DIVINE MERCY CHAPLET

Lent 36 ~ Water from the Wounds

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          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 14 ~ Sigh of the Prisoner

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Let the prisoners’ sighing come before You,

with Your great power free those doomed to death. ~ Psalm 79:11

          Last year, I wrote of one of my superiors at work who has the unfortunate disposition of crushing hearts and spirits. He doesn’t do it unknowingly; he does it with cruel and calculated intent.

          I’ve been his target for the past 12 years. One day last year, he broke me finally.

          Deeply hurt, I turned to God.

          And the God I turned to turned me decidedly towards praying in mercy for this man. No retribution plea He allowed. No arm about me, no flooding of heavenly comfort into my heart either.

          The balm for my pain lay in the mercy prayer for this man’s soul.

          And so, I prayed. Of course, it didn’t come easy. Revenge can be as strong a manacle of my heart as it is for this man who hurt me. The only difference is I seldom act on it. But revenge maintained a malevolent vigil even as I forced myself to pray that this man be saved.

          I was taken through several prayers as I went from one level of healing to the next. When I first began, it was a simple yet powerful, Blood of Christ on him, Blood of Christ on me. The angels tinkled the prayer chimes every time I saw him at work. Every time he entered my thoughts. I said the prayer when my heart softened from time to time. I said it when my heart hardened in anger every time bitter memories won out.

          And after a time, I was led to the Divine Mercy Chaplet for him. By this time, there was no more inner struggle to pray for him. I didn’t have to be dragged to the prayer. I said it with some dedication too.

          And whenever I slipped in my routine, God sent me dreams of the man and his power to hurt, He allowed little nips at work too – to take me scurrying back to the Cradle of Grace, seeking life for the man.

          I have read to some extent of the immense power of prayer. It can work in ways we least expect.

          Great imagination that I have, it failed me with regards to this man. Despite all my reading and experiences on the miracles prayers can obtain, I couldn’t fathom how my puny prayers this time were going to save his soul – because he barely changed. I finally reached the point where I stopped caring about where my prayers for this man were headed, and how they were going to be answered. I was called to say them, and I did.

          I placed whatever disappointment I had in the lack of signs of conversion, in Mother Mary’s heart. And while I continued to pray for him, in this way, I moved on too.

          Then, one day at Mass, through one of the readings, I heard a voice tell me that this man could not change because the dark pride in him went back a long way; his bloodlines had been contaminated from a long time before.

          I was stupefied. What did it mean? After all my effort, this??!! God let me puzzle over this for many long weeks.

          And then, a tiny bud began to bloom. An Unseen Heart gently drew me to the Prayer of the Holy Wounds. For a reason I have no explanation for, two weeks ago, I began to determinedly place this man in Jesus’ Holy Wounds. I put him and four others in Christ’s sacred Wounds, I imagined them there, deep within, and prayed for the Blood of Christ to flood them all, cleansing every bloodline, helping each one to love God more than themselves.

          Every day, I offered that same Prayer of the Holy Wounds at the start of the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Each time I prayed it, the prayer became a little less about me, and more about saving him.

          Then, at the beginning of the new week, these lines of the Responsorial Psalm caught my heart ~

Let the prisoners’ sighing come before You;
with Your great power free those doomed to death.

          At any other time, reading those words would have made me immediately see myself as that Prisoner, because I have too much of mercy for myself.

          But this time, this time was different.

          The moment I saw the words, I saw my superior’s face.

          I knew then that while I only saw him as a sneak and a bully and all things negative and unpleasant before this, in God’s compassionate gaze, this man was a prisoner.

          And by extension of that, if I held on to my negative perception of my superior – however justified it was, but without the compassion of mercy and forgiveness, – then, I was being his jailer.

          Slowly, ever so slowly, the flower of comprehension began to bloom more petals. The Prayer of the Holy Wounds was as much for me as it was for that unfortunate man.  Christ’s Sacred Wounds had freed me from being the jailer of this soul. 

          And I now know with a deep certainty that my Jesus’ Wounds will now free this man’s soul.

          As often, as deeply  and as selflessly as I continue to place this man into the Holy Wounds, this prisoner will be freed to begin to seek the only God there is.

          And the conversion will begin.

Lent 12 ~ Wounds for Glory

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          I have been trying to stay faithful to my Atonement Rosary ~ The Divine Mercy Chaplet. Lately, through dreams and other experiences my family and I have faced, I know that as Sr. Lucia dos Santos of the Fatima Apparitions revealed, the family is the latest battleground. The family is under attack.

          And I fear for us.

