The Will of God

Lent 33 ~ Time to Leave

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          Despite keeping to a regular Lenten posting schedule, I was still surprised to realise that Holy Week was almost upon us. With that dawning, came the usual regret that life wasn’t more quiet, less harried to allow me to sink deeper into this final quiet.

          But I also knew that one thing at least was in my hands: to cut off from two online communities I was added to recently and to regain some measure of quiet. I have never liked being part of online communities where I cannot block notifications of posts. Something about those bell-icons, red bubbles, green bubbles, what-have-you – annoy me deeply. Yet, as it is not in my nature to simply ignore any form of messages or notifications, in order to have some peace, every single day – sometimes even several times in a day – I have to stop everything just to clear the ever-growing cache of messages.

          Soon, I realised something else too: I was making a habit of scrolling through those hundreds of messages before deleting them, in the fear that there might just be something important to take note of, and in the process, I was being drawn into so many lives and endless rounds of conversations.

          I’ve always been interested in people. If there’s a vineyard of need, I want to help if I can. And there have been times when the pain of people in these two communities have moved me to reach out and offer them my bread. However, it was also growing upon me that I was being drawn out too much and in danger of wading into imagined needs, pouring energy and help into what were actually hidden wastelands.

          About a week or two back, I decided that today, my Thursday of illumination, would be the day when I would cut my ties to those two online communities which were connected to my professional life. Unfortunately, when the day arrived, I wasn’t as sure that I should do it.

          But Someone was sure that I needed to cut off.

          Driving along shadowy roads to work, the skies above were silver and lavender, embroidered with a sprinkling of diamond~stars. My heart ached. For the thousandth time, I wished I could just quit my job and just rest from the never ending cycle of hope and disappointment.

          Just then, I caught sight of a familiar blue-caped emissary, perched on the side of the narrow road. The kingfishers have become a little rare in recent months. This was the first time ever I saw one sitting unexpectedly on the road. Hitting the brakes to avoid injuring it, I knew immediately that the only reason the little kingfisher was there in such an odd place was because God had meant it to be His sign to me, to tell me,

Quieten Down, Listen Up

          The noise had to go. No matter what minute benefit I stood to lose, it was time to leave the communities. So, as rain~pearls curtained the fading hours after work, I deleted my ties and left for good.

          All because a little blue king had perched by the side of the road to bring me God’s will where I had none.

Lent 5 ~ Just Turn Up

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          Just a couple of days into Lent, something began to gnaw at me – I just couldn’t seem to quieten down. With work moving ahead with full force, one project ending tomorrow but others either lined up or well on their way, my hours were already packed. Now, with devotional practices special to the season of Lent added on, I seem to be running, gasping from one port to the other.

          Something tells me that this is not the way it should be.

         Just before Lent began, I saw the words, Descend into your inner room. And yesterday’s sermon by my priest made clear that Lent is a period of withdrawing from the world in order to bring ourselves face-to-face with God. He spoke of the Desert Fathers and of hermitages and monasteries. Moving away from noise in order to hear God clearly.

          Listening to my priest, I understood why I had been feeling out of skip with the season. But I did not have the luxury of escaping to a quieter place or even that of a reduced workload. Being on lockdown meant that the whole family was working or studying from home so there were constant distractions and disruptions. Lockdown also meant that I could not quieten down in church before the Blessed Sacrament. God surely knew all that, so what was I to do to descend into my inner room instead of being suspended halfway?

          The answer was unexpected.

Let go, said God.

          I was still trying to control my Lenten walk to some extent. In my praying of the daily decade of the Luminous Mysteries for healing, I fret over the people I am praying for, concerned I have missed someone out. As I go about my day, my radar is up, searching for souls who need to be added on for my Luminous Rosary because guilt whispers in my ear that I have no right to stand before God with arms anything less than full.

