ILLUMINATION OF CONSCIENCE

When The Light Falls

          2048x1365-3058756-astrology_astronomy_atmosphere_blue_conifers_constellation_dark_dusk_evening_evening-sky_exploration_forest_galaxy_landscape_lights_long-exposure_mood_moo.jpg

          On Christmas Day, I was reminded of a dream in October, of losing a member of my extended family. Awakening from that dream, deeply distressed, I pleaded with God for this person’s life. In exchange, I told God I would not ask to be released from my workplace Cross. I wasn’t the greatest when it came to carrying my Crosses. No matter how many lessons of the Cross I learned, I never seemed to remember them long enough.

          But for the sake of this precious life, loved so much by his family, for the sake of his elderly mother who cannot be asked to bury her son, I decided I’d grit my teeth and carry my Cross as best as I could.

          Towards the end of November, as Advent busyness began to wrap its festive ribbons around us, I clean forgot about that dream – until the Angel nudged it back on Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, I had prayed for this relative and his family to be with us during our family gathering. He had informed us earlier that work commitments were keeping him from coming; but I was praying for a miracle that he’d be able to make it here at the last minute.

          However, when the Angel reminded me of the dream where this person had died, I was shocked into remembering. Then, I flailed, trying to take back my prayer. No gathering, however important, equaled in value to a person’s life. Under stress, possibly exhausted, I didn’t want him to drive all the way here. I began to instead pray that his work smoothens out and that he accomplishes all that he needs to. Then, once more, I asked forgiveness for my earlier prayer and prayed for his life to be spared.

           Just as I was praying, the warm aurelian rays of the setting evening sun shone into the living room. They shone through the trees and fell upon portions of the wall just above our front door.

          On that wall, hung a picture of Jesus and Mary, the Heart of God and the Immaculate Heart, superimposed upon one another. Two Hearts beating through each other, beating as One.

          And the sun’s last rays caught that picture. But not the whole of it.

          Just the hearts.

          In the painting, the dull red Heart itself was bordered by a light yellow area, indicating the kingly power of the Heart of God. The rays of the sun fell on the Heart. But the Heart did not take on the expected sheen of gold.

          Instead, the Heart now glowed bright red, while the yellow periphery glowed pure, sharp white. The rays fell on the wall on either side of the picture. It fell on the Heart. But on the picture, it appeared to come from behind the Heart, shining through the Heart.

          At that moment, I recalled the Christmas message I had texted to family members earlier. I normally give a lot of thought to that message. And I write from the heart. But this Christmas, something was off. My head was not where it should have been. I was slightly unwell, tired, sluggish. Hence, I rushed off the first thing that came to my mind.

May the Light fall into your heart.

          Fall into your heart. Sheesh, I thought. But I sent it out anyway.

          Now, hours later, looking at what the sun was doing to the Heart of Jesus in the picture, I wondered if that message had been me at all.

          Then, another thought came quietly to me.

          Jesus is showing me the Illumination of Conscience.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Vigil of Repentance

Miranda_-_The_Tempest_JWW

          On a quiet day this week, just as a gentle dawn was rising from its east, I was sliced through my heart. I had a dream. In it, someone called me Widow.

          I shot out of the dream in severe shock. The minute I awakened, I felt a wall come up between my present hour and the dream. For a long time, that has been God’s sign to me, marking the difference between a dream that is a warning and one that is a premonition of a coming, certain reality. Yet, this time, it gave me no comfort. I held my sleeping husband, weeping silently, begging God not to take him. But I couldn’t hold in the silent screams for long. A wild restlessness tore at me.

          I rose and ran to God. Weeping and weeping, in deep fear, I gripped my Rosary and buried my torment in the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

For the sake of His Most Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Please, don’t take him, Lord,  Please, don’t take him,  Please, don’t take him.

           All through the first decade of the chaplet, I pleaded and begged for my husband’s life to be spared. I distinctly heard voices from the side asking me what right did I have to ask not to be widowed when so many others had suffered this same grief. Did I think I was so special that I could choose my Crosses?

          Even in that mind-numbing sorrow of what I saw in the dream, guilt taunted me. Was I rejecting a Cross God wanted me to suffer for His sake?

          Who was I to think I did not deserve that suffering? asked the voices.

          Then, somber, old lights began to stream before me. Memories of odd happenings recently – all related to marriage and family. Things I hadn’t understood. Things that had worried me. Did they all portend this terrible, terrible grief?

          Fear rose like a black storm and began to violently pound my heart.

