Uncategorized

Be Ever My Friend

 

jacinta-marto-2.jpg

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.

 

 

Advertisements

Lent 36 ~ Water from the Wounds

Jesus_on_Gethsemane

          Since Sunday, I have been trying to get the family to reduce the hours we spend on ourselves, and instead, carve out minutes for the Lord through an additional Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Throughout the course of each day, when school and work ends and we come home, we slip away to our nooks for a bit, and offer a decade as often as we can.

          It’s not much, I know. Not when you compare it with the greatness of what many others offer the suffering Lord in this most holy of weeks. Not when churches are being bombed and lives being snatched away. Not when even those short minutes we give Him are pock-marked with distractedness and hurry and so many other mottles.

          But small it may be, it is willed by heaven for us. And I know it because I am not capable of pulling this out of my own head. It wasn’t until some days into it, that I realized that we were, in fact, consoling the Wounded Heart of Jesus. It has given me much joy to be able to at least offer this; greater joy that the family is part of it too for the first time. All we offered were our minutes. We didn’t ask for anything in return. 

          And yet, the short days we have lived since Sunday are different. There’s a depth and gentle peace overshadowing the tired hours. Despite the hectic work-calls. Despite the little pricks of hurt and humiliations that form the fabric of every life.

          I put out my hands and receive this grace of Holy Week peace and strength with deep joy. And with sadness too because what we have received is so very much more than what we have given. Jesus had no one with Him in those terrible hours of Agony. Today, so many lifetimes later, my family and I timidly approach Gethsemane; sometimes we reach out and touch Him, often we stay among the shadows of busyness and self.   

          And yet, He holds it not against us, but sears us with His Love, far beyond the worth of our blighted offerings.

          This love which I suddenly feel with a new keenness enflames my heart with a yearning to go beyond our Gethsemane offerings, to do more for the Suffering Jesus. This too is new for me. I do not belong to the company of those who willingly suffer for Christ. Spiritual timidity renders me a shabby candidate for this esteemed group who love their Lord with all their soul to the point of death. The prayer to escape suffering must be, by far, the prayer I most often pray.

          Hence, the wanting to suffer for Him now takes me a bit by surprise. Do what? I wonder. Almost instantaneously, I see a situation unfold itself before me. It is a work situation with several very unpleasant people. People bent on making other lives a misery. People who thrive on the pain of others. And I sense Jesus wanting me to go forwards and face this lot for Him. Not to run away, to avoid them – even if it is to keep the peace. But to bravely face them if need be and to be genuinely sweet about it. To do it for Jesus.

          I wanted to run and hide instead.

          I didn’t want to see these arrogant and rude people, much less be sweet about it, because I know who they are and what they were capable of. I didn’t want to be punched in my face, so it didn’t make sense to go looking for a punch.

          An hour later, striding into work, hoping not to be asked to be sweet, I saw a familiar form on a nearby seat. There she is, I thought caustically, my sour little owl, praying rain on everyone.

          Then I heard my own voice in my head, Do it for the Wounded Jesus.

          For my Wounded Jesus, I whispered obediently. Before I could even process that, I realized I was smiling at the woman.

          I got a sullen stare for my efforts, and I’d be lying to say it didn’t hurt because I’ve never done such a thing to anyone. But I whispered again, For my Wounded Jesus, although I felt no love in my heart for that woman.

          That was the only test I faced today, and in the later hours, I did wonder why there weren’t more. After all, I didn’t fare that well; my heart wasn’t flooded with love. Not for that person. Not for the Cross either. It felt more like failure than anything else.

          It wasn’t until I stumbled home from work, bone-weary, very late in the day, that I realized something had happened as a result of the single For my Wounded Jesus. From that moment of suffering, tiny though it was, a gentle and cheery patience had begun gurgling and bubbling thorough my spirit like a happy brook, silvering its way through quiet fields. Despite the tough work day, on and on that little stream went forth, spilling its diamonds into one weary riverbed pocket after another.

          Again, for one paltry offering, an overflowing of grace in return.

