HUMILITY

Close to the Ground

29945.jpg

……let simplicity and humility be the characteristic traits of your soul. Go through life like a little child, always trusting, always full of simplicity and humility, content with everything, happy in every circumstance. There, where others fear, you will pass calmly along, thanks to this simplicity and humility. Remember this, …. for your whole life: as waters flow from the mountains down into the valleys, so, too, do God’s graces flow only into humble souls.   ~ Entry 55, Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, St Maria Faustina Kowalska

          Humility has never been my strong point. I don’t know if having been put down so severely so often in more than thirty years of my early life with my birth family has anything to do with it.

          But whatever my old sorrows, God never allows a tearing unless it is willed for some reason.

          And what if, this reason was for humility?

          Although I expand great efforts to soar the skies, even I must admit that humility is often comforting. For one, it takes away from me the stress of having to burnish myself and my efforts with some form of allure. I do not need to care about what others think of me; I can leave them to their thoughts in peace.

          Humility takes away the many ruts and tangles that come with the seeking of respect, recognition and adulation. It smoothens out the many wrinkles and ripples that mark any life of worldly seeking.

          The view from the ground is different from any other. The times I have been here, I’ve seen life in a way I couldn’t from high up some perch. I saw the poor and the forgotten. I saw the broken and the wounded. I saw beauty in what the world scoffs at.

          Humility removes the inner mountains which obscure our view of God. It is the water from Heaven that cleanses our soul because it rids the spirit of strongholds that do us no good. 

          It has the subtle power to draw us away from the squalor of worldly dictates towards simple joys and an unfettered spirit.

          Because humility helps us to see what really matters and what doesn’t.

         

 

 

Advertisements

Loader of the Prayer~Cart

lot-5[1].jpg

          My weekend began with an examination of my conscience, and a doubting of the path I was now on – to empty my prayer~will. To empty it (of petitions) – for God to fill it. Off and on, through the weekend hours, I kept going back to this – Was it the right thing to do?

          Then, my mind wandered over the changes and happenings that had ensued from the new prayer.

          There had been power. Strength. There had been joyous, unexpected  happenings.

          And yet, I continued to nibble at the certainty, slowly ragged-ing its smooth edges. What if I was wrong? In these days of fake news and lies and distortion and illusions, had I veered off the True Path? What if I was wrong to empty my prayer~will?

          On the Feast of the Divine Mercy, I went before God. You have to answer me, I insisted.

          The first reply came through Susan Skinner’s post, If You Seek Healing. Of the many things that lit up in her piece, this caught me firmly – once you have emptied all of you, you can be filled up with God.

          And I learned yet again that the emptying of my prayer~will was the Will of God Himself. It was not a hardening of my heart, as I feared. It was not a callous disregard of the entreaties of others.

          It was another step in the journey of Surrender that I first began almost ten years ago. One I veered off many, many times, and returned to as often. And now, with the emptying of my prayer~will, I was tentatively opening myself up even further, laying everything of me at His Feet, to be used as He pleased. During Lent this year, my spirit got caught in the Call of the little Consoler, the Fatima seer, Francisco Marto. As I began to try to offer up little beads of Chaplets and Rosaries, solely to console the Wounded Heart of Jesus, like the little Shepherd had done, I learned of this little by-path the  emptying of the prayer~will was leading me to.

          But my learning was in no way over. Something else of Susan Skinner’s post remained in me: humility. When the eyes of my heart turned to it, I found it in a little pouch, its strings fastened such that I could not undo them to understand what deepened meaning Humility held now for me.

          But meaning came soon enough. That night, I read the words of a niece of the soon to be canonized little shepherd-seers. Jacinta Pereiro Marto said, “God chose my uncle and aunt because this is what He wanted, so much that my grandfather used to say that the Virgin wanted to come to Fatima and she chose his children, but that we didn’t deserve anything.” Because of this attitude instilled in the family by her grandfather – father to Blessed Francisco and Jacinta Marto – “we always lived very simply because God chose, and He chooses who He wants. We don’t deserve anything.”

          Her humility, the humility of that entire family despite understanding the import of the apparitions in Fatima all those years ago, was like a flower bursting into bloom for me. I realized that the erasing of my will in my prayers was a deepening of humility. To understand that it was not for me to ever occupy the driver’s seat of prayers. And not even to decide for myself which prayers to load onto my cart to take to Heaven.

          For the God who chooses me to drive the cart, is the same one Who will decide whose need gets onto mine and whose goes to another prayer~cart.

          Although I still do not understand why I have been brought to this point of placing even this freedom to pray for others in His Divine Will, for now, I feel a deep security in the Marto wisdom, God chose, and He chooses who He wants.

          The same God who chose my prayer~cart, will fill it with the needs He chooses.

 

LENT 35 ~ Jesus Fought My Battle

St. Sebastian, St. Sebastian (41)[1]

          Yesterday, the Lord called me to a fast from anger.

          Never before have I felt such tenderness in a call. Never before have I found the firmness of will to obey. 

          The moment I sensed the call, there arose like mushrooms after the rain, endless pops of situations that tested my patience, and tempted me to anger. Seeing the end of Lent in sight, and not wanting to gift my Lord on Easter with the usual mess of red darts, I willfully chose to rest my heart and will in Jesus.

          And He fought my battles for me.

          I came to evening weary and listless from physical tiredness, but also with a relief that no one did I maim with my anger. Neither did it find a refuge within my soul in the sultry hours of yesterday.

          Because, for once, I fasted from myself and let my Jesus fight for me.

