Feast of St. Joseph

Lent 29 ~ Her Name is N

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Your prayer intercession for N is pleasing to Me because it is an act of love.​   ~  In Sinu Jesu

 

          After a stretched and harried workday, the last thing I wanted was to make that long drive to the city. The only thing in favour of the trip was that I would have a chance to go to church, my first time since the 3rd week of January when my country went into lockdown again. That I would be able to spend the feast day of St. Joseph in a silent church before my Hidden Jesus, firmed my resolve further.

          The hot winds tossed and leapt in the blue skies above the seaside city as I got down from the car. I was so very happy to be back. It has been close to 2 months of hardly any quiet alone time and I was longing so much just to be alone. Entering church and settling down, for an hour, I got just that. No interruptions. Just the muted sounds of passing traffic and the chirping of happy birds in pursuit of living. Quiet and chatty in turns, I laid bare my whole heart to Jesus, even as I listened for His words. 

          Presently, barrel emptied, I picked up my copy of In Sinu Jesu, allowing the words to thread through me. Soon, it would be time to begin the journey home, to return to all that awaited me, the beautiful as well as the difficult.

Speak to me, Jesus, I prayed, if it be Thy will. Don’t let me go back without hearing You.

          Paragraph after paragraph, page after page, words flowed but nothing remained within me. I didn’t pause to try and go deeper either. Several times, I reminded myself that the words I was reading were God’s to the monk – not me – because I didn’t want to imagine that a word was for me. If God wanted to speak to me, He would make His voice heard and I would somehow know it.

          But God didn’t speak and yet, my peace was not disturbed. It was one of those rare times when I was fully trusting Him. I read on a bit more and then, saw that it was time to pack up.

          Just then, a thought occurred to me. So many lives would have been different had the people known of Jesus and felt His love. And I thought about my colleague from work who continues to make my life a misery due to the jealousy within her. Back in the day when we were close, on occasion, I used to share with her my walk with Jesus. Unlike the others whose eyes would narrow and lips tighten, my friend always listened earnestly. She knew I was not in the business of trying to convert her to my faith. She knew that I respected her faith and that she had nothing to fear from me.

          And yet, something in her faith was justifying what she was doing to me, a Christian.

          I decided I would bring my friend to Jesus. Shutting my eyes, I imagined her sitting beside me, right in front of the Tabernacle, before Jesus’ eyes. I offered her heart to Jesus. After a few moments, I returned to my book.

          Suddenly, without warning, a line appeared and shot its arrow right through my heart.

          Your prayer intercession for N is pleasing to Me because it is an act of love.​ 

          This monk, N, had been mentioned several times before and my spirit had never been moved. This time though, a jolt went through me. I knew then that this time, Jesus had meant those words for me.

          Because my friend’s name begins with N.

Lent 28 ~ Faith of the Fathers

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He believed, hoping against hope…   ~    Of Abraham, Romans 4:18

          Today, on this feast of St. Joseph, I ask for the gift of Abraham’s faith. May this asking go far, not confined merely to my heart and to those I carry in it, but to every corner of the world, to flowering fields and into shadows. Where hope is new. Where it is unformed. Even where it is strong and growing. Where it is shattered and dying.

          Joseph was bequeathed this very gift, and throughout his life, he burnished this faith – not by blind fanaticism – but by the oil of humility and obedience. Not by refusing to ponder or question what he did not understand, but by asking for illumination and waiting for it.

          We all have need of this faith, this faith of old, this faith of the Fathers.