          The eyes of my heart go to the Divine Mercy. The stream of comprehension slowly reaches me. Rays of Blood and Water emanating from the Holy Wounds.

          I realise what I have received today. Water from the Wounds.

Lent 32 ~ Priests

Jesus-Christ-Praying-Wallpapers-15

Some visitors were one day discussing in her presence the faults of a certain priest who had been forbidden to say Mass. Jacinta began to weep for sorrow and she said that people should not talk about priests but they should rather pray for them. She herself often prayed for priests and asked others to do the same. ~ of Jacinta Marto, Fatima seer.

          I am tired and worn out by the week, yet able to pray, but unable to pray for others since the past Sunday. The only prayer allowed me as I reach for the Rosary is the prayer of an emptied vessel. Since Sunday, it feels as if I am only allowed to approach God in this way.

          Yet, it is not a form of spiritual dryness. Despite my physical weariness, my heart sings in a skip of joy. It’s just that although I cannot pray for anyone, the feeling is Someone is assuring me that those of my old prayers are all taken care of. And this was one of the messages in a double dream I had last year on the feast day of St Jude.

          These puzzling developments in my prayer life take me back to an October 28th dream of a huge white map in the sky. A map that showed Africa especially, a bit of Europe and to diminished extent – Asia. A blank, brilliant white map of Africa. In the dream, I chose to ignore the map in the sky. As I walked on, I saw a big statue of Our Lady of Fatima. When I saw it, I looked back up at the map suspended in the sky above, and I was filled with a deep, deep fear.

          Right after, the second dream began. I was at a St Jude church, where I saw people crammed into a little green church. Happy people.

          They seemed well take care of. Spiritually well taken care of.

          I had the sudden feeling that they were those I had prayed for. And that they were secure in the Arms of God. Sensing my work there was done, as I moved to leave the church grounds, I felt a voice write this on my heart ~

          Pray for others

          In a way I cannot explain better, I knew immediately, the exhortation was linked to the dream of the white map in the sky. That I was to leave the old petitions behind, and move on to the new.

          Since that dream in the old October of 2016, I’ve gone back to its core over and over again, wondering especially at the call to leave behind the old prayers and to move on to others. As often as I’ve wondered, I have looked out for new causes and tried to pray about them too.

     But it has not been entirely successful. I kept getting pulled back. I didn’t understand why it was that I couldn’t move on. I didn’t understand why God didn’t help me if that was what He wanted me to do.

          It was pretty frustrating.

          Yesterday, I had wanted to journey with Blessed Francisco Marto, one of the Fatima seers. I wanted to keep him close to me and to console Jesus as he did. But it was a tough and busy day, and Francisco got lost in the hours. I arrived at the humid night chimes, annoyed with myself.

          Before I went to bed, I made one last stab to place my heart close to Francisco. I prayed that he and Our Lady of Fatima come and be beside me.

          I believe they did.

          When I awakened, the October dreams appeared before me. Suddenly, I realized why the white brilliance of the map had seemed familiar. It was the white of Our Lady of Fatima. Something of Fatima was going to touch and completely envelope the continents. Beginning with Africa. But for the spirit of Fatima to take root in hearts there, I think pain might have to come first.

          As my mind stayed with that illumination, another was brought – the second dream and the call to leave behind old prayers and to move on to new calls. My previous efforts hadn’t worked because I had wrongly interpreted the timing. I had erred in assuming that I was to heed the call immediately. And so, I had thrust forward of my own accord, but because the timing was not in His will, my efforts went up against a wall.

          I wasn’t meant to move on then; but I was to, now.

          That was why the petitions were being dried up since Sunday. Petitions were mine. Even if they were about people I cared for and needs close to my heart, they were ultimately mine.

          God was now asking for a complete surrender of my prayer~will to Him. He would allow prayers as long as they were emptied for Him to fill.

          As the light dawned brighter, my eyes were turned to that account of Jacinta Marto who had been upset that people preferred to tear down a priest, however justified it seemed, than to turn to the mercy of prayer. As I read the account again, I knew it was no coincidence that I was led there because I had lived that same experience.

