In Transition


          The week began with 3 distinct nudges to pray for an awakening of the spirit.

          It started with In Sinu Jesu, read in obedience to the quietest of calls to leave my laptop and phone and instead, Tolle lege. Phrases like outpouring of the Holy Spirit, hearts will be opened, miracles and graces abound, synonymous with this Easter period moving towards Pentecost, suddenly reached out and caught my heart without warning.

          Just like that, I knew I had to pay attention.

          The next bell tinkled with a message from my godmother about a virtual Pentecost Pilgrimage. While the details didn’t tug at me in a deeper way, someone held my eyes a little longer on the word, Pentecost.

          The last chime came late on a Wednesday night. A story about a WWII vet who was now a pastor. He had been ill and had asked God to take his life, but God told him he was needed on earth and it was to gather people together to pray for a spiritual awakening. Because of Covid-19, that gathering had to be a spiritual gathering.

A meeting of praying hearts.

          And with that, it became clear what I had to do. While it was nothing that hadn’t been done before, initiating it was a first for me. I texted my godparents and we worked out a time to pray together from wherever we were. We didn’t need to thresh out any details beyond that, how we’d do it or for how long. Just that we would pray in our own ways for this awakening, hearts joined across 2 countries.

          The rest of the day was busy with work, mingled with a slight anxiousness that I’d miss that prayer meet. I also pondered what prayer I was called to. Did I just say whatever came to mind or was there to be a specific prayer for me?

          The answer came quickly enough. My prayer for the awakening was to be the Conversion Prayer in the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

O Blood and Water that gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus,

as a Fount of Mercy for us,

I trust in You.

          Late that Thursday night, waiting for one of my children to finish up for the night, my thoughts wandered to the Heart of Jesus, and from there, to the Wound in His side. I thought about the centurion who had inflicted that final wound on Jesus. Blood and Water had flowed out. Repentance and purification. A moment of searing revelation and utter contrition. An illumination.

Truly this man was the Son of God!   ~  Mark 15: 39

          Longinus was the name given to the centurion who had pierced Jesus. Tradition tells us that nothing had been the same for him since that moment of illumination.

          I slept deeply that night, awakening early on Friday morning. The moment I awoke, from a deep, unknown distance, I heard the lines of a familiar hymn,

I go before you always.
Come, follow Me, and I will give you rest.

‘         On and on, those lines wound through me, but still, as if from a great, great distance.

          I looked up that hymn and imagine how I felt when I saw its title,

Be Not Afraid

          Then, I read about its composer, Fr. Bob Dufford, and about his journey in creating that hymn and the journey the hymn took him on later.

I learned that God used that hymn to ease transitions.

          When I finally went to my Readings for Friday, my heart went still, for it was John 14: 1,

Jesus said to his disciples:
Do not let your hearts be troubled.

          I hadn’t known beforehand of the Gospel reading for Friday – but someone clearly did and had sung those lines early to lead me.

          From what I read, that hymn, Be Not Afraid, had a lot to do with transitions and fear of them.

          On Saturday morn, praying for the awakening, I recited the Conversion Prayer in my garden. Threading the prayer through quiet minutes scented by the white~gold of the sun, I watched unhurried, bees busy among the blooming flowers, and let the gentle breezes hold me in their sweet embrace.

          These weeks of the stay-home order have changed me, maybe even in ways unknown to me. Yet, I have little reason to believe that my workmates and superiors have changed for the better. How could I go back, how do I go back changed – but to a place and values still bound to an old where the sun doesn’t rise? To where I am welcomed one day and rejected the next, because I am an outsider. Not of their faith. Not of their race.

          To work alongside and beside the woman who does all she can to make sure I am aware of her hatred for me.

Be not afraid,

I go before you.

          Then, go before me, Jesus, I prayed that day. I thought about the woman whose jealousy and hatred draws from wells that seemingly never run dry. I cannot love her, Lord, I whispered. If love means to think good of her and to love her like I do my husband and my children, then it was beyond me. All I was capable of was to fight myself in not wishing her ill –  and even at that, I fall a hundred times. I imagined Jesus sitting in her place. Not Jesus in her – that was too much for me – but Jesus in her place, instead of her.

          I smiled at that. If only…

          A few short hours later, I learned that I had to return to work next week. Although the short notice caught me by surprise, I was surprisingly calm and resigned.

          Then, I learned that a new schedule had been put in place. That we would work in the office in teams and in shifts.

          The woman was not on my team, not on my shift.

