DIVINE MERCY

Let Go

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God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Thus, we do not fear, though earth be shaken
and mountains quake to the depths of the sea,
Though its waters rage and foam
and mountains totter at its surging.
Streams of the river gladden the city of God,
the holy dwelling of the Most High
God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken;
God will help it at break of day.
Though nations rage and kingdoms totter,
he utters his voice and the earth melts.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.
Come and see the works of the LORD,
who has done fearsome deeds on earth;
Who stops wars to the ends of the earth,
breaks the bow, splinters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire;
“Be still and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
exalted on the earth.”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
our stronghold is the God of Jacob.    Psalm 46

          Last night, deeply troubled again, I sought the voice of my God. I told Him my family and I had sealed our hearts to this Calvary which He has asked of us. But since the path is hard and rutted, and we are often frightened and exhausted, we needed to hear His voice. And not just metaphorically.

         I asked God to lay His voice directly inside my ears. Then, the waters still in a churn within me, I fell into troubled sleep.

          This morning, the second I opened my eyes, I heard a single line from a Jeremy Riddle song play gently in my ears,

Be still and know I am the Lord

          Returning to the source of that line, Psalm 46, I recalled anew how many times God had given me hope through the verse God will help it at the break of dawn (Psalm 46:6). Each and every time, at breaking point, He reached out and showed me a new path, and fed me for the journey.

          I am tired, Lord, I whisper. Tired of fighting, tired of being frightened. Tired of the endless days of nights.

          Psalm 46 tells me to continue trusting – but today, I just cannot. I do not mistrust God –  I am still holding on to the Cross – but in a way I cannot explain, I am also so very tired and worn out. The secret, inner bubbling of joy I felt a few days back is gone. In its place, a cache of grit and sand and tears.

          Idly, I seek out the lyrics to the Jeremy Riddle song. And there I see the line,

And let go, let go of your worries

          As my heart took in the words, I remembered something else. 22 years ago, on a severely dark night, I gave up hope on life and begged God to take me. That night, Jesus appeared to meAnd He told me,

Let go, relax

Let go, relax

Let go, relax

          They were simple words – and certainly not what I thought I’d hear directly from Jesus. But as it turned out, they were exactly what I needed 22 years ago. And in a little weave of a way, they were brought back to me today, 22 years later, this still Sunday morn where the happy winds of past days no longer dance and hardly a note of birdsong is to be heard.

Let go, relax

          I knew what Jesus was telling me. Given the hard days here, worries and fears had accumulated, as they would, naturally, causing a churning within me. My worries and fears were standing between me and the stillness I sought and which God wanted for me as well. Jesus now wanted me to let go of my burdens to Him so that nothing remained between Him and me.

Let go, relax

          And so I begin.

Replace My Blood With Yours

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Chorus
Here we are, altogether as we sing our song joyfully.
Here we are, altogether as we pray we always be.


Join we now as friends, and celebrate the
Brotherhood we share, all as one.
Keep the fire burning, kindle it with care,
And we’ll all join in and sing.


 

          The psalmist talks about eyes being dimmed with sorrow. Mine are literally dimmed with weariness and emotional exhaustion. What a terrible test for me and for so many, many others. Sometimes, I crumble in anger, but only for scant minutes, for the squall passes over me quickly now.

          And through it all, from yesterday, an old, old hymn in my inner ear, Here We Are.

Here we are, altogether as we sing our song joyfully.
Here we are, altogether as we pray we always be.

          How do I sing this song of sorrow and uncertainty – joyfully? Is such a thing even possible? As if in answer, another line from the song comes gently,

Keep the fire burning, kindle it with care,
And we’ll all join in and sing.

          The fire of faith must burn on. Keep the lamps trimmed and ready.    

          My loved ones on another continent, and my dear~heart blogging friends, hold me close to the Cross. From miles away, they will me on, Keep your eyes on Him, God will protect you

          During Rosary last night, I pondered Jesus’ terrible journey through Calvary, His Crucifixion, the piercing of His Heart. Precious Blood and Water all poured out for mankind. Although my suffering is very small against what my Jesus endured, for the first time, I feel a severe drying out within me, all of me. Not just of my spirit, as I’ve often come to know, but this desert has now reached deep, deep within me. I truly have nothing left. Only the love of my earthly and heavenly friends hold me bound to my crucified Jesus.

