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.
…you easily forget My words and My promises to you. Call upon the Holy Spirit to keep My words and My promises alive in your heart, and to call them to mind in your hours of need. ~ In Sinu Jesu
Today, nearly 4 months from my last Friday afternoon trip to church, I was finally back in church on a Friday again, and there, I touched the sweetness of a homecoming, new to me. Since we are still in the recovery phase, there were no flowers in church. And yet, there was a gentle softness to the still air, a waiting love.
It took me a long time to quieten down, there was much to say, though my words were few.
In my ending minutes in that serene stillness, He slipped His words into my heart. Nothing stirred within me as my eyes went over all other words. Nothing until,
…you easily forget My words and My promises to you. Call upon the Holy Spirit to keep My words and My promises alive in your heart, and to call them to mind in your hours of need.
And still, doubt tugged at me. What if I was seeing things where there were none? When you’re straining at hope, it’s easy to slip and misidentify. They were after all words He spoke to a Benedictine monk, not to me.
My Lord knew I would doubt and He was ready for me.
When the Spirit of truth comes,
He will guide you to all truth
and remind you of all I told you. ~ John 16:13A; 14:26D
And just like that, the sliver of doubt disappeared.
Call upon the Holy Spirit to keep My words and My promises alive in your heart, and to call them to mind in your hours of need.
He alone knows how far ahead the undulating dunes of work stretch out. He alone knows how much it will take out of me. He alone knows how easily I will forget, and fret because of it. Call upon the Holy Spirit, says my Jesus to me on my first return to His Friday Heart.
That in my hour of need, when I am most bereft, I will remember once more.
Thus says the LORD:
On that day I will raise up
the fallen hut of David;
I will wall up its breaches,
raise up its ruins,
and rebuild it as in the days of old,
Yes, days are coming,
says the LORD,
When the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
and the vintager, him who sows the seed;
The juice of grapes shall drip down the mountains,
and all the hills shall run with it.
I will bring about the restoration of My people Israel;
they shall rebuild and inhabit their ruined cities ~ Amos 9: 11; 13 – 14
For much of the past months, it has seemed as if every structure in my country is being torn down, every belief attacked and shattered. I returned to work some weeks ago and to my sadness, found that the weeks of stay-home had not made better persons out of all of us. Colleagues who had been bitter and who had chafed at the constraints of lockdown, now returned to raucous revelry, grimly intent on reclaiming lost time.
Over the years, as more and more of my workmates became increasingly distracted from their core portfolios and responsibilities, the noise levels at work had been rising, fed by daily office potlucks, gossip cliques and online shopping addiction which steadily made inroads into formal work hours and beyond.
But the post-Covid noise decibels in my work place now is beyond belief. Too many are high on something not good. Work is a farce. Silence has fled.
I brought upon you such upheaval
as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah:
you were like a brand plucked from the fire;
Yet you returned not to Me,
says the LORD. ~ Amos 4: 11
I am struggling and yet, paradoxically, I am working well too. Even as I fight to put out one fire after another within my heart, my work is not held back in the least.
But there’s no escaping the deepening frustration and sadness at the scale of moral destruction before my eyes. In my work place. In my country. I can see where this is going. We are fast reaching a point of no return. Something in my heart tells me that once that invisible line is crossed, there will be no coming back. In each one of those rabble rousers at work and elsewhere, there are yet morsels of sweetness.
But if a major correction does not come soon enough, even that will be lost.
When the last light within them goes out, I fear that no other light will live in its place.
When I took this to Jesus, His surprising answer to my distress was,
My Time has come. I am about to bring to fulfilment my plan for you and for those whom I have sent you. My Eucharistic Face will shine over this new hour of building… ~ In Sinu Jesu
He did not speak about the rising squalls. Yet, I know Jesus is not ignoring the ruin we are bringing ourselves to. Through the In Sinu Jesu words which lit hope in me, Jesus is clearly asking me to shift the gaze of my heart to what I am called to. He is not advocating the indifference of the deaf ear nor of the blind eye to the massive unravelling around me; instead, because of it, Jesus wants me to be in my place, doing what He has willed for me.