          I thought of my imaginings earlier that day, under the arching majesty of the sun. Of Jesus beside me at work.

Be not afraid,

I go before you.

          Indeed He had. Things are changing. More than what is visible are the secret stirrings beneath the earth of our daily lives, all moving towards something. The inner call to pray for conversion of spirits, the new normal-s in every layer of life, are just part of this new journey of change.

Be not afraid,

I go before you.

          Jesus had come to tell me that it was time to rise and set out.

          We are in transition.

The Call of Jonah


          There was an August day two years ago, when I felt a sudden impulse to pray for Ireland. I’ve never been there, had no friends there at that time. All that linked me to Ireland then was Potato People, as a child being taught catechism in school by an Irish nun and growing up to love reading books by Irish writers.

          When this 2015 tug towards Ireland came out of nowhere, I didn’t know what to do about it.

          So, I did what I did know: the next morning, I offered a Rosary for Ireland.

          The moment the Rosary ended, I heard the strains of a hymn I hadn’t heard in years ~ Spirit, Be Our Spirit. It had been so long since I had heard it that I didn’t know the lyrics and had to look it up. On and on that song played in my head. All through my waking – and it seemed, even in my sleep – the second I awakened even for a bit, the song was in my ears. That was enough to tell me I needed to pay attention. Friends advised me to pray for the infilling of the Spirit for Ireland. I did, but it turned out that God wanted me to use the hymn as a direct prayer.


Spirit, be our spirit

in this time of searching for new life.

Open inner spaces with the fullness

of Your love.

Spirit, let us now be

and forever transformed for all humanity.

Movement of Your presence

heals and deepens our hope to freely live.

Gift of heart where truth springs

from the goodness that You’ve sown.

Spirit, let us now be

and forever transformed for all humanity.

Into desert silence

there to listen and be with open heart,

You shall lead us, thirsting;

and we turn from our fears: forgiving love.

Spirit, let us now be

and forever transformed for all humanity.

          And long after that hymn had misted away, the words transformed for all humanity remained suspended in my spirit.

          Last night, for some reason, I thought about a relative’s husband, a New Zealander. I knew little about him but I had been told that he was a lovely young man who loved his wife with a purity and tenderness not often visible these days.

          This morning, I awakened to another hymn, Be Thou My Vision. It didn’t play insistently in my mind, but gently wound through my thoughts as I went about my household chores.

          Out in the morning sun, I kept looking up at the blue sky dressed in greys and whites. The clouds seemed to be in some indecision. They were in various forms, moving restlessly from south to north, west to east. Warm winds whistled through the tree branches in an urgent song of their own.

          As I worked, Be Thou My Vision refusing to leave me, my heart wondered at the language that the skies and the winds were speaking. There were secrets being passed between them.

          Something was troubling the grass-scented air.

          In a single wind~wisp, it came to me. My relative’s Kiwi husband was of Irish ancestry. Be Thou My Vision was an old Irish hymn.

          Ireland again. My spirit was being troubled over Ireland once more. But with a far greater urgency than before.

          I flew to contact a friend I now knew there. A powerful storm, Ophelia, was bearing down on Ireland. The earlier calm within me was gone. As I prayed for Ireland and its people to be protected, this prayer came strongly:

O Blood and Water that gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus,

as a Fount of Mercy for us,

I trust in You.

The Divine Mercy Conversion Prayer. The prayer that promised conversion for any soul prayed for as long as I prayed it with deep contrition for my sins.

         I thought of my many wrongdoings of late. I plunged myself into the heart of Mercy, begging God for forgiveness, so that nothing would stand in the way of my pleadings for the land of Ireland, so strangely close to my heart. Over and over, I pleaded the Blood of Christ on this nation blessed by the Knock Apparitions.

          As I write this, Ophelia has possibly claimed 3 lives. I don’t know how many more will cross the shores because of this storm bearing a name which some accounts say means helper and others – serpentine – sly, cunning – perhaps denoting a struggle between the Holy Spirit and satan. But more than that, the cold in my spirit tells me that it is not the sorrows that Ophelia hides in her gills that ought to be feared.

         It is what would follow her if the dirge of the Nineveh repentance is not sounded in every soul.

          We should fear. Fear what comes after the storm.

          Because Ophelia is the call of Jonah.



