FAMILY

Bouquet of Weeds

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          When we come to the end of a path and we part the foliage to discern the next tread, often it is the littlest of blooms that point the way forward. In November, I began to pray for direction for my Advent Home Retreat – one I go on each end of year right in my own home, a different retreat each time. These retreats began years back with the book about Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light. I read that book, bit by bit every day of December, and it took me on a journey with the Saint of the Slums. From that year on, it has been a different book every year or even a particular blog, lighting the way forward all through December.

          This November, I thought I’d nudge God a little in my direction of want. I told God I’d very much like to read the book, A Pathway Under The Gaze of Mary, a biography on the Fatima seer, Sr. Lucia Dos Santos. I’ve wanted it for so long and I felt it would be a great retreat-maker for me this year. So, I winged up my yearning to God. And then, promptly forgot about it.

          Heaven didn’t, though. But the answer came in a way different to my seeking.

          One day at the end of November, Ellen Fassbender’s post, My Advent Preparations for Christmas 2018, reminded me about the Advent retreat I had prayed about and then forgot. The Advent Food Box gift she wrote about stirred a Christmas-sy yearning in my heart.

          But more than that, Ellen’s words finally softened my heart into some semblance of humility. Lifting my spirit, I asked God, What gift would You have me bring my Jesus? As I asked, I stretched my eyes as far as I could see over the busy landscape of the weeks ahead. Holiday or not, two of our children face important exams next year. Hence, against the backdrop of Christmas, was the grey pallor of studies and the long commutes for coaching sessions, alongside the inevitable heavy cleaning and de-cluttering. I knew it would take much out of me. After arduous work months, I wanted to be filled with something powerful and special and holy this Christmas; I wasn’t sure I had anything to offer the baby Jesus – if there was anything worth offering.

          That very evening, I felt a sudden longing for Christmas flowers inside the home. I thought of poinsettias and on a whim, looked them up. Imagine my surprise when I read the Mexican legend about poinsettias and Christmas. The story told of a very poor child, Pepita, who wistfully longed to lay a gift at Baby Jesus’ crib at her church during Christmas Eve service. Some accounts say that it was her angel who then told her to pick some weeds from the roadside and present them to the Child King. When the little girl hesitated, the angel encouraged her, telling her that, Even the smallest gift from a heart that loves would make Jesus happy.

          In obedience, yet, still embarrassed, Pepita made a little bouquet of the weeds which she took into church later that night, shyly laying it at the bottom of the nativity scene.

          Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds no eye would heed burst into bright red flowers known today as poinsettias. It was a miracle seen by all present. The common and the ordinary was transformed into something of luminous beauty by pure, simple love. In that miracle, everyone at that time and over the centuries, and now, I, saw the kiss of heaven on a little urchin’s gift from the heart that sought nothing but to love her Saviour.

          It gave me the will and strength to hold my spirit to loving my Saviour just as Pepita had. When the 1st of December blew in on a blustery, rain-pearled wind, no pigeon flew in with it, bearing a message for me from heaven on how my retreat was to be.

          Yet, no disappointment even whispered by my heart. If my Advent retreat this time was to follow the child Pepita into the virginal bloom of each day, I would.

          If it was to fashion a bouquet, out of the weeds of my simple duties as mother, wife and friend, and then to lay it by my Jesus’ Heart each day’s end, then I would too.

 

 

 

 

 

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Go Indoors

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          Sometimes, the most random things we read and shrug off tend to return to us later, more real than before, as if an unseen cloak had been shed. It is then that we realise that it had come earlier to warn, to alert to what was ahead.

          Amidst the wild~yellow weeks when the kingfisher called out in desperation as it raced around my home, I saw the words,

Go indoors.

Over and over and over.

          I knew immediately what it meant.

Storm coming.

Hasten to safety.

Return to family.

Shed the world and its claws. Turn the heart towards the family. Be alert to them and their needs.

          But to know is one thing; to really step back from the world is another. The duties of work these past weeks have been unbelievable, taking almost everything in me. No matter how loudly the blue king pleaded, I could not tear myself away from work. Every time he sounded his warning notes, my heart would look up and I would will him to understand that I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

          This week, one morning, my blue avian prophet fell silent. It was then that the storm hit. A single lightning bolt. I was out in the plains, in the open field of professional work. There was nowhere to shelter. Had I heeded the saint behind the king, St. Francis of Assisi, I might have been beyond the reach of the worst of that hit. But I hadn’t and so, I wasn’t.

