Prayer

Loader of the Prayer~Cart

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          My weekend began with an examination of my conscience, and a doubting of the path I was now on – to empty my prayer~will. To empty it (of petitions) – for God to fill it. Off and on, through the weekend hours, I kept going back to this – Was it the right thing to do?

          Then, my mind wandered over the changes and happenings that had ensued from the new prayer.

          There had been power. Strength. There had been joyous, unexpected  happenings.

          And yet, I continued to nibble at the certainty, slowly ragged-ing its smooth edges. What if I was wrong? In these days of fake news and lies and distortion and illusions, had I veered off the True Path? What if I was wrong to empty my prayer~will?

          On the Feast of the Divine Mercy, I went before God. You have to answer me, I insisted.

          The first reply came through Susan Skinner’s post, If You Seek Healing. Of the many things that lit up in her piece, this caught me firmly – once you have emptied all of you, you can be filled up with God.

          And I learned yet again that the emptying of my prayer~will was the Will of God Himself. It was not a hardening of my heart, as I feared. It was not a callous disregard of the entreaties of others.

          It was another step in the journey of Surrender that I first began almost ten years ago. One I veered off many, many times, and returned to as often. And now, with the emptying of my prayer~will, I was tentatively opening myself up even further, laying everything of me at His Feet, to be used as He pleased. During Lent this year, my spirit got caught in the Call of the little Consoler, the Fatima seer, Francisco Marto. As I began to try to offer up little beads of Chaplets and Rosaries, solely to console the Wounded Heart of Jesus, like the little Shepherd had done, I learned of this little by-path the  emptying of the prayer~will was leading me to.

          But my learning was in no way over. Something else of Susan Skinner’s post remained in me: humility. When the eyes of my heart turned to it, I found it in a little pouch, its strings fastened such that I could not undo them to understand what deepened meaning Humility held now for me.

          But meaning came soon enough. That night, I read the words of a niece of the soon to be canonized little shepherd-seers. Jacinta Pereiro Marto said, “God chose my uncle and aunt because this is what He wanted, so much that my grandfather used to say that the Virgin wanted to come to Fatima and she chose his children, but that we didn’t deserve anything.” Because of this attitude instilled in the family by her grandfather – father to Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto – “we always lived very simply because God chose, and He chooses who He wants. We don’t deserve anything.”

          Her humility, the humility of that entire family despite understanding the import of the apparitions in Fatima all those years ago, was like a flower bursting into bloom for me. I realized that the erasing of my will in my prayers was a deepening of humility. To understand that it was not for me to ever occupy the driver’s seat of prayers. And not even to decide for myself which prayers to load onto my cart to take to Heaven.

          For the God who chooses me to drive the cart, is the same one Who will decide whose need gets onto mine and whose goes to another prayer~cart.

          Although I still do not understand why I have been brought to this point of placing even this freedom to pray for others in His Divine Will, for now, I feel a deep security in the Marto wisdom, God chose, and He chooses who He wants.

          The same God who chose my prayer~cart, will fill it with the needs He chooses.

 

Lent 29 ~ Follow the Consoler

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After the apparitions ended, Francisco played truant from school as often as possible. Our Lady had told him that his life on earth was to be short, and Francisco did not see why he had to attend school when there was something far more important to be done: he preferred to spend time praying to the “Hidden Jesus” in the Tabernacle. His great concern was to console His sorrowing Lord and the Heart of His Mother. ~ of Blessed Francisco Marto, Seer, Fatima Apparitions.

         Praying to the Hidden Jesus, and going among trees and rocks to hide to pray – those were the things which made a deep impression on me these few days. I decided to attempt to follow Francisco’s prayer footsteps on Saturday, the 1st of April. Since it was 1st Saturday Devotions, the prayer I prayed amongst stones and trees was the Hail Mary. Not the actual Rosary, but simple Rosary~buds said as breath~prayers throughout the course of the day. I tumbled Hail Mary’s down two need~burrows.

          The Pope, and someone who was hurting me.

          For the Holy Father, the Mary~rosebuds were for whatever his real needs may be.

          For the present ‘thorn in my life’, well, the Hail Mary’s were my penance for every angry thought I entertained against this person. It was not that easy for me to be more generous; I could not pray deeper prayers for this person today.

          The Hail Mary’s were simple and straightforward. And saying them just like that emptied the prayers of me; they were not shadowed by petition today.

          I think it was my way of surrendering them completely into the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, with no dagger of a petition of how I think what should be done, slipped in within the folds of the prayer.

          Jesus was alone among stones and trees in the Garden of Gethsemane. No one was there with Him to share His Tears. But the young child Francisco made reparation through his tender efforts. 

          Francisco was barely eleven when he sought to console his beloved Jesus and Mary.

          Yet, he left us the biggest footprints to step into, to walk his journey of the Consoler ourselves. 