A Deepening


          Yesterday brought into the day a deepening of a struggle – my Christian faith against this one other faith. My Christian space against this particular one. My rights against it. This is not a new struggle, it’s been close to twenty years, of being trampled upon, abused – by those who adhere to the tenets of this particular religion. This is a religion of a thousand dictates. Here there is no such thing as a conscience – they do not even recognize it. All it seeks is a rigid and robotic adherence to its tenets, even as the rights of the living and the unborn are abused, the innocent maimed or killed, marriages and family life destroyed by polygamy, abortion, incest and child marriages.

          Yesterday, I reached some kind of breaking point. I received news that my attendance was required at a national programme for a specific work community whose members come from every race and religious creed. But I soon found out that the programme was going to be interpreted through the lens of this particular religion. The greatness of this religion, to be specific.

          I felt as if I was tethering on the threshold of spiritual nausea. We had just heard news of an 11 year old who had died from abuses inflicted on him by a religious school warden (that religion, again). It brought back memories of last year when my own child had been hit at school and the lengths we had to go through to ensure our children were safe at school here.

          And now hearing that I had to participate in an event that was merely an excuse to extol the eminence of this farcical and cruel religion, it took all I had. I had gone past the last gates of tolerance and patience. I had nothing left in me.

          In raw desperation, I looked into familiar nooks for consolation, hope. But it felt like pulling on locked doors. Until night came, and with it, our family Rosary time. I flung myself, heart and soul into the recitation of the Luminous Mysteries. I tried meditating on the mysteries, tried emptying myself to be filled by God Himself – but this was not one of those days. I was too filled and full of my own frustrations; I needed to find the stopper that plugged the keg, only then could I find release.

Please help me, Mother Mary, please help me, I begged. Take this Cross away or give me the strength to face it, to carry it.

          Rosary ended with no discernible sign that the bitter chalice was not to be mine to drink from. I went to bed exhausted. I love Thee, O Lord, I love Thee, O Lord, I love Thee, O Lord, I prayed from the depths of my weakness, seeking the only Hand that could comfort me.

          When I awoke, I was less than ready to face the day. The tough work week had left me tired out; the struggle I was now facing, depleting my energy even more. But it was an important work day and I didn’t dare lie back for some extra minutes in case I slept off. Not this on this day, I told myself firmly. As I sat up, a song burst in my head.

On this day, O beautiful Mother,
On this day we give thee our love.
Near the, Madonna, fondly we hover,
Trusting thy gentle care to prove.

On this day we ask to share,
Dearest Mother, thy sweet care;
Aid us ere our feet astray
Wander from thy guiding way.

          The hymn beat out any other thought. It had been very long since I had heard this hymn, even longer since a hymn had flooded my mind like this. But I had gone through this enough times to know the hymn held heaven’s message to me. I leaned in closer as it played over and over in my head, and realized two lines were standing out more.

Aid us ere our feet astray
Wander from thy guiding way.

          I groaned when I realized what it meant. By asking to be saved from facing this struggle I was going through with this other religion, by asking to be kept away from it, I was walking away from the path Our Lady had illumined for me. I was rejecting the Divine Will.

          Nevertheless, I wanted so much to be wrong about what I had discerned. Maybe there is some other line for me in this hymn, I thought.

          I looked up the hymn, and traced every line of its lyrics. My heart remained unmoved till the last verse ~

Fast our days of life we run,
Soon the night of death will come;
Tower of strength in that dread hour,
Come with all thy gentle power.

          For whatever reason, the journey of my soul and spirit was along this route of thorns and knives. This programme I was to attend was a mountain in my way. And no one scales a mountain to reach the other side by shimmying up the nearest tree.         

          I went resignedly to work, and was soon caught up in the busyness of the day. But a grey shadow of regret remained. Regret that my prayer had not been answered differently. Regret marked by weariness over the many more mountains like this that remained to be faced and overcome.

          Nonetheless, I turned my heart back to heaven. Help me to face it, I slumped into God’s Will, defeated at last.

          Late into the night, there was a knock on the door of my spirit, and the Conversion Prayer dictated by Jesus to St Faustina Kowalska was laid before my eyes.

          My despondent spirit jumped to life. Taken aback by this, I looked closely at the prayer I have prayed very often before.

If you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith, on behalf of some sinner, I will give that soul the grace of conversion.

“O Blood and water that gushed forth from the heart of Jesus, as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You”.

          Conversion of souls! My spirit leapt at the promise. So that was where this journey was heading to! That was why this suffering, and perhaps more later, could not be circumvented. It was not about me. It was about saving souls.