          On the 16th of July, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This year that day, I read a prayer that asked for Her mantle of protection. I’ve read those same words many times before. But this time, they glowed differently. And so, I prayed it with a caution I lacked before. I asked Mother to wrap Her mantle around my family and I.

          Then, I took up my tools and left for the fields.

          Short weeks later, this hit.

          However, this time, I tottered but did not fall. I would have had it not been for the Mantle that held me safe in its securing confines. Careless as I have been in my devotions these past weeks, my heavenly Mother kept Her Mother’s-promise to me. She protected me from a worse wounding.

          The hurt has driven me right into where I should have been – the refuge the blue king has urging me to hasten to.

          Into the heart of family.

 

 

 

 

 

Communion of Hearts

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          Late in the evening, the waning sun closed each of its burning hot rays. We had come to this day after passing through portals of thorns and hot coals in the days and weeks past. We were expecting guests: a beloved priest and a friend, from hundreds of miles away. After a day of frantic housecleaning, I rose early again, to get a head start on cooking preparations. My back was sore. My husband and I were more than a little tired from work and the awful weather and its high temperatures.

          But we kept our minds and hearts fixed on the light ahead: Father’s visit. We hadn’t seen him in some years, and we looked forwards to time with him. We weren’t sure how we’d manage the visit. Cooking for our large family was tough enough; cooking for guests,  even only two, after a work week of endless hills and gullies, was reason enough to hold on the counter top and draw in a huge steadying breath.

          Nonetheless, I prayed that God would bless this visit and the two souls coming to us. So often, we ask and expect a lot of our priests, but we tend to forget that, like us, they too require food for their spirits and strength for their journeys, through bonding and companionship. Priests have sacrificed family life for the love of Jesus. Many minister in parishes very far away from their own loved ones. We take this love-gift for granted. We shrug and say, well this is what priesthood is about, and we expect our priests to accept it, be cheery about it and not burden us with the loneliness this great sacrifice entails.

          Some years ago, I remember reading Fr Joe Jenkins’ blog where someone asked him how his Christmas would be. His reply told of saying the Christmas Mass, of standing at the door to the church later, in the winter’s cold, wishing each parishioner Merry Christmas, then locking up the church, and going to the stillness and loneliness of an empty quarters. Fr Joe wrote simply and without seeking sympathy. But his words pierced my heart.

          For it never occurred to me until then that a priest could experience loneliness. That he and his brethren stifle this deep ache and go about their priestly duties every single day in joy of poverty, bringing Jesus to us as best as they can.

          It was this image that I kept before me as my husband and I chopped and pounded and raced from corner to corner today. I prayed that our family and our home be the blessing Fr and his friend needed.

          We might never know what wounds or needs they came with as they drove in with cheery waves and bouncy laughter. Yet, for the hours they graced our home with their quiet and their cheer and their oneness with us and our life, not a shadow crossed their sunny visages. Before us were two people who loved and respected family and in their own ways, sacrificed and worked to save family life.

          Because we said Yes to this visit, because we begrudged not our love and whatever strength we had, the fire-hot hours brought us together in this beautiful, tender communion of hearts. Priest, young man waiting for the right girl, married couple and their bouncy brood. We heard the words we needed for our own journey ahead. And in return, we hope we offered simple witness to the beauty of marriage and family life.

          As my husband and I looked up at the solemn orange moon and its muted gold aura later at night, peace settled gently into the folds of our hearts. I whispered my thanks.

          This was no random visit. Jesus had indeed come to us today.

 

 

 

 

Lent 3 ~ While the Candles Are Lit

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          A long time ago, I saw these words on a sticker, Did you hug your child today? Although I didn’t heed them that very moment, I did later that night, but it was no longer the same. About two years ago, a fellow blogger saw something over the horizon. For a very brief moment, the veil was lifted for him, and his impassioned plea to me was, Hug and kiss your children.

          Sad days ago, in Parkland, Florida, a grieving Fred Guttenberg  reminds the world yet again, Hold your children tight, because in the school shooting, his daughter numbers among those who will never again hear their parents tell them how much they are loved.

          I hug and kiss my children a lot now. I tell them how much I love them. Some of the older ones squirm in understandable embarrassment, but that only gets a giggle out of me; it doesn’t stop me. Even if they don’t realize it or value it, every child, young or adult, needs to know they are loved. And they need to hear it now because the shadows of tomorrow will not always be made known to us.

