FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION

Lent 34 ~ Miracle of Motherhood

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The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.   ~   Luke 1: 35 – 37

 

          From yesterday, my heart has been filled with babies. This past year, I’ve truly carried my children close to my heart. For all the times work has taken me away from them, the past 12 months have returned me to them.

          But yesterday, babies clung tighter to my heart a little more than usual.

          As always, the realization came belatedly.

Feast of the Annunciation

Feast of the Miracle of motherhood

          I have been blessed with this miracle seven times that I know of. Some of my children are here with me, my heart’s delight. Some are hidden from sight, my unseen helpers.

And one leads the way.

          For a time, I struggled to have children. I know too well that everything the world says is right can instead result in disappointment after disappointment. The sun will never rise unless God grants us His love. Many women have trouble with this comforting truth – that God determines each dawn of life, the journeys each of our children take to come to us.

          But it is true. A child comes to know our love only in God’s time.

          Today, on this day sacred to motherhood, my prayers are for a dear colleague aching to have a baby after the sorrow of miscarriage. If it be the will of my Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady, may my friend know the miracle of motherhood again. May she be one with the others I place in the Divine Hearts of Jesus and Mother Mary,

Those who sit by the window of life, waiting and waiting,

Those who returned God’s gifts because He asked.

Those who said, Not now, Lord,

Those who turned their hearts away, saying, Never.

Those who loved and who had no choice but to release their loves to others.

          Today, I consecrate each heart, of woman and baby, to the Mother Heart that knows the seasons of motherhood only too well.

          May today be the Day of Miracles.

Lent 26 ~ A Quiet Gift Comes

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          I had been waiting for this day, this 25th of March. Feast of the Annunciation. Since 2016, I have been nudged to alertness regarding this date, this Feast, the day Mary said Yes to God.

          From Monday, when I began my simple 3 day novena to prepare for the feast day, my chest would tighten every time I thought about it. Was it anticipation? Perhaps. But I cannot be sure, because there was an underlying anxiety. An undercurrent of premonition.

          But the 25th of today dawned incredibly beautiful. Deep azure skies, a strong sun. Flowers in wild and joyful bloom, dancing in rhythm to the mischievous winds toying with them. Even my morning’s frisson of unease evaporated in the face of such sunny happiness.

          Yet, I continued to gently press my heart against Heaven. Give me Thy sign.

          And then, it came. But it was nothing like I had been stiffening and tightening up for.

          Instead, an unseen gentleness quietly led me on a little journey down an old lane of memory. I was brought back to verses that have never failed to quieten and still me.

Then the LORD said: Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by. There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.   ~   1 Kings 19: 11 – 12

          I know it should have been obvious to me, but it wasn’t. Not until today.

          I had always wondered what on earth that strong and violent wind, that earthquake, that fire – referred to. I would scan headlines and reports about Mother Earth revolting, laying my heart against each one, trying to find a common rhythm that told me I had found the answer.

          But each attempt was futile. I was brought to the gates and each time, left there, not allowed in. Until today. Today, the gates opened slightly. And even from the humble spot where I was, I suddenly understood what had been hitherto hidden from my spirit of understanding.

The gates I had been made aware of in Lent of 2018 referred to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

          And the wind, the earthquake, the fire – all now referred to inner churnings in my life.

          There had been strong and violent winds, earthquakes, fire even, in my personal and professional life for many years. I had struggled with and through each one, sometimes pulling through, often failing. Each fall went on to generate another set of wild winds, a series of earthquakes, endless fires as I fought fear, tears and frustrations.

          But early this year, I began to sense something had changed in me. Outwardly, I seemed to be the same. Some days I even fooled myself. Yet, it was evident that I was no longer who I was. Although I worked very hard at my job, although the pace was terrible this year, something else held fort within me, holding me back from the edge of the cliff. I knew that something was the December dream which warned of a complete and no-turning-back burnout.

          Suddenly, with that dream, I knew that I could no longer allow any external wind, earthquake or fire to destroy me and my body and my peace of mind. No matter what blew or shifted or raged, I had to take charge.

I had to flee to the hills of my God and my faith.

          And so I did. Many days, it sure didn’t seem like it, but if I forgot one day, I made amends the next day. Slowly, I learned something that has always been so hard for me – saying No, saying Stop. I did it at work. I did it at home too. Sure, that didn’t make some people too happy with me, but they needed to hear it.

         And now with the Covid-19 Movement Control Order in place, today extended by an additional 2 weeks, although I am working from home, I no longer have to contend with the worst of outside winds, earthquakes or fires. A clear break has come.

          Today, on the Feast of the Annunciation, Our Lady came to softly tell me it was time to eradicate, obliterate even the few inner winds, earthquakes or fires which may come to life from time to time as I navigate the roads of fear, worry and tension of this terrible pandemic. She came today to tell me it is time I leaned against Her and the communion of saints who are family to me, in order to fight myself, to fight back against the winds, earthquakes and fires of my emotions and temperaments.

          To still all that breaks, shifts and rages within me.

          Because it is in that ensuing peace and stillness that I will finally hear the small, still sound of my God.

          And with that victory, I will finally lean forever against the Heart of my beloved Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 17 ~ Give Me A Sign

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          The bell of the Annunciation has chimed thrice in the last 7 days. My daughter unexpectedly reminded us about it last week. Yesterday, the priest informed the congregation of the special Mass times for the Feast. And this morning, a commenter wished me, Happy Annunciation  Day.