This is not the first time I am hearing this. I have lost count of the number of occasions, when upset over developments in my part of the world, He has sent His Angel to remind me that my place is
Not in the violent winds
Not in the earthquakes
Not in the fire
but in the hiddenness of the presence of God. In the Eucharistic Adoration I am called to – even in the busyness of work.
This is not due to anything of merit in me – but simply because Jesus knows well my weaknesses. I don’t handle confrontations well. I am easily intimidated. And it takes me longer than others to recover from battles. For other stronger souls, He might have earmarked the vineyards of greater work right in the midst of violent winds and earthquakes and raging fires.
But not for me – because I’d drown.
Or more likely, drown others.
Often, I do feel hurt that God hasn’t marked out ‘greater work’ for me. Often, I tire of the hiddenness and obscurity of my own little vineyard. But many years ago, God made it clear,
If you cannot on the ocean
Sail among the swiftest fleet,
Rocking on the highest billows,
Laughing at the storms you meet;
You can stand among the sailors,
Anchored yet within the bay,
You can lend a hand to help them
As they launch their boats away. ~ Your Mission, Ellen M. H Gates
My work is as ever, among the shadows of greater suns.
Still, today, He lifts the veil a little.
My Time has come
…this new hour of building
Something is ahead. Something different from the usual rebuilding of torn down structures. A newness to the coming hours. Slowly, it dawns on me that the recent weeks of being buffeted by lashing winds didn’t affect my quality of work – because God was trying to show me that was my place, to steadily build on but to build by the sidelines of life. Not in the centre of a field easily sighted; but in the purposeful hiddenness to be seen only by those who are seeking.
In Jesus’ gentle way, He wants me to learn that I am not placed in the open fields to catch the eye of the multitudes because I am not meant to be there for everyone. My vineyard is only for the wounded, the trampled, the weak, the fearful.
Those who are not looking up, searching for suns, but whose gaze is cast down. Those are the ones God has given to me. The broken and the hurt. The humble and the hidden.
That is why no other vineyard will do but this.
May He teach you what He desires of you, and may He give you the strength to accomplish it perfectly! If I am not mistaken, this, in a few words, is what I think He chiefly requires of you: He wishes that you should learn to live without support – without a friend – and without satisfaction. In proportion as you ponder these words, He will help you to understand them. ~ St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
On Wednesday last week, longstanding issues resurrected themselves at home. Deeply hurt and frustrated that even the beauty of time with family and nature couldn’t resolve old habits, I took my heart and placed it in the Sacred Heart of Jesus – because left within me, my heart was sure to fall into the depths of anger and unforgiveness.
Then, I threw myself at the feet of heaven, asking for guidance.
Its answer came from the mother~heart of St. Margaret Mary.
May He teach you what He desires of you, and may He give you the strength to accomplish it perfectly!
Stunned somewhat, I realised this unpleasantness was willed.
He wishes that you should learn to live without support – without a friend – and without satisfaction.
That broke my heart into pieces, for loneliness and aloneness due to being misunderstood and maligned, has been my cross for a great many years. To see now that even that was willed, was just too much.
Upon praying to St. Anne and to my guardian angel to keep my tears, within a few short hours, they brought me Jesus’ words,
Love as I have loved you.
And with that, I resolved to get up and start all over again.
But even as I went to my day and busied myself in the depths of a beautiful, sunny blue day, I wondered about St. Margaret Mary’s last words,
In proportion as you ponder these words, He will help you to understand them.