          Ten years before, I had been with a seriously sick child in a hospital room. A child who had feared our then parish priest because of his terrible, uncontrollable temper. Some visitors came to visit us in the hospital room. Like it had been with Jacinta, with us too the conversation steered towards priests, that priest in particular.

          And the conversation was far from charitable.

          Although I didn’t contribute any morsels to the character assassination, I disliked the priest immensely. In fact, I feared him for his ability to hurt.

          As the conversation wore on about this priest, I began to sense an odd, odd sadness. It was a sadness deep and heartbreaking.

          One spirit glance at it and I knew it was not mine. It was coming from elsewhere.

          In the next instant, I knew it was this very sick child’s sorrow. This shy, gentle child so very much like little Francisco Marto.

          This little one with me who feared this priest and his violent anger, was grieving over the way the priest was being torn down.

          The realization seared and shocked me then.

          And today, after a night kept in counsel with Francisco Marto and Our Lady of Fatima, the pearling of the dawn skies brought with it the discernment of old dreams, and the understanding of what I am to do next.

          To withdraw from malice. To pray for priests.

 

Lent 9 ~ St Basil’s Prayer

big_thumb_91ed21b0056354ad88710f3e941d70a4

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 5 ~ That Stones Be Moved

beautiful-nature-river-rocks-trees-mountains-dawn-fog-1080p-wallpaper-middle-size          

          This past week, I read of suicides.

          A 21-year-old mother texted her young husband, I love you forever, I’m sorry, and then tied her two-year-old to her, and went into the shadowed sea. The waters returned the mother and her wee one to the sands of the beach some days later.

          Midweek, I found Sally Wessely’s delightful blog, and it was humbling and beautiful to read and to see the pictures of a woman embracing life in all its lilts and dips so enthusiastically. Reading about the way Sally chose to live her everydays brought a skip into my heart, and her posts helped me to be more grateful for life’s little pressies of blooms and winds and rain curtains.

          Then, I saw suicide in her sidebar menu, and I pulled it up. And I learned that Sally had known a sorrow no mother should ever have to face.

          Returning our children to God is never easy. The sorrow bites deep years and years on, evolving from one form to another. But sudden deaths, the snuffing out of flames that should have burned on beyond us, they bring a different dimension of hurt to those left behind. The wounding of hearts is…not the same.

          Grief in any form alters life, and grief in the wake of a single suicide can take more than that one life alone. The shock, the regret, that streams from a life abruptly ended before its time, has the dark power to twist and warp more lives into the abyss of desolation.

          As I ponder this loss, the dense night sky seems to be wearing the mourning veils of thousands of wounded hearts. I will never have the words for such pain – the torments that lead to suicide, and the anguish from a completed suicide. The path that leads to this death is a long scream in itself. It is a desolation that must be healed, yet its healing is not of this earth.

          The agonizing soul can only find respite and strength in the only Read Love there is – our Jesus’ love.

          Yet, many do not know Him. And even if they do, turning to God is not always the easiest thing to do, because that’s just who we are. There are too many rocks in the stream; we allow so many things to stand in the way.

          So, to my beads I go, to beg grace for the lights that are flickering, and for the healing  of hearts rent by suicide. In the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy I rest this desolation, bringing this wound of mortals to the depths of Grace.

          That stones be moved and the stream of Life flow unhindered once more.

 

Lent 1 ~ Snatching

small-gold-bell

          I heard the call of three bells in the week before Lent as I prayed for discernment for my Lenten journey.

          The first came through the word, Charity.

          When it first brushed against my spirit, I sniffed and turned away, because in my estimation, I was doing pretty well there. If anything, I needed to say No more often.

          But as it is with everything of heaven, it didn’t leave to flit over to other flowers. It remained like a tiny bell over my spirit, strung on a weave of gossamer, the slightest breeze a-stirring it.

          When the drowsy evening winds had whispered their silvery orange endnotes, and the bell still hadn’t learned silence, I knew I was to face a shadow I never realized was a part of me.