          How do you go on when everything has been poured out? 

Replace my blood with Yours.

          The old prayer I prayed in times past. I recall the day I found the prayer, and the mystery of it. When all is gone, Replace my blood with Yours, Jesus. 

          Then, I realise, the hymn, Here We Are, has stopped playing in me, the voices of the unseen choristers stilled.

          And I understand why. Because it is now time to pray the prayer of repentance. And of conversion.

Replace my blood with Yours

Do Not Waver

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Jesus said to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith and do not waver, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done.   ~  Matthew 21: 21

 

          Like so many others, I too began to keep a journal to track my spiritual journey, starting it just after a horrific dream on the night of the 5th of July 2015 when I dreamt of something hitting and destroying the bright moon in the dark night sky. After the dream, I felt compelled to note down thoughts and messages and dates – and so I did, diligently, for a couple of years. Then, life got too much and writing in the journal slowed down. Still, there were entries for every year.

          Recently though, a beloved family member who has been journeying with me but who did not know of my journal, advised me to keep a record of all the things God has said to me. It gave me pause since my own thoughts had fallen along those same lines these recent weeks: that the journal needed to be re-started. So much is happening that I often feel as if our family is walking treacherous paths, blind, save for the light of our faith. Just when I think we are safe, the ground gives way beneath us, rocks are aimed at us. At such times, I often forget how my husband and I were led to do this, mist clouding the memory of the weave of events experienced and words heard in our spirits that have led us to these moments in where in the dark we must walk.

          Today was one such day. Although I am firm in the massive decision my husband and I have made together, suddenly, I could not recall defining moments that have led to this resolve – and that worried me. Were we wrong? So, from the still and silent hours of late last night when the terrain dipped to another level of tension, I have been seeking God’s voice and His alone. I am doing this for you, Lord, I whispered. But help me remember why. Tell me if I’ve read the signs wrong.

          In the early hours of this sombre and still, grey morning, I went to place my seeking into the Heart of Jesus. Going to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland via livestream, I pleaded once more, Tell me if I am wrong, Lord. Let me hear Thy voice.

          A short while later, the opening lines of a much loved song, prophetic for us in the past, were seemingly cupped in small hands and placed in my inner ears. From the song, Well Done, by the Afters, the lines given to me were,

Well done, well done
My good and faithful one

          Tears sprang to my eyes. I remembered the night I had first heard this song 3 years ago. It had been a time of deep anxiety and of looking up to the sky for signs. Shortly after, dawn had broken for us and the joy was indescribable. Now, hearing those lines once more, suddenly, I felt a gentle urge to look up all the lyrics to this song.

          As I searched, I came across the verse that birthed the song,

 

His master said to him, ‘Well done, My good and faithful servant.   ~  Matthew 25: 21
          
          Wanting to look up the context of the verse, I was instead led to Matthew 21. Realising my slip, I made to return to Matthew 25, but it felt as if Someone had reached out and held my arm to keep me from going back. So, I went back to Matthew 21, a quiet certainty within me that I was meant to be there.
 
          And so it was. Before me appeared,
 

Jesus said to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith and do not waver, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done.   ~  Matthew 21: 21

 
          As I read it, 3 words from the verse lit up with a strong yet quiet light.
 
          I realised it was God speaking to me. And He said,
 
Do not waver

 

 

 

Lent 33 ~ Even When I Cannot

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You have a plan for me
Even though I cannot always understand
Beyond what I can see
I know that I am held within Your Hands
So I will trust in You
And I will lift a song a praise for You
And never ever change
No matter what I am going through

Even Here, Rebekah Dawn

Gift of Hope

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          A storm of sorts taught me a gentle yet potent lesson about the power of hope.