Those words remained before me in the weave of gentle wind brushed hours. Curious as to what St. Margaret Mary meant, I went in search of her, and this I found,
Every night between Thursday and Friday I will make thee share in the mortal sadness which I was pleased to feel in the Garden of Olives, and this sadness, without thy being able to understand it, shall reduce thee to a kind of agony harder to endure than death itself. And in order to bear Me company in the humble prayer that I then offered to My Father, in the midst of my anguish, thou shalt rise between eleven o’clock and midnight, and remain prostrate with Me for an hour, not only to appease the divine anger by begging mercy for sinners, but also to mitigate in some way the bitterness which I felt at that time on finding Myself abandoned by my Apostles,… ~ Jesus’ words to St. Margaret Mary
I will make thee share
Garden of Olives
Without thy being able to understand it
Agony harder to endure than death itself
Mitigate the bitterness
Finding myself abandoned by My Apostles
There is only one hurt worse than all others for me and that is the hurt caused by the family I love beyond all else. And of the many hurts to be endured in a family, it is the hurt of being cast aside in favour of professional work, which cuts deepest. It is not the childish and narcissistic petulance about wanting to always be first in your spouse’s heart. Rather, it is the pain of knowing that whenever it comes to a choice between passion for work and staying close to your spouse’s heart, work has always won.
It is a hurt that falls within the shadow of the Abandonment in Gethsemane.
Despite knowing what Jesus has to soon face, the Apostles – those closest to His Heart – chose the less troubling option of indifference. They chose the appeasement of slumber.
They choose themselves over Jesus.
In a marriage, in family life, when we choose ourselves over even the littlest wills of heaven, we once again become the apostles in Gethsemane – because we choose what we want, we choose what stimulates and excites and what drives us. While marriage and family life is every happy and joyful tale we hear, it is also filled with heartaches, struggles and stretches of mundanity. Yet, these are the crosses God weaves into our lives to enable us to walk in His Son’s footsteps – for that is the only road to heaven.
It is the only path to Life.
By willfully and defiantly choosing external lures and satisfactions, we choose the side of the apostles in Gethsemane. In choosing worldly consolations, we choose another path. We delude by comforting ourselves that this too is just another road that leads to Life.
But it isn’t and doesn’t. Because that path bears not the footprints of Jesus.
Despite the resurgence of old cheer within me, a note of sadness has stolen into the glorias of the winds and the sun. No matter how happy I am, there will be many more returns to the Garden of Olives.
For Jesus has made it clear in His last words for the day. He needs my suffering to
Mitigate the bitterness I felt on finding myself abandoned by My Apostles.
When doubts come, dismiss them. Know that I speak to you in a language drawn from your own experience and from the resources of your own imagination and mind. The message nonetheless is Mine. It is I who am communicating with you in this way to hold you fast in My divine friendship, and to draw you into the sanctuary of My Heart, there to worship and glorify with Me the Father Who is the Source of all heaven’s gifts. ~ In Sinu Jesu, When Heart Speaks to Heart
There were countless times last year when I thought I was going mad from some thoughts in my head. They weren’t arrows of attack; they were thoughts so contrary to the reality we were facing at that time. Thoughts of miracles. Im-possiblities. Despite depressing developments, the never ending twine of bad news, these thoughts would make their way across my mind like some out-of-this world train, carrying dreams and hopes untainted by the present.
For the longest time, I feared that it was escapism, that I was running to this secret world of sprite winds and golden blue sunrises to escape the reality of the present. I feared that when the time came, that moment of immutable truth, I would crash harder, the landing made rougher by these thoughts.
But twice in recent months, just as I attempted to rein myself in, a little finger had pushed these lines towards my heart,
When doubts come, dismiss them.
Know that I speak to you in a language drawn from your own experience and from the resources of your own imagination and mind.
The message nonetheless is Mine. It is I who am communicating with you…
As yesterday’s silver~gold stream spills joy into my today, I know those thoughts were truly, truly my God’s, speaking to me in the only tongue I’d understand.
The language of my own life and of my knowing.