          I turned my heart towards heaven, and with no delay, the waiting angels laid this on my spirit,

Charity from the mind

          As I firmly kept my gaze on the words, the Spirit filtered gentle light through my mind.

          In my relationships with others, every battle of spirit I have faced has been fought in the distant fields of my heart, although each battle had birthed in my mind. Instead of being snuffed out right there in its place of origin, each wounding was sent on its way to my heart, where the battle was often long and drawn out.

          Simply because the fires had been allowed to rage unchecked for far too long.

          The charity I was now being called to was the mental discipline of turning each hurt and negative thought – the very second it budded – to love – through a prayer of Mercy. If I spied a negativity or if anyone hurt me, I had to now immediately wrap that person in a prayer of Mercy.

          There was no time to be wasted. It had to be done swiftly. No weighing of options. No indulging in anger or hurt.

          As I continued to absorb this tutoring, I realized this kind of prayer felt almost like …. Snatching. Quick and abrupt. Snatching soul after soul, and depositing them in the Ark of Grace. And then, moving on to more souls.

          Snatching souls through Charity.

          Snatching…..because time is short.

When The Greatest Was Before Me

family

For all the times I’ve

taken my family for granted,

carped for no good reason,

soured the day for them with my selfishness,

postponed hugs and kisses;

For all the times I’ve not run to see

the flowers they planted

or the purple ribbon clouds in a sunset sky that ensnared a child,

or the drawers tidied unasked, un-nagged,

or the card trick perfected;

For all the times I’ve

not closed my eyes and allowed their laughter to wreathe roses around my heart,

not sent them off on their day with a prayer,

not overlooked the trivial but magnified them,

not loved them the way God meant them to be loved,

Lord, forgive me.

I press each head and heart into Yours,

Each weep and giggle and whispered secret to You I give,

For gifts to me they are,

Though many I’ve left unopened

Chasing rainbows man held out to me

Seeking gold in mines not meant

When the greatest was before me.

 

 

 

 

Book of Family

wallpapersxl-giant-gril-girl-reading-a-book-digital-art-414386-1920x1200

          I have always been a task-oriented person, living with lists in my head, living for the addictive high of triumphant crossing off of items on list after list after list. When little or nothing got ticked off, the days were empty and dry and that colored my hours with the ochre of frustration. The Advent list is a formidable one. Every Advent, I’d stand, eyeing the horizon of weeks before me, with a grim determination to find my Christmas joy through the accomplishments of baking, cooking, cleaning, teaching, card-making, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.

          I could only enjoy my husband and children if the home was in order, and if I had crossed enough off my list for the day.

          To slow down, to rest my spirit in the Advent hollows away from worldly winds, has never been easy. I have never really known Advent silence, never fully savoured its sacred fragrance. There was always something or someone from the world to draw me away from the pulse of true Christmas.

          And because I’ve never fully stilled my spirit in the deeps of Gloria angel~calls, I never saw that the hearts of my children and husband needed a special infilling of my presence. They yearned a different part of my love, one unsullied by rush, hurry and a crowding of days. More than the number of things I could cook them or do for them, my beautiful loves needed me to rest my heart in them, and not rush off before they had had their fill of me.

          But it was a bidding I could never completely fulfil, so deeply enmeshed was I in the web of busyness, woven from the strands of a hundred lists.

          Till this year.

          The months of seeking inner solitude lit a fresh pink dawn of difference. Ever since this Advent bloomed in the russet beauty of a year slowly edging to its yearned end, I sensed the closing of many doors. So many holiday-things – the books I had hoped to read, the cards I had hoped to make, the writing for my work that always got done in the winding down months of November and December – never materialized or were delayed.

          The past few years, I’ve always been brought a book that would take me on an inner retreat, right from the start of Advent. This had been my Lord’s way to prepare my heart and soul for Christmas.

          And, this year, like always, I waited for my book.

          What came was unexpected. The angels brought me the book of my very own Family.