          Desperately, I clung tighter to the Chaplet prayers. Then, I saw the millions of times I had sought to save my own peace and left my husband to his struggles. The times I had little patience for him. The times, uncountable number of times, I had taken his love and sacrifices for granted. And now, that love was going to be taken away forever.

          I repent.   I repent.   I repent.

          Forgive me, O Lord, I have sinned, I sobbed to my God who had given me the greatest gem in the man I had married so many years ago. A man I loved with all my heart, yet took for granted as deeply too.

          Praying the Divine Mercy chaplet before the Miraculous Image on my wall, praying it like one demented with fear and grief and remorse, I went into the second decade.

          At the tenth, a personal sign, these words streamed before me ~

 The Illumination of Conscience

          That precise moment the words unfurled, the black wave of fear receded. In its wake, a sudden stillness.

          I raised my head and looked at the Miraculous Image before me.

          Was this what this was about? The Illumination of Conscience. The Warning. I thought of the unknown, unseen feminine voice I had heard in the midst of a Rosary a year ago – The event of the Warning will begin with the Annunciation. I was not told the year, but I recalled how I had forgotten the Feast of the Annunciation this year, only to be reminded of it by angels. On and on their bells had tinkled until I took notice and asked why. Why was I reminded? Was it merely to observe the Feast?

          Or was it because, as the voice had spoken, it heralded the beginning of the falling of a Luminescence beyond words – into hearts?

          In a way I cannot explain, terrible, horrendous though my morning dream and subsequent suffering was, I just knew that was merely the first rays of that Day of the Sun. The first rays – and yet the nails that tore at me were severe beyond words.

          As I sat, stilled and in thought, in that unlit pool of revelation, no relief flooded through me. It was as if my frightened spirit had moved beyond that primal seeking. Comfort didn’t matter anymore. Instead, every part of me stared at my sin of ingratitude.

          Slowly, stealthily, I sensed a stirring from the side. Other memories sidled into my consciousness. Voices from the past. Warnings to be financially prepared. The naming of beneficiaries. Writing of wills.

          I turned my gaze away from my sin and looked to my side.

          Suddenly, suddenly, the black tempest of minutes before tore back into place, wrenching and spinning my heart in widening circles of freezing, choking fear. Gone was the stillness of the tenth. Gone was the calm. In its place, the madness that only abject fear can invoke.

           It was the ravaging of sanity that comes when we take our eyes off the Cross.

          I reared back, stunned. My spirit stared at the two contrasts – my inner state as I stood by the Cross and wept over my sins. And the other – when I turned and moved away from the Cross.

          I knew immediately that the practical preparedness of putting our combined finances in order – which seemed so right – was wrongIt was right, it had to be done, but it was NOT what God wanted me to keep my gaze on now. And yet, it was what the voices from the side were calling me to.

          Immediately, I wrenched back the eyes of my spirit from the side it was distracted to. I returned to my rightful post – by the streams of remorse and repentance. Here, despite the crushing pain over my falls, I did not feel as if I was being whipped and flung around in an unstable  vortex.

          I held my rose~beads resolutely once more, determined to face His Light and have it burn away my ingratitude for the gift of my husband. As I begged God for forgiveness,  God placed other sins before me. He showed me the dark extents I had allowed my anger when hurt to stream out into.

          He made me face the very many times I had wished the same pain of loss I had suffered upon those I had tried to love but who had hurt me when I had done no wrong to them.

          God placed face after face of my victims before me. Those who had knifed me when I was at my lowest. Those whom I had wished  would come to know the same sorrow that had pierced my own soul ten years ago, and to know the violence of that grief to its fullness. I had wished this upon others despite knowing it by its name – REVENGE. I had wished it not out of mere spite. Not because I couldn’t bear their joy while I walked the valley of grief; I had wished it so they would weep as I did.

          And so, stop hurting me.

          But in the eyes of God, that didn’t change the name of my sin. That others had struck me first. That I was merely reacting to their wounding. It didn’t mellow its stain on my soul. It remained as REVENGE.

          As He unmasked the dark inside me, I heard the words of my dream again, saw the reel rewind and play back. But this time, I felt the pain I had wished upon others.

How terrible that pain felt when it befell me.

          In my anguish at what I saw, I felt God was not unmasking enough. And so, I went within deeper, uncovering more and more victims of my particular anger. It was as if I was baring all to God, saying to Him – There are more, there are more!

          I’ve always struggled with an entire chaplet of the Divine Mercy prayed in one sitting but this morning, I went through two. Suddenly, nothing was too little or too difficult for expiation of sin when I was given a taste of the agony I wanted others to feel.