          About 2 weeks ago, one of my Muslim colleagues quietly let me in on a little secret in her heart: she was finally expecting her first baby after many years of marriage. While the news filled me with joy, there were frissons of worry too as my friend was experiencing intermittent bleeding. The government medical services in my town being what they are, I suggested that she seek a second opinion at a reputable hospital in the city, some hours away. I also recommended my gynaecologist at another medical facility in the same city, but I didn’t push it knowing fully well how deeply entrenched racial and religious biases are in this community here.

          My friend listened carefully but then came the weekend and a work week filled to the brim with another round of distractions. Unsurprisingly, she got caught up in a swirl of office parties, non-essential tasks and inane hysterics. Concerns were dismissed.

          This morning, I got a call from her, the quiver in her voice betraying her emotions as she told me that the doctor at the local hospital had told her the baby was gone. He had also administered an injection to ‘speed up the process’ and given her some pills as well. In pain and frightened, the woman had sought a second opinion at private clinic not known for much beyond an insensitive doctor. There, the doctor had performed an ultrasound and told my friend that something could still be seen in the womb.

          Now, my friend is hardly the sharpest knife in the drawer, and she hadn’t equipped herself with sufficient knowledge about foetal development. Hence, she didn’t ask the questions she should have. The local doctor’s words instead gave her hope that the baby was still alive; they also filled her with agonizing regret and anger that she hadn’t sought the services of a good doctor earlier.

          Thankfully, that second doctor knew she was out of her depth in this and wrote a referral letter to another private clinic, frequented by Muslims, in the city. It was on her way there that my colleague called me and told me about all that had happened.

          When I heard where she was going, with a firmness even I didn’t know I was capable of, I told my friend to forget about the place she had been referred to and to instead go to my doctor. Rudderless and in tears, her wits all about her, she now clung to me. She agreed to see my doctor, and asked for directions.

          This was where another little miracle took place. I am hopeless at reading maps and at giving directions. I can’t even correctly direct people to my own home. But on the phone at that moment, you wouldn’t have know that. The directions came out crisp and clear and more importantly, correct.

          An hour later, my friend called to say she had safely arrived and that my doctor would see her.

          I breathed a little easier. I knew that whatever happened, my friend would be safe. There were reputable Muslim gynaecologists in the city; I could have easily directed my friend to those of her own faith and she would have been in expert hands and everyone at work here would have clucked approvingly that she hadn’t besmirched herself or something at the hands of a non-Muslim. Yet, I sent her instead to not just a highly regarded non-Muslim specialist, but one who was also a devoted Christian – because I wanted her to be safe. Under this Christian doctor care, not only would she get the care and advice she needed, she would be made to understand the facts other doctors of her faith may prefer to gloss over.

          And whichever way this swung, I was certain only this doctor could bring heaven to her frightened heart.

Through him, she would receive Jesus.

          In the ensuing wait, despite the odds stacked against her, I prayed hard for a miracle. If it is Your will, I told the Divine Mercy, but He surely knew which outcome I was hoping for.

          There was so much riding on this baby.

          Some years back, this woman had caused a good deal of trouble to me. Angry and hurt, I had run to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Krakow, Poland, and laid bare my heart. Very quickly, the Lord had let me know that she was under some kind of spiritual attack. With my hurt no longer at the forefront, I was freed to pray for her to be released from whatever it was that was binding her.

          Once I began praying for her, the Lord allowed me to overhear bits and pieces of office conversations, and I learned that hers was a marriage in deep trouble. Although she clearly had a fondness for children, she adamantly refused to start a family. As the years went by, I knew my friend and her husband were drifting further and further apart.

          So, I began to pray for the gift of a child for her. When she told me the happy news weeks back, it was the sweetest news for more than one reason.

          But just like that, here we were in a sudden squall risen out of nowhere.

          A few hours later, I heard from my friend again. Her baby was indeed gone.

          This is not a community that can keep a secret. She must have texted the others at work, for I saw people huddled together, furtively whispering. Before long, people were airing their own miscarriage stories and although she wasn’t there to know it (and gladly), my friend was left to bear her cross alone. The workplace being what it was, concern and empathy were quickly spent and this woman’s closest friends then moved on the next revelry.