          This Advent, I felt the firm tread of angels into my home, on a mission to take my heart and press it into the folds of my family. Never before have I been ‘buffeted’ from every angle, with family, as I have experienced this year. From the very first Advent morning, my husband and children have been before my eyes like never before. I am loving them and enjoying them and savouring their beauty as something I have always known, yet find new and fresh. I am doing all I have done before – all the cooking, the cleaning and the nurturing, and yet, there is a new lingering in embraces, a calm and happy savouring of little moments, delighting in shy buds of the precious that peek out through the day like tiny tea~roses amongst thorns and leaves alike.

          This Advent I learned the languidness that disdains the hurry to rush to the next call of worldly need.

          And suddenly, this unhurried loving has opened my eyes to the loving of other families around me. For the first time, I am not only seeing, but also finding life in witnessing the love that binds other parents and grandparents to their children and grandchildren. Where once, seeing this love would have tree-d a wistful ache within me for the same, now my spirit dances joy~swirls as I feast my eyes upon this faithful love of old blooming in other lives.

          The love within a family for one another, surpassed only by God’s love for us, dances before my new eyes, in a myriad of moves. The mother-in-law gently caring for her pregnant daughter-in-law. The trusting embrace of children secure in their father’s devotion. Old and worn grandparents giving to the last drop their love and caring for young grandchildren. The firm assurance of love of children leading their aged beloved down the steps, through the sunset of life. 

          True family love finds its soul through the treasuring of one another. True family love passes through tunnels of sacrifice, to arrive at wide pastures of love, blessed and nourished by the Lord of Love Eternal. Love for one another can never be forged through the absence of sacrifice and savouring. We can never love merely from the pulpit of advices and admonitions, distancing from the rigors of needed sacrifice. We cannot say we love if we are unable to press our own hearts against the little pulses of each family member’s daily journeys.

There is no real love without sacrifice. And when savouring and treasuring is diminished, love is blighted.

          We have lost much, my family and I. Many years spent in sorrowful servitude to parents who never knew what love meant. Nothing we did was ever enough for them. Grandparents who never trilled to little stories and small paws seeking old hands. The Baptisms and birthdays they missed and dismissed. Impatience at lives lived in quiet, away from worldly dictates. Mocking of the Holy Family values and simple joys we strived to live by, however imperfectly. We were the country bumpkins they were ashamed of because we eschewed city life and values. Our simplicity embarrassed them. They tried to polish us to fit into their wealthy and sophisticated social circles, but failed.

          And with that failure, their contempt knew no bounds.

          Yes, our loss has indeed be great, harder, because while they never loved us, we loved them with all our heart.

          Adult survivors of Narcissistic personality abuse live with the sneering and twisting voices of our jailers through too much of our lives. To escape, many of us keep busy.

Very busy.

          We live for lists. And we live for goals and achievements, because accomplishments hush the contempt of our narcissistic jailers who raised us to believe we were useless and incapable. For many of us, this busyness we escape to, blinds and deafens us to much of the healing beauty and truth in the world.

          But this Advent, the bitter potency of what my children and I have endured and lost through narcissistic parents, has slowly begun to mist into oblivion. The sorrowing wounds left behind by countless hackings, washed and bound by lives lived right, by the many people who simply choose to love their children and grandchildren.

          It is a choice based on the pure love of God. These good people may not be conscious of it, but it is a fact that when we love with a purity not shadowed by narcissism, we love with the Love of God.

          As I watch this love, I realize I have to make a conscious choice to move away from busyness and instead savour and enjoy my family. And when I begin, a miracle pearls in my own life – the miracle of Healing. As I heal, so too my family, through the witness of faithful love of other, true parents and grandparents. All loving their families as it was meant to be. Strangely, although we are not the immediate recipients of this love in other families, just seeing the way they have chosen to love, is streaming life and healing into our own wounds.

           I number among those struck blind and deaf from the hurt of abuse by those God chose to be my parents. But I believe in Jesus and Jesus promised that the blind will see and the deaf will hear. 