          And the candles bequeathed to the world will not always remain lit.

 

 

 

Words for the Red

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          From the joyful red~shine of Advent days here, rose a red of a different kind, one far removed from joy and hope. It is an insidious thorn that rears its head at the end of almost every year since my husband and I started a family life moons ago. I had assumed that with the deep, illuminating spiritual journey that this year was, my husband and I would be in a better place in this largely lively and joyful marriage. Then came the morning and a thoughtless, dismissive statement and we were right back where I thought we had left for good. Granted, my grievance is nothing in comparison to what many people  are facing. Many would even consider it laughably trivial and so might I some distant day, but that reasoning fails to stamp out the red flames today.

          I try to turn away from the hurt. I try to shrug it off and fill the sun~dappled morning hours with home chores and yard work. But the red follows in waves and dips. As soon as I have crested one, as soon as I dare to think the hurt has gone, the next rise comes.

          But there’s a difference to my anger. It is not rage. There is no wild slant to it. The sadness it evokes in my heart burrows deep. It brings to life old disappointments and frustrations that I had assumed were in our past.

          As hour spills into hour, I struggle with myself. I struggle to not return to twisted ruts of old. Nonetheless, numerous retorts, rebuttals and accusations march steadily and stormily though my mind.  Snatches of speeches and choice words I conjure.

          The very second they form, I force myself fight them off, to turn my back on them. And then I realize, they need to come out. They are all reactions to my hurt that must have some place to go. So, I give them to Jesus, saying, I chose You, Jesus.

          On and on I battle until I am overwhelmed. I tell God I cannot do it anymore. I cannot pretend, neither can I overlook. I place my husband in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. You take over, Lord. I can’t.

          Hours later, the flames have died. In their place an odd quietness – which I put to the test immediately. No, it is not of wanting to forget and make up. Yet, the stillness within me tells me that I am no longer in control of my spirit. I am no longer in control of anything or anyone.

          Someone else is now in charge. I am content to let that be. For once, I do not want to lead. I am tired. I can barely make out the path in front of me.

          My chores for the day done, I cautiously open my door to God. Although my injury is real, in my struggle to overcome my hurt and in my inability to pray in humility for my husband, I am not sure that I am walking in the will of God.

          Timidly, yet with a strange certitude, I ask my God, Lord, give me my prayer. 

          The Almighty’s response is swift, as if He has been waiting for me to ask. His prayer for me is unexpected.

          Prayer of St. Anthony of Padua

          O Light of the world, Infinite God, Father of eternity, giver of wisdom and knowledge, and ineffable Dispenser of every spiritual grace; who knowest all things before they are made, who makest the darkness and the light: put forth Thy hand and touch my mouth, and make it as a sharp sword to utter eloquently Thy words. Make my tongue, O Lord, as a chosen arrow, to declare faithfully Thy wonders. 

          Put Thy spirit, O Lord, in my heart, that I may perceive; in my soul, that I may retain; and in my conscience, that I may meditate.

          Do thou lovingly, holily, mercifully, clemently and gently inspire me with Thy grace. 

          Do Thou teach, guide and strengthen the comings in and goings out of my senses and my thoughts. And let Thy discipline instruct me even to the end, and the counsel of the Most High help me through Thine infinite wisdom and mercy.

 

          Oh no, I groan. The last thing I want is to speak. Words have had no effect on this situation that arises without fail every year end holidays. Same fight. Different words. Same failure. Year after year. And now God asks me to pray, put forth Thy hand and touch my mouth, and make it as a sharp sword to utter eloquently Thy words?

          I begin to think that I may have been mistaken about the prayer being for me. That’s when St Anthony, a saint close to my heart, steps in swiftly and takes my eyes directly to the line,

Do Thou teach, guide and strengthen the comings in and goings out of my senses and my thoughts.

          That closes the door on my doubts. That prayer line directly addressed my struggles with my emotions since the morning. It told me God saw the back-and-forth, the tug-and-push, and that He was with me. He understood my hurt. He saw my struggle to contain it and cope.

          I was not alone. That realization suffices.

          I raise my eyes to heaven. Give me Thy words, I pray.

          Not mine but Yours. 

