Prayer

Fatima 5 ~ September 13

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          Despite the ridicule and jokes of the secular, atheistic press, more than 30,000 people gathered in the Cova for the September  apparition. Whether drawn by devotion or curiosity, they prayed the rosary while awaiting the arrival of the visionaries and their vision. When at least the time came they could hear Lucia say,

          “What do you want of me?”

          “Continue the Rosary, My children. Say it every day that the war may end. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.”

          God is pleased with your sacrifices, but He does not want you to wear the cords to bed. Keep them on during the day.”

          “I have the petitions of many for Your help. Will You assist a little girl who is deaf and dumb?”

          “She will improve within the year.”

          “And the conversions that some have asked to have brought about? The cures of the sick ones?”

          Some I will cure, and some I will not. In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.”

          With these last words still ringing in their ears, the Lady rose and disappeared in the heavens, as Lucia called to the crowd, “If you wish to see Her — look! Look!”

 

 

 

 

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Jesus, Forget and Forgive

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          Right after I received the prayer, Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying, and began saying it, intermittently, I have felt this bubble up in me, unbidden, Forgive me, Lord, I have sinned. I thought it could be to warn me against spiritual pride. And to seek His mercy for my own sinfulness. Or to remind me that I have not done all I should and could for lost and dying souls.

          So, whenever the breezes brushed past my heart, I whispered, Forgive me, Lord, I have sinned. And then, I tried to go back to the prayer, Heart of Jesus, once in agony, pity the dying.

          But I faintly sensed that prayer being lifted away, out of my spirit’s reach. I thought it was perhaps due to my being under the weather recently. But this morning, when I stopped by my daily prayer nook, it became clear, very clear, that I needed to pray the cleansing prayer for myself, because this was what the angel held out to my spirit:

 

Act of Contrition

Forgive me my sins, O Lord, forgive me my sins;

the sins of my youth, the sins of my age, the sins of my soul,

the sins of my body, my idle sins, my serious voluntary sins,

the sins I know, the sins I do not know;

the sins I have concealed so long, and which are now hidden from my memory.

I am truly sorry for every sin, mortal and venial,

for all the sins of my childhood up to the present hour.

I know my sins have wounded Thy Tender Heart, O my Savior.

Let me be freed from the bonds of evil through Thy most bitter Passion, O my Redeemer.

O my Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been.

         

          I want to press this close, till it marks my spirit, to pray it as often as I breathe,

O my Jesus, forget and forgive what I have been.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never Shall It Be Mine

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          After close to two weeks of good, hard work, and some tumultuous hours pickled in impatience, frustrations and hurts, the days wind to a quiet close in the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

          And I have little to offer Him.

          As I lay awake in the lasts of the old night, in my offering basket there is no novena, no bracelet of days spun from deep prayer and contemplation of the Word of God. There is more praise and thanksgiving than usual.

          But my basket still looks bare to the eye.

          I love Thee, I whisper as sleep finds me.

          Awakening to a cool, rain-sprinkled morn where elfin breezes play shy games among the wet boughs, the world wears mists for its dress. In the still of the silver~green day, I sadly acknowledge the aching empty of heart that is fast becoming the birthmark of my soul. I am knowing more and more days when my heart feels so empty, the barrenness trying, difficult and sorrowful. Ever more are the days when I straddle two worlds: the outer one of work and care, lived for others, wreathed in joy-giving as well as pain.

          And the hidden inner one, grey and dry, worn and empty.

          June has not been an easy month for ten years now. From the Feast of St Anthony of Padua begins the sorrow of memories of a life gone by, and these days I cope by trying not to dwell on the passing dates which cradle one anniversary of loss after another.

          Right in the middle of this grey journey I make every year stands the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, harbor in this storm-tossed crossing.

          I arrive at this hiddenness today, hoping for a miracle of joy, some light at least, but for the early hours, it is not to be. The words of the Readings and Gospel tumble past my discerning. I am as empty as ever. And it hurts. Oh, how it hurts.

          Rising to leave my post of wait, I take one last look into a prayer nook, to see if Heaven has left me any morsel for the day. In the quiet deeps, I find this awaiting me ~

…..my heart, O sweetest Mary,
Is not mine, but Thine:
Take it; give it all to Jesus;
Ne’er shall it be mine.

          The words find my heart. I know what I need to do.

          From emptiness I draw forth every struggle, stumble and failure, every bit of bread broken and shared. Every sorrow. Every joy. Sweet and bitter, vibrant and shriveled, cradle after offering cradle I fill.

……not mine, but Thine:
Take it; give it all to Jesus;
Ne’er shall it be mine.

 

 

 

 

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.