          That tender promise is blooming true in me now. Rather than seeking self-worth through accomplishments and meaningless servitude, I am willfully choosing to love and savour my family by lingering in family moments.

          And I am healing through each rose~blushed page turned, as I take the time to read my own book of family.

 

 

 

 

Vigil

advent-1

          For as long as I can remember, Advent had always been about buying gifts for others, gleefully wrapping those precious littles, choosing the right cards and happily posting them. As a young woman, when I returned to my parents’ home every weekend, it was all about cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. In my younger days with my parents, the kitchen would be in a storm come Advent. But as with everything else in that old life lived amongst shadows, nothing good took root for long.

          When I married and the children came, and the sun spilled gold into my life, Christmas gifts didn’t feature as prominently because my husband and I didn’t want the children to grow up associating Christmas with gifts. So, while we did buy them new clothes, we did it casually. My in-laws were good, simple people not given to gift-giving nor to receiving gifts. I soon discovered that the best gift I could give them was to do the Christmas cooking and give them the break they deserved.

          My life became a lot simpler and much of the fussy flounces and ruffles I came with got trimmed with marriage. Yet, the noise in my spirit was as loud as ever each Advent, with the frenzy I got myself into cleaning and polishing my own home, cooking and baking. As the children grew up, Advent also became a time to nourish them in a special way, and I spent looooooooong hours making up Christmas story booklets, Yuletide worksheets and angel coloring cutouts.

          I was more than weary by the time the joyous pink Christmas morn rent the purple~blue bosom of the old vigil.

          This year, Advent has tiptoed in gently. I’m sensing an inner tug to tread the mossy paths of quiet and hidden wait. I hear the angels’ call to will quiet into my Advent, moving away from the enticing frenzy that only Christmas can bud and bloom. It is not a drastic change that I seek, to the way I have always coloured the tingling weeks of November and December. I will still clean and bake and cook and teach, but I pray for a deep stillness to permeate every crease and layer of my soul, to water every dry and distracted crack and burrow, with the dew of blessed waiting.

          This year, I lean my spirit against heaven’s door, and ask for the grace of a silent and faithful vigil that blooms pure, yet, hidden, alongside the calls of life and living.

Call of the Easter Wind

sands-wind-friend-photo-wait-dog-animal-hd-wallpaper[1].jpg

          In the sun bloom of Easter in pilgrim hearts, there is felt in many, a stirring. For many, a bell~chime to deeper prayer. A spirit gentled to love. A nudge towards Truth.

          And for some, an unmasking. Of ourselves. Of others.

          Bit by bit, the winds unclip the covers we cower behind, and the veil begins to slip. Our sins and gifts alike, shone upon by a new Light, granting us a seeing into roads of past, and the new walk we are now called to. Fear is not the response sought of us, but a spirit that is freshened and humbled by the outpouring of Easter grace feels within it a new strength – an Easter strength – to face the graves of the past; a strength to trace in faith, the mist-wrapped paths ahead.

          The Easter blessings are there for one and all, to weather in courage, all that lie ahead, remembering in holy humility, the missteps of the past – guideposts for the future.

          Bit by slow bit, the winds come. To lift the sand grains that obscure our seeing of the true nature and intent of others. Slowly, the sands are brushed aside, and truth lifts towards us. We finally see people for they are

          We might see what we never imagined.

          We might see what we always suspected.

          We might see what we’d rather not.

          Pleasant or hurting, the Unmasking, – of ourselves, of others – is a grace we do not always receive in joy, in graciousness and in the humility of learning. Yet, receive it we must, because to continue believing in a falsehood simply because it is more comforting, because it troubles us less, is to live in a lie. There is no real nourishment to be found in pearls tumbling off a lying tongue. There is neither life nor hope in being tied to the wolves of pretense, deception and subterfuge – in us, and in others.

          When the Easter winds lift their call to our souls, we must seek the courage and will, to ponder the windnotes and what they bring to bear on our lives. We must seek heavenly discernment, even among bitter breezes. For they come not empty.

          Instead, hidden within, are the revelation lamps, to light what lies ahead for us.

wallup.net