          Staring at her words, Could not be saved, grief came to life once more. Even if it was beyond others, I wanted to help my friend get through this.

          More than that, I wanted this baby to live. Not to come back to life from a miscarriage – but to live on, hidden in her mother’s heart. That was so important because the Muslims in my country subscribe to the belief that a foetus is just a clump of cells until the third or fourth month. That is why they seldom trouble themselves to do all the right things in the first trimester. That is also why many here think nothing of aborting a baby at this time – or even later. Even for those who lose a child for whatever reason, due to religious edicts against mourning, combined with a cavalier attitude towards the preciousness of life, that loss and that child is soon cast out from memory. They see grieving as weakness, not love.

          I didn’t want blatant lies to take root in my friend because lies devastate and kill the body and ultimately, the soul.

          So, I shared with her a truth I had come to learn:

That her baby would always love her.

And that they would meet some day.

          I didn’t tell her how I knew. That would have to be her journey. I just placed my words in the Spirit and released them from my heart. Still, I feared my words would seem strange to her, and that when the gaggle of so-called chums returned to feed on her sorrow, they would bury that wee baby and not allow it to live.

          Nonetheless, it was vital that I do what I had to do. And so I did.

          Surprisingly, so very surprisingly, my friend took my words to her heart once more.

          And then, she told me about my Christian gynaecologist and how he had helped her and her husband, who was very emotional, to understand what had happened. He didn’t shove the painful details out of sight, he didn’t assume they weren’t bright enough to understand. Instead, he gently walked with them as they came to terms with their pain and regret.

         Even at the end of such a harrowing day, this Muslim girl, raised in a climate of crippling suspicion and mistrust, could testify in love and joy, that a Christian doctor was the best. And then, she told me that despite the loss, the world suddenly seemed like a brighter place.

Jesus had truly touched her through the doctor!

          In a whisper of a moment, I went from sadness to exquisite joy! A baby had gone and yet, here I was shot through with gentle arrows of sun~bright happiness. I couldn’t understand my own feelings but it was clear that all 3 of us – this lady, her husband and I – were filled with a sudden, inexplicable light.

          In one moment, it came to me:

This is what the hope of heaven is like.

          Christian hope is not always privy to what lies beyond the bend, it knows not today what the morrow will bring. Yet it blooms, even in death, when we choose life as God wills. My friend and her husband had made that terrible, anguished journey to the city to save a baby that their faith did not fully acknowledge but whom their hearts had loved from that first day of knowing. That selfless Christian doctor they saw had said the words they needed to hear to keep their grieving hearts open to God’s gift of life.

         And even if her womb never loves another baby, I hope I helped my friend to understand that she is now a mother too, with one wee baby patiently waiting for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring Your Ear

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Bring your ear close to My Heart, forget everything else, and meditate upon My wondrous mercy.   ~   Entry 229, Divine Mercy in My Soul

          I have some quiet time this coming week. It may well be the last bit of real quiet I have before the frenetic work pace hits in the coming months, and I intend to use it well.

          But I’m not exactly sure how. I decide to ask St. Juan Diego to help me.

          Just before entering the church, I spot a book sale outside. I wonder if there’ll be a book for me, just like how I found my copy of Diary – Divine Mercy in My Soul, a few years ago, at a sale run by the same nuns.

          As I browse the rather limited selection, I try to lean against my spirit for some help in choosing a book, but there is no response. Then, my husband holds up a book.

The Life of Faustina Kowalska – The Authorized Biography

         And I know it is the book for me.

         Before Mass, Jesus’ words to St. Faustina reach my heart,

Bring your ear close to My Heart, forget everything else, and meditate upon My wondrous mercy. 

          Contemplation. And the material to meditate on Jesus’ mercy might be found in my new book. I think of the way I have arrived at this point, led by a man, St. Juan Diego, who never lived for himself. I think of his humbleness and his obedience to heaven’s call. Humility and obedience are special graces. But to avail myself to them, I have to first empty myself. 