          I wish I could be stoic and unflinching, with an Abraham-esque faith. Unshaken by storms and uncertainties; clear-minded and loyal to every asking of God. But I have too much of Peter in me. One squall and I’m ready to jump out of the boat.

          This morning was no different. Because of my working hours, I have now taken to reciting the Divine Mercy Chaplet during my dawn Holy Hour. In the past week, I have begun to pray for the family’s persecutors. I wish I could say I pray the chaplet with love for my fellow men.

          I do not.

          I pray it with fear. No matter how many times I kick myself over it, whenever I pray for my husband and children’s protection, I still pray with no small amount of trepidation. What we have been through in years past, what we have recently faced, they make me afraid of what else is in store for us, and if our walls will hold.

          This morning, I went to the Chaplet with the same agitation. After the 2nd decade, at the start of the 3rd, about to petition for protection for my loved ones, I lost the prayer.

          It was slipped away from me. In its place was:

Give us the courage to bear our wounds that God’s Glory may shine through them.

          The minute the prayer got out, I twisted and flailed to pull it back.

          I didn’t want wounds. We have had enough for two lifetimes. We are a family that struggles with wounds and woundings; it would be sheer insanity to accept, to ask for any more. So, I quickly tried to tack on a couple of caveats.

         But an unseen hand had once more swiped the prayer out of my staining reach. I felt like I was down below, gazing up at my prayer held high, away from me.

         I completed the decade, and went on to the 4th. Again, at the beginning, the same attempt to pray for protection. And yet again, it was gently taken away and replaced ~

Give us the courage to bear our wounds that God’s Glory may shine through them.

          God’s Will Be Mine, I finally whispered, the fight gone out of me. I don’t know how we’d cope with any more lashings; we don’t stand among the strong, for sure. But suddenly, my wobbly love for God wins out. It is along those lines that my heart falls into peace. We may not be soldier material, but we have always loved. And if love calls us to bear our wounds for others, just like Jesus bore His for us, then my family and I must – no matter how afraid and spiritually timid we are. Because the Miracle of the Glorified Cross shines brightest through wounds borne for Love.

          Because to bear our wounds is a sacrifice. To bear our wounds is to praise God.

          And to offer praise as a sacrifice is to glorify God.

Lent 5 ~ That Stones Be Moved

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          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.

 

The Days Are Near

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          About two weeks ago, a friend pointed me to St Matthew’s caution:

From Matthew 24:

Jesus said..[15] When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.[16] Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains: [17] And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house: [18] And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat. …[21] For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. [22] And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.

 

          It has been weeks of being in a deadened state inside. From being unable to ‘feel’ much, I have progressed to being unable to feel anything. The intuition I’ve long relied on, the press of spirit that is my personal tool of discernment…it’s all gone. Dead. The great beauty of the world around me, the smell of the winds, the bird melodies – all that means so much to me – now fall upon deadened senses. That is my inner condition. Nothing arouses me. Everything is bare and empty inside.

          But something sparked the day I read those verses in Matthew 24. A spark that immediately transported me into a state of internal alertness, when nothing else could.

          In that brief moment, I knew I was being asked to pay attention.

          Just one spark and immediately after, I went dead again.

          Until Hurricane Matthew roared to life last week.

          There’s something about this new hurricane. It could be argued that it’s tugging at me only because it shares the same name as the Gospel that caught me. But even if it is true, why is it that, while nothing else can bring my spirit to life, this hurricane can? By doing the very same that Matthew 24 did to me -sparking life in what seems dead? By renewing the zeal to storm heaven for others? No other news or article is able to do that. No other beauty. No other joy.

          Only Matthew 24 and this hurricane of the same name.

          Still wondering, I caught sight of a New York Times headline:

As Hurricane Matthew nears U.S., Residents Get Warning: Prepare

          Prepare.

          A common enough word. Except that it reached out and caught me. The same word from Lent this year – Prepare for A Coming Waters. To be dead, but to come alive only by this – is He helping me filter out the inconsequential so the eyes of my spirit rest only on what matters?

          I return to the matter at hand. Matthew? Hurricane? Prepare? Which do I focus on? Immediately, I felt the others fade out, leaving only PREPARE. The coming months look to be the busiest ever for me. To be stilled right in the middle of a frenetic pace of work tells of the exigency of the call to pull away and go into the mountains.

          Prepare

          I resolve to deepen my prayers begging for God’s mercy for my family, myself. For dying and dead souls who have lost sight of the Light. I lash my will to the Divine Mercy chaplet.

          Then, I recall the words that stayed before my eyes at Mass last week:

Say to them, The days are near… ~ Ezekiel 12:23