 

 

 

         

Unbeliever

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         Preparing for a moving and joyous family celebration this past Sunday, ‘something’ wasn’t happy. So, it sent its emissary – a relative – to trouble us, distract us from the miracle of the Eucharist. The person was successful in a sense, managing to upset my husband and I terribly, bringing us close to an argument on a Sunday of golden breezes, stilled spirits  and tickled hearts.

          It was a clear and direct attack on the family.

          We fought back. And our weapon was family too. We made it very, very clear that no one, not even relatives, could force us to put marriage and family on a lower rung of priorities just to accommodate the will of others.

          Given our response, this person will likely hesitate in future to go to where he had. I hope he does. Because despite being Catholic, a Communion minister at that, by what he did to us, he chose to kick Jesus into the gutter – right after Mass.

          It’s been a few days and I’m still not over it. It’s not the hurt so much as it is the utter shock of it. We never saw it coming, not from this friendly, cheery man who always had a sunny word and a stomach-in-a-stitch joke for everyone.

          Last night, the word ‘unbeliever’ popped into my mind.

          Seven years ago, after enduring years of a fun but very, very tumultuous friendship, I awakened to days and days of an unseen chorus of voices relentlessly chanting a caution to me:

Do not be yoked with unbelievers.

          Day and night, hour after hour, there was no escaping the ceaseless chant. The fold of hours into days did nothing to diminish the urgency and insistence of this unseen clamour. I went to sleep and I awakened with those voices in my ear.

Do not be yoked with unbelievers.

Do not be yoked with unbelievers.

Do not be yoked with unbelievers.

          Just as it is now, so it was then. A staunch, church-going Catholic friend from my university days had fallen into a pattern of abusing our friendship. Only when the blade of her knife came too close to my family did I realize this was not how someone who loved Jesus treated others. True love does not begrudge someone her closeness to her family.

          True love will never allow one to stealthily usurp the first place marriage and family occupies in another’s life.

          I left that friendship once it sunk into me that there was nothing to go back to.

          But I did not completely understand the word unbeliever, never liked it even. In the community I work and live in, I am often referred to as an unbeliever simply because I am Christian and no one else is. Yet, seven years ago, this word was brought to my spirit as a warning.

          Now, seven years since, unbeliever has returned like mist, the reminder at once gentle and sorrowful. As if someone knows I have need to reacquaint myself with it despite the pain and bewilderment it will once more bring. 

          This time I did not sidestep the teaching.

          An unbeliever is a Christian who bears the mark of the beast. Because he has rejected Truth. I do not know if the unfortunate soul is spiritually dead, but I know with a deep certainty it means he is on his way there.

          Because he once chose Jesus and lived Christ’s life but has now disowned the Lord. Something else has entered the heart where Jesus once lived. The human will has embraced this entity but disowned our Lord and His teachings. It is not about the occasional lapses of conscience, of the random missing of the moral mark that almost everyone is guilty of. It is much, much more than that.

          It concerns a deliberate and calculated casting aside of Christ’s teachings – either through a dilution, a misrepresentation or a distortion. There’s a first time, then a second. One dismissal leading to the next distortion. And finally a rapid spiraling away from Truth towards death.

          A hardened conscience. Spiritual death.

          I believe that God has bade me understand through this connivance of our family member, that the unbeliever can be anyone who claims to be a Christian. He can even  be a pillar of the Church. He might come across as spiritually superior. Enlightened. Progressive. 

          A face seemingly set in the direction of the sun.

          But in the deepest folds of his spirit, hides the ice he swears allegiance to : that he does not accept Jesus. That Jesus’ teachings hold little true value for him because they contradict the worldly values he lives by.

          He believes himself to be a Christian. In reality, he is a Christian shaped by deceit.

          For the unbeliever, the life Christ lived which He wrote with His Blood on every human heart is no longer relevant in these modern times. Christ’s and His apostles’ lives might only be something to be recalled during Mass, read about in daily readings or an act he emulates to put on display for others his Christian-ness, but those principles are not lived in sincerity in the everydays of his real life.

           I remember a day years back, when we went to this same relative’s home. It was for a quiet get-together after a requiem Mass for his late wife, a beautiful soul, who had passed away a month before. There we caught up with his extended family, and it was a day of subdued cheer for they were a friendly lot.

          And yet, I remember a faint chill in that home. In that company. It was as if behind the smiles and friendliness and Bible-toting, eyes watched us. Eyes not theirs. I remember smiling and going along with the cheery banter, yet wanting to leave and feeling relief when we did. I thought it was just me and my social awkwardness. But it is slowly dawning on me that perhaps it wasn’t. What I had sensed that day in that home where a heart of gold once beat was not solely the chill of grief for the deceased. The pall of death extended beyond the physical. Only now do I see it.