I lead, not you

lonely_bird_2560x1600[1].jpg

          Someone I love is in a dark place, bereft of hope, sodden with a grief that wounds and wounds with every resurrection. Every lift and turn of head brings into focus the loss that cuts deep. There is no escaping it. No forgetting, no momentary relief. Strength has gone to the grave, hearts weep and chafe for a light now gone.

bdee6e89259051a358880b44d2e8f186[1]

          At the first stain of pain, we both prayed our hearts out, joined by other loving souls from across the world. There was hope and light and a future. But then, something changed overnight.

           Something’s not right, my prayers are not being received, I realize.

          I plough on. She has fallen. Pray to St Joseph, invoke him, I tug her to her feet insistently. And I share a lot about St Joseph after that, so she seeks him as I did and do. But the resistance strangely deepens. I ache with a frustration which I hide – to not add another cross to the grief. I want nothing more than to reach out and press the balm of healing into a wound that bleeds. To stretch out my hand, and light up every darkness, banish each shadow to its lair of lament.

          Yet, no power do I have. There is little I can say or give that will turn sorrow into joy. I am no replacement for what has left never to return. I am unable to bud and bloom the rose of hope for her.

          No power do I have, no power do I have.

          And we both slump, tired.

women%20sad%20window%20panes%201920x1080%20wallpaper_www.wallpaperfo.com_39[1]          I see the darkness of despondency encroach quickly in the wounded heart of my loved one, shores and waters away. The prayers continue to fall into a vacuum, novenas bounce off invisible walls. My loved one screams for reprieve, for a glimmer of hope that lets one put one foot in front of the other. Yet, unexpectedly, no hand from Heaven reaches out. A wall of silence meets each weeping entreaty.

          I worry. I can sense her giving up, the tenuous grip on life and hope, loosening. I pray to compensate for her. But when I battle on, I sense I’m being restrained. Doors being closed. I fret because I think I prayed all the right prayers – to restore hope, to heal the wounds, dry the tears, light the path ahead. Yet, they’re not being received.

          Why, why, why?

          Why has Heaven suddenly put a Hand up against my sincere prayers?

          I want answers. I turn to St Joseph – the saint of interpretationof not only dreams, but of every manner of twist and turn of path. I beg his discernment. Why, why, why? I ask him. Why did you not help her as you helped me?

          And it comes, on a lily-breath:

          I am your journey, not hers, he presses on my heart.

          And there it was, laid out plainly and directly.

ws_Trees_Path_Snow_Leaves_Grass_1920x1200.jpg

          I am your journey, not hers. No two journeys are the same, however similar they may seem.  No two valleys, no two peaks will ever be the mirror image of the other. And it is not my call to make it thus. I cannot play God. I cannot take His place, and commandeer the path others must take – be it a course of action, or a saint to invoke, or a novena to say – even if it worked for me. God must be allowed to lead unhindered, each pilgrim soul through the valley of grief. I cannot, should never, take the lead, even if it seems so right.

bubble-wallpaper-3365-wallpapers-desktop[1].jpg

          And when the arrow of humility finally finds its mark in my bowed soul, a sudden power of strength and hope surges through me. Gone are the muddy shadows and lethargy. Gone is the wall, the resistance. I see my failing in my pride that I knew it all, but I see too Heaven’s mercy extended in the fresh blossoming of hope come alive in my soul.

          My tread is more contrite now. It is learning to follow the Light ahead. It understands it should never lead.

MERCY MERCY MERCY

8584_1280x800[1]

          An odd stilling within me. Something has changed. No Word, no sensing, no wisp of old hymn flitting by. All of a sudden, unable to discern the signposts that mark the way ahead. Days and days go by. The inner hush remains.

Where do I go?

What do I do?

Silence in reply.

Flower-Wallpaper-Free-Download[1]

          Then, after ever so long, from deep within I hear a line from an old hymn. I cannot recall much of the hymn but one word quietly pulses with life:

MERCY

          A common enough word these days. The Jubilee Year of Mercy. Mercy for the Holy Souls in November. Reminders of mercy from the pulpits around the world.

          And yet, this morning, borne on unseen wings, it came to me with a new firmness that could not be shrugged off. It brought with it a frisson of unease. After long days of not sensing anything, I felt something gathering on the horizon. Not here yet, but coming. Coming with a certainty. Mercy. I turned it over in my head. Then, it became clear.

Seek My Mercy

4d5460e55ded8088e135a71548a080f1[1]

          I was stunned. I thought I had that covered – in my daily prayers, my sins were never hidden. In recent trials, my weaknesses were highlighted anew, but hadn’t I fought with the breastplate and armour of God? Had I not plunged myself and my failings into the depth of His Wounds? Did He not answer my brokenness in the calm and miracle that ensued? Seek Mercy? So soon?

          A heaviness and a sense of urgency descended.  A growing wordless clamour beat against my heart. Now. Seek My Mercy Now. I went out into the cold, gray morning to gather the jasmine blooms from the laden bush for the altar bowl. As I picked a tiny flower, I clumsily launched into prayer. I beg Your Mercy for all my sins…. The next white bloom…My quickness to anger… the readiness to fume… Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.

          A heaven-willed prayer gently slipped into place.

bowed in prayer[1]

          For every sin I mentioned, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy. Standing upright, yet, my whole being bent into a repentance bow.

My reluctance to yield….Mercy, Mercy, Mercy….

          Bloom after dew wet bloom tumbled into the clear bowl…sin after sin, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy...

faded-flower-colors1[1]          In the deep wet grass, filling my flower bowl, seen to no one, I slipped into the past. Days of youth long gone by. Transgressions from a time almost misted over in memory. Stony faced but grieving inside, one by one I named my sins. Bloom after bloom. Mercy….Mercy….Mercy.

          All the pearls picked, the clock beckoned.

          No answering peace, no pat on the head.

grand-canyon-storm-clouds_25299_990x742[1]

          Something in the distance. Not here yet, but coming. Coming with a certainty.