          But God is saying just the opposite. He is saying, Let go. In trying to descend to my inner room, paradoxically, I am also the one stalling my descent. His call for me is only to be obedient in praying the prayers He has given me. It is not for me to meddle in who I am to pray for nor to get distracted in checking if my prayer cart is full, if everyone is on board. Likewise, it is not on me to peck and poke, trying to discern the connection between my Luminous decade for the day and the prayer needs I am praying for. God alone decides where my prayers and sacrifices should go. And if there’s anything beyond that which I need to know, He’ll tell me – but in His time. All He asks for is my obedience and trust. Not much, far less than what I’ve put upon myself.

        Just turn up, says my Lord, with a smile in His voice.

 

No Other But This

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Thus says the LORD:
On that day I will raise up
the fallen hut of David;
I will wall up its breaches,
raise up its ruins,
and rebuild it as in the days of old,
Yes, days are coming,
says the LORD,
When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
and the vintager, him who sows the seed;
The juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains,
and all the hills shall run with it.
I will bring about the restoration of My people Israel;
they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities   ~  Amos 9: 11; 13 – 14

          For much of the past months, it has seemed as if every structure in my country is being torn down, every belief attacked and shattered. I returned to work some weeks ago and to my sadness, found that the weeks of stay-home had not made better persons out of all of us. Colleagues who had been bitter and who had chafed at the constraints of lockdown, now returned to raucous revelry, grimly intent on reclaiming lost time.

          Over the years, as more and more of my workmates became increasingly distracted from their core portfolios and responsibilities, the noise levels at work had been rising, fed by daily office potlucks, gossip cliques and online shopping addiction which steadily made inroads into formal work hours and beyond.

          But the post-Covid noise decibels in my work place now is beyond belief. Too many are high on something not good. Work is a farce. Silence has fled.

I brought upon you such upheaval
as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah:
you were like a brand plucked from the fire;
Yet you returned not to Me,
says the LORD.   ~  Amos 4: 11

          I am struggling and yet, paradoxically, I am working well too. Even as I fight to put out one fire after another within my heart, my work is not held back in the least.

          But there’s no escaping the deepening frustration and sadness at the scale of moral destruction before my eyes. In my work place. In my country. I can see where this is going. We are fast reaching a point of no return. Something in my heart tells me that once that invisible line is crossed, there will be no coming back. In each one of those rabble rousers at work and elsewhere, there are yet morsels of sweetness.

But if a major correction does not come soon enough, even that will be lost.

When the last light within them goes out, I fear that no other light will live in its place.

          When I took this to Jesus, His surprising answer to my distress was,

My Time has come. I am about to bring to fulfilment my plan for you and for those whom I have sent you. My Eucharistic Face will shine over this new hour of building…   ~  In Sinu Jesu

          He did not speak about the rising squalls. Yet, I know Jesus is not ignoring the ruin we are bringing ourselves to. Through the In Sinu Jesu words which lit hope in me, Jesus is clearly asking me to shift the gaze of my heart to what I am called to. He is not advocating the indifference of the deaf ear nor of the blind eye to the massive unravelling around me; instead, because of it, Jesus wants me to be in my place, doing what He has willed for me.

          This is not the first time I am hearing this. I have lost count of the number of occasions, when upset over developments in my part of the world, He has sent His Angel to remind me that my place is

Not in the violent winds

Not in the earthquakes

Not in the fire

but in the hiddenness of the presence of God. In the Eucharistic Adoration I am called to – even in the busyness of work.

          This is not due to anything of merit in me – but simply because Jesus knows well my weaknesses. I don’t handle confrontations well. I am easily intimidated. And it takes me longer than others to recover from battles. For other stronger souls, He might have earmarked the vineyards of greater work right in the midst of violent winds and earthquakes and raging fires.

          But not for me – because I’d drown.

          Or more likely, drown others.