I am going to reveal to you the secret of sanctity and happiness. Every day for five minutes control your imagination and close your eyes to all the noises of the world in order to enter into yourself. Then, in the sanctuary of your baptized soul (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit) speak to that Divine Spirit, saying to Him:
O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your Will.
If you do this, your life will flow along happily, serenely, and full of consolation, even in the midst of trials. Grace will be proportioned to the trial, giving you the strength to carry it and you will arrive at the Gate of Paradise, laden with merit. This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of sanctity. ~ Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier
Early yesterday, before I learned about the Ring of Fire eclipse, the Angel had gently opened the door to my heart and slipped this in,
Love the Holy Spirit and call upon Him in humility and confidence. He will never fail you. He is, as my Church calls Him, the “Father of the Poor”. He takes delight in descending upon the poor in spirit and He makes His tabernacle in their hearts.
And then I learned a tiny gem of a prayer,
…and address Him as “Soul of your soul”. ~ In Sinu Jesu
Using the words from Cardinal Désiré-Joseph Mercier’s advice, I fashioned my own prayers to the Holy Spirit, now calling Him, Soul of my soul. Through the calls of duty, through the excitement of the eclipse, I embroidered this name new to me upon the garment of hours lent me by the day.
Soul of my soul
When the stars had come out to adorn the velvet breadths, I made a small discovery. The annular eclipse of yesterday had coincided with a beautiful sun halo. The last time I had feasted my eyes upon a sun halo had been more than a year ago. And a prayer had been speared through my heart that day,
Holy Trinity, light Thy flame within me
So, the ribbon that bound both sun halos was the Holy Spirit.
This morning, marigold~sunshine grins through my window as the North winds and breezes dart about weaving heaven’s secrets into this final Friday of a year making its way to eternal slumber.
Will You give me Your sign today? I ask God playfully.
In His answering peace and light, I slip my hand into His.
Soul of my soul
Trust that I will bring about all that I have promised you.
This is the year during which I will begin to fulfil all that I have prepared for you… ~ In Sinu Jesu
This is the year…
These past weeks, the waters of work and home have filled every deep and crevice of my life. They have reached the uppermost beams of my living, no inch of space left to be wet. So many days, chancing upon an air pocket, I’ve raised my head to look back over the distance covered. And surprise catches me each time – surprise that we’ve gotten by, somehow sidestepping major upheavals and tumults.
I, who have always lurched headlong into the eyewall of every storm, taking everyone else with me.
But pride finds no address within me on this; I just know that it’s not my doing and I do not have to convince myself of this knowing.
This is the year…
The softest press of my heart. Something is a-stir at work, the lightest of breezes. Unexpected, joyful news. Not for me – but for my colleagues – yet, to be rejoiced over together. As if God is saying, You thought it would never happen but see now…
Trust, whispers Heaven
I nod and rise in obedience. Still, there are points where I falter, falter as much as I ever did.
I say Yes to all the Sacred Heart desireth for me. I want for myself only what Thou wantest for me. I desireth what Thou desireth for my life, and nothing else. – prayer by the unknown In Sinu Jesu author
My heart and spirit recoil from that prayer. Holy people fear God’s judgement; I fear the will of God. Because I fear that He would ask of me once more what He did 12 years ago. Even now, my answer is an anguished No, because I cannot bear that journey of searing sorrow once more.
No, no, no, Lord, I thrust myself away from Him, despite not in the least knowing what the future Asking may be.
…my precious children stick to me like little burrs… ~ St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in a letter, describing her beloved toddlers. Three would die, two in their mother’s arms.
No, no, no, Lord.
And yet, the angels planted more and more seeds of faith into St. Elizabeth’s grief worn heart.
…trust all to Him who fed the fowls of the air and made the lilies grow. ~ St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Tears burn their presence in my eyes. Loss of a young husband St. Elizabeth loved and adored beyond words. Loss of her precious children. Loss of other loved ones, one by one, pillar after pillar of support and strength taken away from her. Beaten and buffeted by the tempests. And still the saint found the will to affirm,
…trust all to Him who fed the fowls of the air and made the lilies grow
I’m afraid of You, Lord, I admit. Afraid of what You’d ask.
