Be Ever My Friend



For the victims of the Manchester bombing and their families, May 22 2017;

for victims of terrorism everywhere, the world over.


Swift through the world

You went a-flying,

Dearest Jacinta,

In deepest suffering

Jesus loving.

Forget not my plea

And prayer to you:

Be ever my friend

Before the throne

Of the Virgin Mary,

Lily of candour,

Shining pearl,

Up there in heaven

You live in glory,

Seraphim of love,

With your little brother

At the Master’s feet

Pray for me.            ~ The late Sr. Lucia Dos Santos, Fatima Seer.




Lent 13 ~ I Refuse Thee Nothing


          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.




          In the world today, there are many hearts that dwell in dark hollows. Weighed down by the Hadean anchors of sorrow, loss, anger, hatred, jealousy, guilt, and even indifference. Day and night, hour by hour, these hearts seek life in the dead, plumbing the depths of a strangling emptiness, in search of the light of Hope.

          Many years ago, I went through a phase of being awakened at 3 am every single night. I went to bed exhausted, and it didn’t make sense that short hours later, I would be roused from deep slumber when I wasn’t ready to wake up. Often, it was the acrid smell of smoke that shook me out of sleep.

          The smell of smoke without fire.

          But I was not afraid or troubled much.

          Every time it happened, I sought the light of prayer. For myself. For others.

          One such night, on a whim, I decided to send Light into homes. In my mind, I pictured dwelling after dwelling  – of loved ones and friends, and even those I disliked,  – and I said a prayer of Light for each. Suddenly, something took over the prayer. I felt I was being led to each homestead that I had prayed for. There I was shown the actual fire lit everywhere the match of my prayer touched kindling.

          In some homes, the fire was small, and burned neatly and restrainedly. I was given to understand that the fire was not allowed to burn with abandon; something in the hearts of those who dwelled there dampened holy fire. Then,  there was another home, where the match lit a fire so huge and powerful, it was startling. As I gazed at those determined flames, I felt this written on my heart: Purification. Indeed, a short time later, the family began facing deep trials.

          But there was another home where I sent the prayer of light, yet, no fire did it kindle. I stood in the shadows beyond the house, and looked at the deep, unyielding darkness before me. I didn’t ask for an explanation then, but received understanding months later – no fire could light there because the doyen of the family indulged in occultism.

          I prayed this same prayer over the years, a couple of times, but I was never shown this vision again.

          Today, this grey morning, rains fall outside, dew~ing away the dust and distraction of harried months. The clouds tip their water jars in benevolence, blessing the trees and grasses into bursts of emeralds and hunters, and flowers coyly unfurl the livened yellows, pinks, reds and blues of their petal~sheaths. A dew whisper travels from leaf to bud, awakening that which has fallen into the slumber of despair and despondency.

          As I drink in this reawakening to life, I wonder, if it is not time now, to once more send the angels out again, bearing the prayer of the Noel~light  ~  a Child waiting to be born in the yearning stables of every heart.

LENT 14 ~ The Press of Water


Photo credit ~ James Fahy

          The week before Lent began, I had a dream about a coming water. A violent rush of taint and filth. People in another part of the town heard of its impending arrival, and they made haste to flee. Flee , they told me too. But I refused.

          For hours later, I pondered the dream. Dismiss or delve deeper? I sought the counsel of the Discerner of Dreams, St Joseph.

Then, it came :


 A week later, after night Rosary, a deepening of meaning :

A coming cleansing to pave the way for a Promised Land on earth.

          Some days into Lent, came the call to immerse lost and dying souls into the waters of Lourdes, and later I was given to understand that the waters of Lourdes were the Tears of the Holy Mother.

A pretty deep press of water into my soul this Lent thus far. Then, they knitted together:

Prepare for a coming cleansing by immersing lost and dying souls in the Tears of the Heavenly Mother.



          In many of the images spoken of by those given visions of Purgatory, there is fire and sorrow. A terrible thirst. We have been told there are levels in Purgatory which correspond to the seriousness of the sins

          But back then, based on my reading that eventful night, all I knew was about the fire and the sorrow and the thirst. And even that I understood only literally, skimming the surface of understanding. I imagined it to be noisy with weeping and wailing, like many Eastern funerals. Cauldrons of bubbling fire – never mind that that image might have been more at home at a witches’ gathering deep in dark woods.

          Some time after I was taught the importance of praying for the souls in Purgatory, I had a dream one night.

          I saw a world. Hidden. A hushed world, nestled deep within the bosom of peace. It seemed to be narrow. There were levels, linked by rough earthen floors and misshapen clay steps. The place was lit by unseen lamps. A soft, gentle light that bathed the surroundings in tenderness and peace.

          It was crowded. I saw people, oh, so many of them, ascending and descending the clay steps. In peace they took the steps. No jostling. No bumping. But in absolute silence. I didn’t hear or see them speak, but I saw their eyes, and I knew they were brethren, united in love. It was not love for one another; it was a special sort of love. Different.


          I sensed an unseen being showing me around. The steps were to one side of the space I was shown. The rest of the space was occupied by tombs, arranged close to one another. My unseen guide led me past the tombs. In this softly lit place where I felt warmth and comfort, I saw that each tomb was covered with beautiful bouquets of flowers, some more than the others. As I took this in, I assumed that was the order here: flowers for every tomb.

          But he led me down the steps, and everything began to change. I felt the cold first. Then, came the darkness. It was not menacing or evil. I didn’t sense any hatred or wickedness, but there was a deep loneliness and profound sorrow. Gone were the lamps of the higher levels. No light. No warmth. No love.

          And not a soul was to be seen. No people gently navigating the steps. Dark, still, silent, cold.

          I was led on. We stopped at a tomb. Not a single flower adorned its stone slab covering. I felt my guide’s words, This is your (relative’s) tomb. He has been neglected.

          Not merely forgotten but neglected. An act of will to leave the soul without prayers.

          It had been about ten years since he had passed on. Even at his funeral, there was the smug belief among his children that Dad had gone to his heavenly reward. Never missed a day of Mass. Never missed nightly family Rosary. What was that if not a sure ticket to heaven. They didn’t care to dredge up memories of an old but able man who sat in his chair, twiddling thumbs all day. Busy with the paper. Busy with the tv. Who did little, but made footmen and butlers out of everyone else. He rarely stirred up trouble but found the odd occasion to spit at people or fling his plate of food. There was also a hint of an old illicit dalliance in the family annals but details were never revisited.

          God called him back in the midst of the holidays, and while everyone returned to pay obedient homage, there were murmurs at the bier that he could have chosen some other time to die, not pull the curtain down on other people’s fun and rest. I remember watching the group of supposed mourners gather, sitting stiffly in chairs. Not a crowd of them. Not by any means. Most making some effort to arrange their countenance into some semblance of mourning because there was no natural grief at this particular loss of a man who gave nothing to the world.

          We buried him. Later chiseled, Home in Heaven Again as his epitaph.

          Ten years on, he remains in his tomb. Unadorned. Not a petal. Not a prayer. Because we didn’t care enough.