          The bitter morning dream had come on the last day of my novena to St Joseph – to plead that my heart – and the hearts of all I carry within mine – be prepared for the Illumination of Conscience. The dream was St Joseph’s answer to my prayers. But it was not a gentle answer from the Gentle Spouse of Mary. The dream felt like a spear through my heart. Because no other gentler means would have wrought this vital repentance. 

          I now repent, heart and soul, for what I have done to others in the secret of my heart.

          I repent for the times I led others down the dark path by my example of anger.

          And I repent of the way I treated my beloved husband. 

          Because of the dream, life will never be the same again. There will now be a shadow where there was none before. I will henceforth always look to coming hours with fear. I will fear delays. Fear the unanswered calls. Anything which separates my husband and I, even the most innocuous, will be a steel band that cuts into my heart.

          I will fear if everything is the last of lasts.

          Becoming a widow is no longer something I can block out. It will from now become the shadow that follows me everywhere. But I know I am not called to mere fear. That is a call that comes from the side. That is distraction. Even if the ice of dread manacles my heart from this day on, I am called to a different vigil to await the Illumination of Conscience.

          For by this dream, I have been given a foretaste of God’s judgment of my sins in the coming Illumination. My place is by the Cross of remorse.

          My vigil has begun. My vigil is that of Repentance.

 

 

 

Day of the Sun

af128a7df3d56b30bf13d7e608dc421e

Prayer for Protection from Despair
by St. Claude de la Colombiere

Lord, I am in this world to show Your mercy to others.
Other people will glorify You
by making visible the power of Your grace
by their fidelity and constancy to You.
For my part I will glorify You
by making known how good You are to sinners,
that Your mercy is boundless
and that no sinner no matter how great his offences
should have reason to despair of pardon.
If I have grievously offended You, My Redeemer,
let me not offend You even more
by thinking that You are not kind enough to pardon Me.

          On this morning which night rains have rendered green and silver, the last three lines of the prayer settle gently but deeply, pressed by an Unseen hand into my spirit. The lines go beyond a nudge towards humility. They hold a meaning deeper than caution.

          The last three lines tell me the little trees have meaning. Wee trees, always hidden before, that have suddenly, and oddly, stood out in the forests of my every days. As I coursed through the busy hours of each day, these little trees caught my attention, but when pursued, misted out of discernment’s reach.

          These trees were sometimes random words. Words that caught my heart in a fleeting vice of cold. Pines. Palms. Bridge. Snake. Flood. Hills. Wedding garments. Wedding feast. They were colours. Bright orange. Red. Black. Numbers. 370. 10. 2017. They were certain birdcalls. Warm, robust winds that occasionally rendered my heart and spirit still and watchful.

          The smell of roses when there were none. Bits and bites of dreams becoming reality.

          Sudden, unexpected occasions of contrition.

If I have grievously offended You, My Redeemer,
let me not offend You even more
by thinking that You are not kind enough to pardon Me.

          These last words press into my faltering spirit the urgency of repentance and conversion and the grace of unwavering faith. They tell me I have not misinterpreted the speed of events unfolding, that I have not overreacted.

          The Day of the Sun is indeed coming. The winds of that Sun are already here. I have begun to pray a prayer I have never before prayed.

           That our lamps be trimmed in readiness. That I and everyone I hold in my heart be not taken by surprise.

          And finally, that in the aftermath of the Illumination of Conscience, love prevails over despair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look Up. Cross In The Sky.

          153474-nature-landscape-sunset-mist-hill-forest-trees-italy-house-736x459

          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.

When Fire Is A Grace

wallup-25427.jpg

          During one mist-laced, green June day Mass, my spirit crumbled into a rare state of joyful brokenness and I was moved to pray,

Break my spirit upon Thy sacred stones. Break me till there is nothing left of me but You.

          It wasn’t until some hours later that I recalled the prayer and puzzled over it. I had felt so close to Jesus during that Mass, so safe and sheltered, like He had put His arm around me and drawn me close to His Heart.

          And yet, instead of a joyful hymn to burst from me, it had been, Break my spirit….Break me…. A prayer fierce in its force.

          What on earth is sacred stones? I wondered.

          Looking back on June, then till now has been some weeks of deep inner struggle hidden within days of good work and simple joys ~ which is no pretense. No papering over with false light with the intent to conceal. The inner scourging has not held back the skip of my heart. But in the much that got done, in the happiness I’ve felt and the love I could give, no one could have guessed at the relentlessness of a secret whipping within me: I struggled and struggled with anger and its tainted companions of revenge and unforgiveness.