          Something drew me back to the prayer again. Returning, this time, I saw one little word shine out more than the others:


          I had asked for the cup of suffering to be taken away. Despite the almost 2 decades’ long background to my suffering with the members of this religion, the coming Cross in the form of the programme I was to attend was minuscule in contrast to the immense tearing of soul that others had to endure. Could I honestly say I was disturbed by the increasing loss of souls to the tyranny of this religion, and yet refuse to partake in their salvation – just because the path of my compliance lay among deadly thorns and knives? What was the use of lamenting if I was not willing to be Jesus’ Hands and Feet on this earth, in every way, to help return these prisoner hearts and souls to the Heavenly Father?

          Where was my contrition?

          In bringing this illumination to me, an angel had ministered to me in the desert of my present struggles. I got to my feet, still unsure of myself, yet now firmly anchored in the refreshed certainty that God would provide all that was needed. Just as Jesus had died to save us, so must I face this night of death for the conversion of souls.

Aid us ere our feet astray
Wander from thy guiding way.

          I had sought to leave my Cross. To it I must now return.

Lead the Poor Home


          A work-mate sent a knife my way yesterday, and I sent ten more back from the dark recesses of my heart and mind. I didn’t verbalize my anger and hurt. But I have no doubts as to who will receive the harsher sentence in a judgement against us both. Just because you keep your anger hidden beneath the bowed head doesn’t mean it hasn’t stained your soul.

          The first storm of September had struck, and I had caused the worst of it.

          I rushed off to find a quiet corner.

          Not to escape, but to put my wrongdoing before my God. The wrong of my anger and the wrong of not feeling remorse. In the light of my new September commitment to seeking the Spirit in all I do, I had instead willfully driven myself into the muck. I had not sought the Spirit’s ready help against the wounding by my work-mate. I had gone back to the old path I wanted to leave.

          In the quiet,  I offered up the hurt and my sin but I thrust them roughly into the arms of unseen angels. My offering did not fall in humble lines, because it was swaddled in anger fruited by a thousand woundings by this same person. Slowly, a calm came over me, even as anger continued to bubble in little pots.

          I came to later hours nourished by family~joy dimples. Rested and soothed by sweet rose~moments only love can bring, I sat down to watch the news. Mother Teresa’s weathered, lined face came before me.

          The nun who took love to the darkest pits.

          Suddenly, I thought of my colleague. I thought of what she had done. The pots bubbled on, lit by the fire of a hurt that would not go away.

Mother, I hate her. I cannot love her. I’m sick of trying. I cannot be you. Please help me.

          The winds are in a dance again. In the warm, sun-tinged swoops and swells, I read these words ~

They enjoy the sufferings of others to forget what they lost.

          In a flash, I recognise Mother Teresa’s voice. The voice of one who herself must have suffered woundings many, many more times than I, yet, remained resolute and undefeated in the resolve to love the despised and the dying.

          In the incident with my colleague, she had hurt me and made no attempt to hide her joy in seeing the poison-spit hit its mark in me. She had also gathered others to join her in the gleeful laughter that followed because I was not quick enough to hide the hurt and it showed on my face.

They enjoy the sufferings of others to forget what they lost.

          I know what this woman has lost. She was once a rough and gruff, yet tender soul who sought to help everyone. But she had a deadly love and longing for wealth and the escape it could offer from the grind of work. Over time, bit by bit, through one choice after another, she chose to place her hands in the devil’s in exchange for money and a life of ease.

          Soon, she lost the voice of God in her.

          She began to dig desperately around her, far and near, searching for what she had lost. The desperation grew in tandem with the intensity of searching for heaven in the wrong places. It is this desperation that feeds the viciousness many have had to suffer; I am by no means her only victim.

They enjoy the sufferings of others to forget what they lost.

          I feel a sudden impulse to hug the woman, to tell her I love her despite what she does to me. But I don’t do it. Because that is not what I am called to do. To tell this particular woman now that I love and forgive her is to give her a dangerous power in thinking viciousness has yielded this positive, this win. While it is far easier for me to show her my love and stop the darts for a time, I will be giving her power that will take her deeper into the dark.

They enjoy the sufferings of others to forget what they lost.

          I hear the unequivocalness in Mother Teresa’s reply to me. Lead this woman back to what she has lost.

           Lead her back to God. Just as Mother Teresa loved the poor, this work-mate too is the poor I am willed by heaven to love. Not through hugs that come easily to me.

          But through the sword of a prayer. The Divine Mercy Conversion Prayer.

O Blood and Water that gushed forth from the heart of Jesus,

as a fount of Mercy for us,

I trust in You.