Lent 27 ~ Curses and Stones

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          I saw the Holy Father in a very large house, kneeling before a table, with his face in his hands, crying. Outside the house were many people, some of whom cast stones at him, others cursed him and said many ugly words. Poor Holy Father! We have to pray a lot for him. – Blessed Jacinta Marto, Fatima seer

Lent 16 ~ Form Their Hearts

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For any parent who intimately knows the struggle to raise our children right

O glorious St. Joseph, to you God committed the care of His only begotten Son amid the many dangers of this world. We come to you and ask you to take under your special protection the children God has given us. Through holy baptism they became children of God and members of His holy Church. We consecrate them to you today, that through this consecration they may become your foster children. Guard them, guide their steps in life, and form their hearts after the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

St. Joseph, who felt the tribulation and worry of a parent when the child Jesus was lost, protect our dear children for time and eternity. May you be their father and counselor. Let them, like Jesus, grow in age as well as in wisdom and grace before God and men. Preserve them from the corruption of his world, and give us the grace one day to be united with them in Heaven forever.

Amen.

 

 

 

Lent 13 ~ I Refuse Thee Nothing

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          Some hours ago, I stopped by one of my favourite blogs, Veil of Veronica, by blogger Susan Skinner, and there I read what I wished I’d never read – the closing of the Lifebook of Eva Vaughan, a friend very dear to Susan.

          Susan had brought Eva to us through various blog posts. Through her posts on Eva’s battle with pancreatic cancer, I saw my smallness and my empty heroism, the way I took my own health, motherhood, and other gifts, for granted.

          Today, I read that Eva has folded her earthly wings and gone Home.

          I promised Susan Masses for Eva’s soul- which I can only do this coming Sunday when we go to church. I want to do something for Eva in the days between now and Sunday. I try to offer prayers for her soul, but it’s like pricing away nails deeply embedded in wood.

          It’s a day when prayers don’t come easy.

          But I don’t want a burning, humid day when the breezes forgot to play, to be the reason to leave a soul waiting.

          Yet, an unpleasant inertia takes hold of me.

          But I press on. I’ve got to do something.

          In a quiet moment, rare in the sultry night here, Nancy Shuman brings me Heaven’s answer ~

Have you ever tried giving God just one day in which you refused Him nothing, a day of absolute generosity? ~ Fr William Doyle

          I’m not in a giving mood, to be honest. A nagging shoulder injury and the heat of the day, coupled with kids determined to be like ants on your leg, have taken me amongst briars. I just want the pain to go, the kids to be quiet and the rains to fall.

Have you ever tried giving God just one day in which you refused Him nothing, a day of absolute generosity?

          What if God asks me for something I just cannot give? I know the Giver of Every Good Gift Who fashioned me, body and soul, would never ask me to cross terrains for which no grace is available. Yet, in my sinfulness I hold back. My reluctance tells the pathetic tale of my lack of faith. I am afraid to trust Him today.

          But what if this is what Eva needs? And if she has no need of my prayers, but someone else does, can I knowingly withhold this giving? Is it right for me to do so, so brazenly and selfishly?

Have you ever tried giving God just one day in which you refused Him nothing, a day of absolute generosity?

          I have never. Even now, I don’t want to.

          But if this is God’s decree for me, I must. Because I have made a promise to obey. With all my heart and with all my soul.

          And so, I take the plunge ~

God’s Will be mine. I refuse Thee nothing.

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Lent 9 ~ St Basil’s Prayer

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Steer the ship of my life, good Lord,
to Your quiet harbour,
where I can be safe from the storms of sin and conflict.
Show me the course I should take.
Renew in me the gift of discernment,
so that I can always see the right direction in which I should go.
And give me the strength and the courage to choose the right course,
even when the sea is rough and the waves are high,
knowing that through enduring hardship and danger,
in Your name, we shall find comfort and peace.

 

 

Lent 8 ~ Seeking Power

          Today, I was forced to face someone who had physically hurt one of my children last year. I was speaking to a friend when this man rudely butted into our conversation, to ask my friend something. He left shortly after.

          And I was left to choose whether to flee to the mountains of prayer, or to remain on the plains of anger and dislike.

         Oh, I chose the mountains, alright, but I also spent the rest of the day’s hours in a mildly unpleasant catapult-cycle, going back and forth from the mountains to the plains.

          The anger wasn’t as potent as before – when he had hurt my child – I have the Hail Mary prayer to thank for that. Nevertheless, the anger was there, like a dark shadow by the sidelines, waiting for the right moment to uncoil its tentacles into me. The moment that man showed his disdain for me through his rudeness and arrogance, I knew what was coming for me.

          It was a pot-on-a-fire situation I wanted to avoid at all costs.

          I could not escape entirely. In any hurt, my tendency to seek the blackfires of anger and vengeance is my thorn in the flesh. It is a constant battle I am seldom free from. Today was no different.

          And yet, different it was.

          In many unguarded moments today, when I allowed the fiery darts to penetrate my spirit, they felt like they were falling onto wet moss. They couldn’t light the fires they usually do. Still, I would give anything to have an impenetrable shield. To not ever be troubled by these poisoned nibs fashioned out of my own weaknesses.

          But till that day of glory comes, I will struggle on. I am not alone, though. I have the Army of the Rosary behind me and before me. It is up to me to seek its power.

          And seek it I must. On bended knee, with contrite spirit and steadfast heart.