          Yet despite the secret battle in this one pasture of conflict,  I found deep joys in other meadows. I partook of life and loving. There was no mechanical rigidity to my waking hours. I did not live an existence landscaped by ashes and sorrow. Every pearlseed of beauty around me sank into the grooves of my heart and bloomed.

          This, for me, was something new. In each past skirmish of my entire life thus far, inner turmoil had robbed me of the diamond sunbursts that garlanded my simple everydays. But this one, this time was different.

          Sometimes, even I thought I must be mad, to be so much a part of the light and yet be in pain at the same time.

          I banged and banged on heaven’s door and refused to leave my place on its stoop. Why, Lord, why? I cried in near despair. Why can I not move past my anger? And why this deep swell of red when its catalyst so tiny and trivial compared to the huge trials I have faced and weathered before? Why this strange blend of storm and sun? 

          My spirit seeking discernment, I recalled the counsel of my friend, Fight the dark through thanksgiving. So, I lifted my eyes to the morning sky to scatter the claws of frustration. As I gazed in thanksgiving at the expanse of gold sea before me, the sun shimmered and misted the sky.

          My spirit stilled and I saw the words of my prayer at Mass that day, Break my spirit upon Thy sacred stones. Break me till there is nothing left of me but You.

          Suddenly, it fell into place. My spirit was indeed being dashed and broken upon the sacred stones of God’s Truth. That mysterious prayer had unlocked a fire that now flooded every shadowed crevice of my soul. Fire was piercing through inner crevasses like never before. That was why the turmoil of spirit was unprecedented. My sinfulness had never been so close to Light before; even the slightest smudge burned and burned and burned.The turmoil I was feeling was the scream of sin being rent to ashes.

          My inner burning was manifesting outwardly as joy and love and strength because the fire was a grace wrought by a God who cleanses in order to free.

         

Rain for a Fire

 gI1iTee[1]

          For days, I had been in a pot-o’er-the-fire, in a stew of my own making: I had thoughtlessly spoken and hurt someone. I felt wretched, yet, in my sin, I boiled more over the repercussions than over my wrongdoing. Trying to douse the flames within, I swam from harbor to harbor, running from the fire seas. Favourite prayers. Favourite saints. Rosary.

          But it seemed like heaven had chosen to maintain a stony stance against me.

          When you hurt someone, you must expect to get hurt back, for that is how many of the wounded manage their pain. Yet, anchored firmly within my obtuseness was the expectation that when I kick, others should absorb. That when I hurt others, even unintentionally, it is the ready roses of forgiveness I deserve.

          As the wild afternoon winds reached for their evening stoops, no rose of peace made root within me. If anything, the tempests scaled the highs. Wearied by the firestorm, I went to sleep by heaven’s door for a while. St Pio, St Joseph, help me, help me, help me, I prayed, before I sank into the knotted nap of one suffering the consequences of upsetting others.

          Roused shortly after, I expectantly reached for the peace I thought would be mine. Instead, heaven remained as closed as before, my hands came away empty. And restlessness resumed its keening. Deep in the frenzied whipping of guilt and hurt, I sought discernment and escape. I went to my favourite blogs. I returned to pearls tucked within the folds of precious mails. I roamed and searched the plains for someone to tell me I had done no wrong.

          I read of clouds and of rain, and longed for the hope of wetness to rend to ashes this terrible fire.  I traced those words and others, and longed for the peace and strength they proffered. Slowly, ever so slowly, since this all began, I learned to stoop, to humble lines in prayer.

          I have sinned against You, I wrote on my heart. I have sinned against You.

          As the nightwinds sang its hymn, I sensed a door crack open, and little leaves wearing orange floated quietly in. One by one, they softly settled on my spirit, and turned me towards Truth. When I made to move away from what I found hard to admit, the winds blew in more leaves through blogs and words I read that night, until they encircled me in the vine of Truth that held the rain of peace I sought for my flames.

          I knew then what I had to do. I stopped trying to escape flames I had stirred to life through my wrong. I sank to the ground, and began to pray the Rosary, weaving through its ancient prayers my own litany of remorse ~ Forgive me, Jesus, for I have sinned. Forgive me, Jesus, for I have sinned. Through each Sorrowful Mystery, I held Jesus’ Feet as the woman once did, yearning for the same forgiveness she received.

          On the last rose~bead, I felt the first sprinkles of rain….