Forget everything else

          And it begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wait

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

 

          After Sri Lanka, I am straining at the reins. I want to do more than what I am doing. I don’t want our churches bombed. Neither do I want the places of worship of other faiths to suffer the same. For more than 20 years, living here, my family and I have tried to witness to Christ in a way that shows others they have nothing to fear of Jesus – but that even if they will not convert, they can embrace His teachings to love one another and live differently in their faith.

          We’ve emptied ourselves in this giving. It feels as if there is nothing left in our jar of oil.

          But there must be.

         What do You ask of me? What do You ask of me? I tug and tug at God’s hem.

          But He doesn’t answer. Because God never answers an asking that doesn’t listen.

          As I prod and probe, skirmishes within the family begin. Seemingly minor things but still they chaff. A husband’s disbelief in something. A child’s self-centeredness. I continue to work for the family, to be there for them, but the lightness in my heart has gone. And when the hurting  doesn’t let up, the wound deepens. And a silence enters my heart.

          Padre Pio comes by later in the morning. Gently, he reminds me, Don’t allow any sadness to dwell in your soul, for sadness prevents the Holy Spirit from acting freely.

          But I cannot pretend the hurt isn’t there. I cannot just jump back into my happy and cheery self.

          It is Divine Mercy Sunday. I place my heart, sadness and all, in the Divine Heart. And I get on with my day, no longer pulling and tugging at God’s hem, but pondering in the silence within.

          It is late afternoon when I seek God’s word. Tell me what to do, I quietly tell Heaven.

          St. Margaret Mary answers for the saints,

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

 

 

 

Lent 26 ~ Immerse

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         Two days ago, when I had very little genuine and unforced compassion and charity for my superiors and co-workers, I asked God the question, How long more till the promised help comes?

          God answered me early the next day with, God will help it at the break of dawn   ~   Psalm 46: 6.

          While it gave me deep consolation, it didn’t tell me how I was to bridge the gap between the now and the fulfilment. So, assuming this ‘how’ was hidden in the petals of a bloom I had once known, I returned to prayers I had prayed in the past.

          Then, a small hand pushed a wreath of words towards me. Words I had read, believed and prayed as a prayer 3 years ago.

Today bring to Me ALL MANKIND, ESPECIALLY ALL SINNERS, and immerse them in the ocean of My mercy. In this way you will console Me in the bitter grief into which the loss of souls plunges Me.   ~   Chaplet of the Divine Mercy novena, 1st day.

          The words immerse and console pulsed strong. I had been firmly drawn to consoling Jesus through my recent night and early morn offerings of, I seal my heart in Your Tabernacle. Now, in a deeper way, I understood that it was not me; it had been Jesus drawing me closer to Him through that prayer – leading me to the next prayer:

Immerse souls in the sea of my Mercy.

          Later that day, through another person’s sharing of a troubling experience with nightmare neighbours, yet again, Jesus deepened the lesson that the never ending duels with my superiors and co-workers had a purpose:

Only through suffering would I be hurt enough to cry to heaven.

Moreover, I had to cry to heaven not just for myself, but for those oppressors as well.

And the prayer for my oppressors now was to be,

I immerse them in the sea of Your mercy.

          I stepped back from the call of life to meditate on this development. I realized it was no random prayer. I had journeyed to this point from the very early days of this Lent when God told me this was to be a Lent to console Jesus through the fasting for oppressors. I had discerned and obeyed as best as I could and that took me to the next stop and the next prayer for oppressors,

Replace his blood with Yours

          And now, after that, after whatever offerings of sacrifice and obedience of worth, I had come to,

Jesus, I immerse them in the sea of Your mercy.

          Each time, the darts of anger pierced my heart, I prayed,

Jesus, I immerse them in the sea of Your mercy.

          Every time they annoyed me. Every time I observed my oppressors desecrate whatever was good and pure and blessed. Every time I felt that I could not go on another day in this hell.

          Then, my husband shared his sufferings with me. And it was the same  wounding too.

Jesus, I immerse them in the sea of Your mercy.

          And also with our children.

          Each and every time the spirit moves me, I pray that prayer. Through the day. Each awakening in the night. In hope. In brokenness. When I can. When I cannot. When I don’t want to.

Jesus, I immerse them in the sea of Your mercy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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