          Since 2016, the Feast of the Annunciation has chimed a special, hidden bell within my soul. That year, in the month of July, I had a strange experience. I was trying to gift Our Lady with a Joyful Mystery Rosary when She put out Her hand and gently restrained me to the First Joyful Mystery: The Annunciation.

          And then, She spoke 10 words,

The event of the Warning will begin with the Annunciation

          Will begin with. For the first time then, I was faced with the likelihood that the Warning or the Illumination of Conscience was not merely to be a single, sudden event; it was also to be like a flower bud, going towards its full bloom, petal by petal unfurled. It was clearly imprinted on my heart that this unfurling of the Warning – for me – would begin in 2017. This has led me to believe that many people would have had the same experience – but with different dates.

          Today, on the Feast of the Annunciation, remembering the signs of the Warning I have received, the First Reading stuns me:

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”   ~   Isaiah 7: 10 – 12

Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God

God is commanding Ahaz to ask for a sign. In my simpleton’s understanding of that line, God is actually asking Ahaz to move beyond his fear and tremulous faith, to put out into the deep, and to boldly ask God for His illumination.

let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky

This Illumination which God is commanding Ahaz to ask for will be a paradox. To some, this illumination will be the rainbow of all rainbows, high in the skies, beyond the sight of hope and expectation, an unexpected fire of joy. But to others, the illumination will bring severe pain, piercing to the very depths of all that has been secret thus far.

But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”  

          That was my exact answer when I first read the words of Isaiah 7 this morning, Ask for a sign.

I will not ask!

To ask is to be curious about what is to come.

To ask is to return to what I was before – painting my own picture of hope.

I will not ask!

I will not ask!

I will not ask!

          Then, the words of the Responsorial Psalm came before me,

Sacrifice or oblation You wished not,
but ears open to obedience You gave me.   ~   Psalm 40: 7

God reminded me of the change I have committed to – which includes moving from mere sacrifice to the sacrifice of obedience.

          The obedience of not just asking for a sign – which may return me to who I was before – but to Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God.

          And so, on this Feast of the Annunciation, I seek Mary’s fiat to obedience.

Give me a sign, O Lord,

From You

And You alone.

 

 

 

Lent 22 ~ Chime of the Annunciation

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          I wasn’t sure of the date today, so I checked, and saw that it was March 25.

          And it tugged on my heart.

          I ran the date through my head to see if it was a birthday or a deadline I had forgotten, but there didn’t seem to be anything.

          I continued my work. And the date continued to chime quietly and gently, like the tiniest of bells. Little baby-tugs on my heart. About two hours later, it had gone on long enough that I could no longer ignore it, so I looked up the date to see if there was a church feast of some significance.

          March 25 2017 was the Feast of the Annunciation. It hit me like a slap of water.

          In July last year, we were to travel back to my husband’s hometown, to visit a grave. We always take flowers when we go, but that day, it was special, and I wanted roses, and the best of them too. In my heart, I envisioned pink roses; I yearned for the beautiful Guadalupe Roses. They do not grow here, but I prayed we’d find something close enough.

          However, during my Morning Holy Hour that blue~gold July day, I received three tugs in a single, different direction.

          The first came through a painting I had never before seen – of a young girl pinning a rose to a statue of Mother Mary.

          And the second tug was by St Padre Pio. I cannot remember how it came about, but it was willed by God that morning,  that I should find a link to a website that was all about St. Pio and the Rosary.

          Finally, as we were leaving the house to begin our long journey, I casually looked around the tangle that is our garden, and amongst the busyness there, a lone flower caught my hurrying gaze.

          A tiny, tiny pink tea~rose.

          As we travelled, my thoughts inevitably went back to my hope that we’d find roses.

          In a quiet light burst, I recalled the events of the morning – the picture, the words and the baby bloom of rose. And immediately, I knew.

          I had wanted roses for this beloved one gone Home.

          But instead, Beloved wanted Roses for our MotherThe most beautiful of Guadalupe roses – the Rosary.

          I yielded to the gentle but insistent request.

          It being a Monday, I began to recite the Joyful Mysteries. The 1st Mystery, the Annunciation, went fine, and I proceeded to the 2nd. But from a sharp and sure determination to recite the Rosary, I suddenly began to struggle with the 2nd decade of the Rosary. The words kept evaporating, I kept forgetting them.

          Over and over and over, I went back to the 2nd, then to the 3rd decades of the Rosary. 

          Over and over, each time, the Rosary header for each decade dissipated. I would begin to recite the Mystery for the decade, and I would be transported right back to the first mystery.

          The Annunciation.

          Soon, I began to feel drowsy. It was warm day, and one of beauty. Blue mists still hid and peeked out from amongst branches and grass dancing in the merry~yellow of the morning sunshine. The perky joy of the day drizzled its blessings into my spirit.

          Lulled into a deep peace, as I savoured the gold of that beautiful day, my thoughts drowsily went back to my struggle with the Rosary. My recitation kept going back to the Annunciation.

          Why did I keep returning to that? Was something holding me back? What was it about the Annunciation?

          And at that moment, I heard a clear, female voice write these words on my heart ~

The event of the Warning will begin with the Annunciation

          That was last year. I had forgotten all that. But the memory returned today, in the earliest hours of the 25th, the Feast of the Annunciation, 2017. Despite the initial shock of remembering, there is no fear, no worry whatever may come. That day last year, I was not told the year to look out for.

          But I now know it is this year, 2017. Because the Rose~bell chimed just after midnight of the old day.

          To remind me of the great day when the Archangel Gabriel announced the coming of a Miracle to change the tide of the times.