          It was not mere loss that our spirits brushed against. It was the cold of a fading conscience.

          The beginnings of the mark of the unbeliever.

 

         

 

 

Thank. Listen. Love. Pray.

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Appreciate what you have. Listen to the warnings, hug your children, and thank God for today and yesterday, and pray for a better tomorrow.

~ Natali Rojas, Corpus Christi, whose statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was the only item to withstand a devastating fire that destroyed three Corpus Christi-area homes during Hurricane Harvey, August 2017.

 

 

 

 

Look Up. Cross In The Sky.

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          Three days ago, I slowly became aware that for two days, two words had been clanging within me, like a mildly desperate banging of steel pot covers, to get my attention.

          Two little words: Look Up.

          Obediently, I went to the window to look up at the sky. And continued to keep a sharp eye on it through the rest of the day in case I missed something as great as the glory of angels. There were clouds galore, every shape of it. But I felt them staring back passively at me, eyes narrowed, yielding nothing. Two days later, saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet in my home in the morning, I was in a struggle to reign in fiercely wandering thoughts far removed from the prayer.

          In the midst of the lassoing, eyes closed, I saw a dark purple sky illuminated by a big, thin, bright silver Cross.

          Giving myself a good shake for it, I dismissed it as something I had conjured up.

          That afternoon, the motion of my world stalled when I received news that someone had hurt one of my children. As we struggled as a family to cope with the pain, I received God’s strength and wisdom through beloved friends, themselves wounded and bleeding.

          And all through, the words, Look Up, hung like a pearl~silver moon in our pain washed skies.

          The howl of gales had dipped a bit the following day. I found myself looking at the coral blush of sunset ribbon~clouds trailing their farewell glories over the tired earth. I looked for the wave of angels in them, anything I could point out to my wounded family, to lift spirits and ease the ache of misery. Intent on its dance, the clouds heard not my plea.

          But the very next moment, I felt the trace of the words, Look up. Cross In The Sky.

          Again, I peered intently at the sky. And again, the flame~dipped sky smiled and kept its counsel.

          It was then that I recalled the Cross I had seen as I prayed the chaplet.

          Hesitantly, I began to acknowledge that I had likely seen a vision the previous day. That the silver Cross in the purple sky emptied of stars and moon, was not a figment of my irrepressible imagination. Hours before it happened, I was shown the Cross, suspended high in a sky wearing the purple of grief – to prepare me for the lash my child was to receive, at the hands of an abuser. I was shown the Cross of Light, perhaps to prepare me to know that Light will shine, but only through the pain of the Cross. The Cross was not merely placed in a space before my eyes. It was shown to me, hung high, high up in the sky.

          Why? I whispered. Why high?

          Today, I visited a blog I last dropped by some weeks back, Truth Himself. My heart caught at its post for the 12th of October: Look Up. And the writer gave me the words for it – Lift up your hearts…. to the Lord. The suffering of my innocent child before me, I wandered over the bitter hours of the day. I thought of the back and forth struggle with dark thoughts of vengeance against the cruelty inflicted on us. While I did not actually leave the Cross to return to my old haunts, batter the Holy Wood I did, as I fought the leanings of my heart, to instead stay true to my new vow:

To not just carry, but to love the Cross.

          As the late evening winds bring the breath of distant rain, I feel a little breeze brush the barest of whispers against my spirit. I see the Cross of my vision again. A thin, bright, bright Cross, emanating a Light so sharp it was like the lancing of white~fire through diamonds. High in the sky, It hung Triumphant, well away from the shadow of lies and the flawed reasoning of mortals. Far, far beyond the obscuring wiles of any earthly impediment.

          On the anniversary of the final apparition of Fatima, 99 years since the Miracle of the Sun, I understand that coming is a Triumph no soul can deny. It will be a Triumph only through the Cross.

          A Triumph lit by the luminescence of love that suffers willingly for the Cross.

LENT 27 ~ Our Hand in Heaven

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A Treat For The Children ~ by Hermann Werner

         

          Heaven is God’s grace to us. But the grace comes to us only through the doors of the life of holy obedience we lead on earth.

Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received – only what you have given.  ~ St Francis of Assisi

 

The Tempter’s Song

tumblr_m4h0zdGltC1rwvtn9o5_r1_1280[1].png          Not even a month into the new year, and every day is a race to complete an endless amount of to-dos. The house like a tree, fruiting in abundance stacks of dirty dishes and laundry, crumpled paper and pencil stubs, food wrappers and store receipts. Trash bag after trash bag. Got to see to believe. Floors scrubbed today, grimy the next. No matter how fast I work, hardly a dent in what still needs to be done. At work, task after task crossed off, yet more popping up like mushrooms after the rain. The deadlines get shorter and shorter, the furrow in the boss’ forehead, deeper and deeper.

          I look around for hard surface. I need someplace to bang my head. I’ve only got a toe into the new year, and I’m already wheezing and gasping to keep up.

          I can’t believe that Christmas was not even a month ago. Short weeks since the languishing within the deep wells of Yuletide peace; yet, something seems to be chasing away the Christmas spirits of peace and inner stills, into deep burrows, away from the busy path of the every day. 

          Something doesn’t want the Christmas spirit around.

          It doesn’t want even traces of Bethlehem luminescence in any soul.

          It doesn’t want the joy. And certainly not the yearning for the Light of peace, for that is a yearning that feeds our souls. And the world says the time for that is over.

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          The world-all-wrong would have us believe that living in post-Christmas reality is to put Bethlehem spirit back into its box, and fasten the lid shut. That there is a time for the Messiah Joy, and it is not now. Achievement gurus will breathe into us that to rush and crush, is to live. That you’re living right if you’re always in a mad rush, stumbling from school runs to grocery shopping to dentist visits and then home, to burn the curry you thought you’d make to get everyone’s spirits up; if you’re sleeping late, waking early week after week to get that project on the road; if you go skidding into church, in time to hear the priest say, The Mass has ended, go in peace; if all you can manage is prayer on the run, and even that is mostly, O God, please, please let the bus be there.

          That’s life, shrugs the world. Accept it.

          But I won’t. Because that is deception.

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          We are being exhorted to buy into the belief that we must accept and succumb to and uphold a life made mad by the incessant rush of deadlines and stress. But it is precisely when we bow in obeisance to the Tempter’s doctrine of Rush and Crush, that we snuff out the Bethlehem Luminescence. We instead welcome in a manacling darkness, which will slowly and stealthily stain and destroy the very essence of our lives ~ children, family, relationships, our sacrifices, our very souls, – until we’re too blind to see anymore, and everything dies.

          The cramming of a decade of work into a year, the adrenalin rush of one super achievement after another, is a dark pull into the vortex of a life sans God, simply because there is no longer the time or space or stillness of spirit to seek Him and to listen out for Him. One simple ‘yes’ to the pull of the world precipitates us into another, and yet another, till we become slaves to a joyless, narcissistic life not willed by God.

          When the pursuit of material goals takes over our life, tiring us out so much we can no longer think straight, when we get so caught up in shoring up financial security that charity causes us pain, when worries and fears blacken the road ahead that all we see is the now of hopelessness, when family and marriage has to always pay the price for success, then, we have unwittingly listened to the wrong voice. We have submitted to the authority of the Tempter who touts Rush and Crush as the way to live, when in fact, it is a concealed, nefarious shackling to a life of slavery.

          Prematurely tired from just trying to cope, I think of the things that really matter – my God, kids and hubby and home. My faith life. All the little things not done but which must be done. I don’t want accomplishment, items ticked off lists, if it means forsaking quiet time. I think of the shallow prayers of the past week, and the nodding off through the night Rosaries. I realize there were too many prayers for my needs, and few for others. Everything was I  I  I the past weeks. My stress and struggle to cope had clouded my sense of charity. In my attempt to cope the way the world said I should, I had instead dimmed the true Luminescence of freeing truths that birth Life and love.

          Why pay homage to all that seeks to enslave when we were never meant to be slaves but brethren and free?

          I feel it deep within: there’s got to be a different way to live this life, and it must start sooner than later. 

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          We are born children of the Light. We are born to joy and peace. For ourselves, and to shine others to the same wellspring. The joyful luminescence of Christian hope and peace is a light lit in us from the moment of our conception, and nothing must ever dim it. The dimming is a deception that is not always a full frontal attack; more often than not, it sneaks up on us.  

         The seductive lure of Tempter’s song is sly in its subterfuge, for it promises life even as it seeks to kill.