          Often, I do feel hurt that God hasn’t marked out ‘greater work’ for me. Often, I tire of the hiddenness and obscurity of my own little vineyard. But many years ago, God made it clear,

If you cannot on the ocean
Sail among the swiftest fleet,
Rocking on the highest billows,
Laughing at the storms you meet;
You can stand among the sailors,
Anchored yet within the bay,
You can lend a hand to help them
As they launch their boats away.   ~  Your Mission, Ellen M. H Gates

 

My work is as ever, among the shadows of greater suns.

          Still, today, He lifts the veil a little.

My Time has come

…this new hour of building

          Something is ahead. Something different from the usual rebuilding of torn down structures. A newness to the coming hours. Slowly, it dawns on me that the recent weeks of being buffeted by lashing winds didn’t affect my quality of work – because God was trying to show me that was my place, to steadily build on but to build by the sidelines of life. Not in the centre of a field easily sighted; but in the purposeful hiddenness to be seen only by those who are seeking.

          In Jesus’ gentle way, He wants me to learn that I am not placed in the open fields to catch the eye of the multitudes because I am not meant to be there for everyone. My vineyard is only for the wounded, the trampled, the weak, the fearful.

          Those who are not looking up, searching for suns,  but whose gaze is cast down. Those are the ones God has given to me. The broken and the hurt. The humble and the hidden.

          That is why no other vineyard will do but this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Answer Comes

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God has answered me. Troubled by the Sri Lanka Easter Day bombings, I had asked God to tell me what to do. Exactly 3 days after my asking, He answers through another person,

Pray a special Rosary for the Muslim fasting month.

From May till early June.

Pray for conversion of Muslim hearts.

 

          When I asked Him 3 days before, I was restless and anxious. Then, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque calmed me with,

This divine Heart is naught but sweetness, humility and patience, therefore, we must wait. . . He knows when to act.  

Her words made me realise that patient wait went hand-in-hand with humility. I saw that my fretting was caused by my lack of humility – I was impatient with God; I wanted to lead. Once I saw that, I returned to doing His will in my daily life. I went to work. I cared for my family. I worked as hard as I could in quietness. When the tough hours drained me of vigour, I forced myself to be grateful for littles. Over and over, I prayed from the depths of my heart, Lord, Forgive me for I have sinned.

          And all through the 3 days, I sensed the softest, lightest breath upon my spirit, saying,

For reparation

For reparation

For reparation

          On the evening of the 3rd day, a friend’s words moved me to pray to forgive those who hurt me. I did not think of my family members. Instead, immediately, I thought of my superiors and some co-workers. And again, from the depths of my heart, I prayed, I forgive…

          The very next instant, God spoke and told me He wanted the Conversion Rosary. The Muslim fasting month presents the same danger we as Christians face in Lent – the abyss of spiritual pride. Spiritual pride that comes when we think we are great for the fasting we do each day, for the number of prayers we recite, for the various added Lenten rituals.

          But in many ways, it is harder for them. They have no Jesus who fought off the devil. They do not have Jesus’ example. They do not have His words. So, when pride assails them in that desert of deprivation, it finds an easy target.

          And they emerge from the fasting month, worse than before, for being nourished by pride.

Pride in any hands is a deadly weapon.

          But we have a weapon far greater, far more powerful – the Rosary. It is a weapon that can defeat any other because it is a weapon of love and of humility – not of pride, not of arrogance, not of hatred.

          It is this same journey of humble and loving entreaty that God is asking of me in this May Rosary. Not to demand, but in love and humility, to pray for the conversion of brethren Muslim spirits.

          That with us, they too seek to love and obey the Divine Heart of Jesus.

 

 

 

Lent 23 ~ I Seal My Heart

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          All through the night, at each gentle awakening,

I seal my heart in Your Tabernacle

          The prayer of consoling Jesus, even when sleep might take me away from Him. For some reason, I was peacefully bound to this prayer last night. Perhaps someone was in need. Or that God needed the silence of my will to work on my heart. Or even yet another way He is helping me to keep my eyes on Him.

          As the gentle rain ties diamonds everywhere it falls, I too secure my heart to Jesus once more,

I seal my heart in Your Tabernacle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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