FIRST SATURDAY DEVOTION

What Do You Ask Of Me?

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          Since the Prince Edward Island Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote so profoundly of caught my heart and refused to let go this time, I have come to know an ache I have not known before this ~ the intense longing for a life gone by, that was lived for God and God alone. The intensity of this foreign ache for an even more foreign land cut into me so deeply that I was frightened of it, frightened of the power a mere longing could have over me.

          What if this is from darkness? I wondered. What if this is a distraction, to take me away from duty and prayers and inner silence?

          So, I was determined to wrest back my stoic, practical side, by wilfully forgetting this mad yearning, and getting on with life.

          It being the 1st Saturday of the month, I felt a sense of purpose open up before my seeking. Determined to observe 1st Saturday devotions, I decided to live this one day solely for Mother Mary, as an act of reparation for the blasphemies against Her Immaculate Heart.

          And to live the hours of the day just this way by burying Prince Edward Island into the folds of forget, so that its beauty would haunt and distract my thoughts no more.

          And so it was, Hail Mary after Hail Mary, woven through a day sweetened by cool breezes and the welcome respite of household chores and cares. Nonetheless, it was one rosebud of a Hail Mary after another, against the backdrop of Prince Edward Island. It felt as if my spirit could not release itself from the lure of this little Canadian jewel.

          Why? I wondered. Why?

          I had wanted to bury it and forget it, hoping spiritual busyness would leech its lustre for me. Yet, like an enduring flame, the beauty of old life on this island burned steadily on in my heart.

          Gently, I became aware that my wistful desire for this land didn’t cloud out prayer, or diminish it, – as it would have had this longing been from darkness as I had feared; in fact, the minute I began the consecration of my day to the Immaculate Heart, this strange ache gently eased into the background of my consciousness, content to remain there as I gave my hours as best as I could to Mother Mary.

          Despite its potency, it did not compete with Our Lady. On the contrary, it willingly acceded to Our Lady’s presence, although it remained close. If at all it had been the work of the evil one, it would have fled.

          Hours passed. I mentally soaked my spirit in pictures of that beautiful island far north of the world, each time asking, Why? Why did you come? Why will you not go? Then, I suddenly thought of someone I know and wondered if I should open up about it.

          And with no overture on my part, that was what actually happened. This very person got in touch. Taking it as a sign, I shared what had been happening.

          Why am I aching for this place? I asked.

          Perhaps it is a longing for heaven…, came the reply.

          I am stunned! For it is that exactly. As if by seeing this land, I have touched heaven for real. And I have returned from that communion now, no longer the same for this touch I have been allowed.

          If it was indeed that the veils were lifted, then why? For what purpose? Because the life I long for, the period of time the novels of Anne of Green Gables is set in, is not devoid of challenges. I see this Prince Edward Island of the character Anne’s time as my Eden-on-earth – one of savouring of deepest joys, but one of willing, joyous labour too.

          Is that what heaven really is too?

          For a moment, it all becomes too much, and I want to escape it. But the questions pursue me, pushing me to where the mists are gathered, willing me to not give up  seeking the Truth. It comes to family Rosary time, and with a rush of relief, I throw my seeking into the prayers.

          Just after the first decade, inexplicably, I sense the questions dry up. I try to summon the queries again, but come up empty. They have gone.

          The desire to know has left me.

          I return to the rest of the recitation, emptied of myself finally, and in some relief, offer up the prayers as cleansed vessels for the Mother to fill as needed.

          When Rosary ends, an Unseen Hand leads me to the question of the Fatima seer, Sr Lucia, for Our Lady of the Fatima Apparitions:

What do You want of me?

          It falls straight into my heart.

          Immediately, I know that is what I am to ask as well. In a light~burst, the mists part, and I suddenly see the winding turns I had to traverse because that was the only way to  reach this question.

What do You want of me?

          This inexplicable wrench of heart for a tiny province in a country that will once more be consecrated to Our Lady in July this year, had not been a passing bloom that had randomly fallen into my heart. It had been breathed into my soul on blue breezes, to rest in the folds of my heart.

          To trouble and trouble my spirit till it yielded, to ask my own Fatima Question, 

What do You ask of me?

Lent 4 ~ Fire of Seeking

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          First Saturday devotions to Our Blessed Mother. After long days where the skies tipped over jar after jar of heaven’s dew over us, the rains lost to the pale sun this morning. As rain memories formed a million water~diamonds that clung to wet leaves and twinkled sunlight through, my inner rebel bade me depart from the usual 1st Saturday devotions.

          Instead, I offered Mother the first rain~roses of the blessed first Saturday of Lent – decades of the Glorious Mysteries. I recalled a similar July offering last year, and I tried my best to scrub my offering clean of my never ending petitions. Today’s morning Rosary was my gift to Mother, and I didn’t want it beribboned in earthly seeking.

          The 4th Mystery wrapped and offered, my Mother showed Herself. This would be the third time since last year that I have experienced this – right after the 4th Mystery, I am either shown or taught something.

          This time, Mother came forth and led my mind back to the Miracle of Limpias. Back into the quiet, dusty church, lit by flailing faith. The miracle had happened on March 30, 1919 – during the season of Lent. At a time when spiritual mourning should have brought souls to the tabernacle of supreme grace. As my spirit stood within that still moment when the sunlight streams through dustnotes, I felt this written in a whisper,

Pray to Seek

          As the sun’s rays fell into my heart, I suddenly realized almost all my prayers are usually about appeasement – that someone be given this or granted that. They are seldom about a genuine searching for God. I can barely remember if I have ever prayed that others sell their treasures and to become spiritual pilgrims on a journey of holy seeking.

          That dying church of St Peter in Limpias, in the days before Life lit the dark there, might have been filled with people who did not seek Christ as they should have. They brought themselves to church but might have left their souls elsewhere in the coils of earthly cares.

          The brethren of Limpias then are me and too many others now. We do not seek God with heart and soul. And even if we do, we might be seeking Him in the pastures and meadows of our choice.

          On this morning when the sun seeks to dry the tears of the earth, the Queen of Heaven has made Her wish known – that we pray for the fire of seeking.