying goodbye to one season and welcoming the next.

A time for every affair under the heavens

          October pearls open tomorrow, but for now, I have these final hours of September, going gently to her deserved rest. Many things crowd our doorway. For once, I do not get fussy and set about clearing them away for they will soon be gone. When October morning raises its eyes to the awakening sun tomorrow, our lives will forever change in the way it has changed for so many families. We will weather it, as we have so many other shifts. There will be happy days, and days when even the softest rain must fall, for life must sing different notes for it to mean something.

          It is night, when after small chores, I slip away into the embrace of my garden. So much has happened this September, and more will come for sure, but for now, all I wanted was some still minutes to gather up the thoughts which needed keeping, and to release the ones that were ready to go. I sat in my old chair by the flowers’ edge and looked up at the dark night sky, so oddly visible now after the big trees in our garden had endured a great pruning. This had been another great change for us. To see huge portions of branches so familiar to us now cut away to make way for new life. Not pleasant but necessary.

… the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, My beloved, My beautiful one,
and come!   ~   Song of Songs 2: 11 – 13

           Above me, the grey~white clouds gather in huge swathes and puffs, in silent trysts, yielding me no account of their words. Even the moon and stars are unseen, busy in their chambers. It is night, yet even the heavens are about their business.

          I can feel a storm is building. The air is humid and quietly restless. Soon, it is time to get up and go back inside. We still have some ways to go before we are done for the night. I make my way past the marigold bushes and vines of old-fashioned roses pressing their kisses towards the old house. My beloved zinnias lean towards me as I pass them, even in the night smiling their love into my heart.

All will be well

          Softly, gently, sweetly, September leads us to roads not travelled yet.

          Then, she slips back to her Maker.

Trust in Me

          I’ve been in some physical suffering since the night before, but nothing could leach away the beauty of the day. Discomfort had prevented me from watching the dawn pearl tangerine~pink roses from its eastern breast, and when I had awakened from disrupted sleep, the sun was beaming cheerily from cloud-misted blue skies.

          Despite what the night had been, I knew it was going to be a special day.

          And it was.

          All through the lifts and dips of the high-spirited winds of the happy day, I felt a peace that settles deep. Despite the roughness of the week that was, despite the turmoil that awaits my land in the weeks to come, this beautiful peace feels like the wordless murmur of saints and angels sitting by our hearts unseen, comforting us in our struggles.

          The Church … was at peace. She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.   ~   Acts 9:31

          I think of the various pearls that met my heart in the past week.

The time of Mercy is meeting the time of Judgement

A shifting

Trust in Me.

          Even in all the turmoil and confusion buffeting the Church today and each day, is she – in secret – being broken down, stone by stone, and being rebuilt by a Power so pure, beautiful and encompassing? I think of the endless stream of accusations and missteps among church hierarchy, the Calvary of priests, the dying wick of faith in hearts, the emptying of many churches. Perhaps Jesus is once more asking in brokenness, Do you also want to leave?

          Instead I hear the words, unmistakably clear, with a strength beyond words.

Trust in Me.

 

 

 

 

Lent 13 ~ Blessed Be The Hours

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          This morning, during quiet minutes, I suddenly thought of The Angel of Peace. A seer has often mentioned that The Angel of Peace will come soon. I wondered who might that be. If it were any of the archangels – Michael, Gabriel or Raphael – I wonder why his name has never been pronounced.

          I know the dangers of attaching too much credence or belief to a visionary or seer. I remind myself of the dangers, because these are indeed dangerous times of confusion. I do not want to go the way of many who waited for the proclaimed time, but the wait was in vain.

          Yet, the words, Angel of Peace slipped in when much of the world was still asleep today, and it lay quietly on my heart. Along with it came unbidden a memory, worn soft with age, tears and old love. A memory of an angel~love that never had need of words when I needed comforting. Tender softness against my heart when I was tossed about by some wild wind of ache and tears, a softness that alone had the power to ease any storm.

          This love gave me a peace each time it came. A peace that was soft, gentle yet strong. It has now been very long since I’ve felt this peace. The old days have not returned yet.

          My thoughts returned to the Angel of Peace. Who are you? I asked. And then I went to my day, the hours soon became lost in whorls of busyness.

          I returned home as a golden orange flush gently swelled the warm evening skies. I should have been out, in the fading lisp of the aging day, quietening my heart as the day bade farewell. But too tired and in some pain from a foot injury, I stayed in and stole glances at the soft beckoning of the tangerine sunset.

          There was something in the eyes of the sky. An odd quietness, deep and alert, in the distant western abode where the sun goes to die each day. It was as if something or someone was waiting for me. But the demands of family and home shifted impatiently beside me and I could not go to the bidding of the waiting skies.

          When I didn’t go to meet that strange, secret quietness, it came towards me. I suddenly remembered that as I had awakened late that day, I hadn’t had the time to go to my daily readings and then to my prayer nook for my day’s prayer. So, I hastened to the Bible. And from there to my prayer nook.

          One saint I’ve never gone to before was waiting for me and she held out something to me now. St. Gertrude had misted by pretty often of late, and while I had never reached for her hand, today, she had a prayer  for me.

GUARDIAN ANGEL PRAYER

by St. Gertrude

O most holy Angel of God,

appointed by God to be my Guardian,

I give you thanks for all the benefits

which you have ever bestowed on me in body and soul.

I praise and glorify you that you condescended

to assist me with such patient fidelity,

and to defend me against all the assaults of my enemy.

Blessed be the hour

in which you were assigned me for my Guardian,

my defender and my patron.

In acknowledgment and return for all your loving ministries to me,

I offer you the infinitely precious and noble Heart of Jesus,

and firmly purpose to obey you henceforward,

and most faithfully to serve my God.                                      Amen.

 

         It could have come on any day, but this prayer came today when my thoughts were on The Angel of Peace. A tough day awaits me but I seem to be held safe in an invisible embrace of peace and stillness. Unhurried, I recall once more the angel~peace of old, still and quiet. I think of those have been granted the grace of seeing their guardian angels and I think about how their lives must have changed since then.

          Because no one is ever the same once they have seen those who share our lives, yet are not of this world.

          Blessed be those hours of grace when we saw.

          And knew.

         And loved.

 

 

 

 

LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH

I struggled with a minor disturbance recently, struggled to keep the sun shining and the clouds at bay. I was aggrieved at the irritant, and in need of a sympathetic audience, took my angst to God. In a whitesilver flash, He cut through, and gave me this hymn:

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LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH

 

Let there be peace on earth

And let it begin with me.

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Let there be peace on earth

The peace that was meant to be.

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With God as our Father

Brothers all are we.

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Let me walk with my brother

In perfect harmony.

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Let peace begin with me

Let this be the moment now.

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With every step I take

Let this be my solemn vow.

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To take each moment

And live each moment

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With peace eternally.

Let there be peace on earth,

And let it begin with me.

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