My heart traces once more His words, Trust that I will bring about all that I have promised you.
What have You promised me, Lord? I grope wildly. No dream, no word of a job change, no promise of a sudden heaven in my workplace, an easier home life. He has told me nothing, save for I alone know what lies beyond the bend. In all these months since His word, I’ve not been shown anything of the future to give me hope, no glimpse of what lies beyond the Jordan of life. Have I missed something? I wonder. Did He whisper His promise and did I not hear?
The monk’s prayer edges towards me again.
I want for myself only what Thou wantest for me.
I desireth what Thou desireth for my life, and nothing else.
In a slice, the revolt stills within me, and I plunge off the cliff.
I want for myself only what Thou wantest for me.
I desireth what Thou desireth for my life, and nothing else.
And then I flee as far as I can from the prayer, afraid of what I’ve unleashed.
As the soft pink evening clouds settle to welcome the night’s rain, Jesus gently turns me towards His Heart. I ask you to be grateful and full of confidence. I have given you every reason to hope that I will carry out all that I have promised and that I will fulfil all that I have made you desire.
I will fulfil all that I have made you desire.
One by one they come to me, little vessels on the sea of hope. Suddenly, I realise – they were not the product of my fanciful imaginings! They were from my Jesus!!!
Freedom from fear
Joy of work
The sound of church bells
Now rest in My presence and be at peace. ~ In Sinu Jesu
I will not abandon or forsake you. I am faithful. I have chosen you and you are Mine. My blessing is upon you and the designs of My heart are about to unfold for you. You have only to trust Me. Believe that I will keep you as the apple of My eye. You are safe under My Mother’s mantle. I will hold you close to My wounded Heart. Trust that I will bring about all that I have promised you. ~ In Sinu Jesu, page 42
A week ago, in the happy silence of a still church, I felt Jesus speak those words to me. It was not my imagination, nor was it desperate hope. Just a quiet confidence that my Lord was addressing me.
Work has been tremendous, the ante upped as it usually is towards the ending of a year. The only difference is that this year, we are being led by cruelty. Masked by the outward appearance of dedication and concern, cruelty is running the show at work. Stooped backs are being further bent by force of work. Weary minds in a chokehold, forced to remain in pursuit of someone else’s goals.
And yet, a secret flame burns somewhere within the folds of my spirit. Most days, I am so tired that I think I cannot walk another step. But from its hiding place, a mysterious energy flows into the dry gullies of my being. Somehow, I can go on – and go on well!
And I am quietly happy, mirth in easy bubbling at the slightest tickle.
On this grey morning, as robins sweet~note from rain~pearled boughs, my mind returns to the recent days. Days of rainbow after unexpected rainbow, willing me to recall God’s Word to my heart,
The designs of My heart are about to unfold for you.
Trust that I will bring about all that I have promised you.
I went to my Friday Eucharistic Adoration like someone who had had a bad fight with her best friend. It’s not that the week had been bad – it was alright, even with the travelling and workload.
But then, Wednesday came along, and with it a meeting, where it felt like few cared about the responsibilities entrusted to them; compassion and empathy had no home there during those hours. There were laughs around the room, with plans even, to add on work to already overburdened staff, little thought spared for the spirits that they were going to break.
I somehow knew that with God’s help, I would weather this, but I worried for the young ones, trees already bent from the force from winds. They had no voice, the defenseless never do and my shouts were going unheard in the soulless canyon.
Hence, I came to Thursday, not angry, but with a weariness that had reached in and taken all for itself. I had prayed big prayers but I felt that God’s graces were too little, too slow. Apologizing many times for rushing and directing God, I tried to contain myself. But with each heaping that came, it was harder to hold my heart above the water.
So, I let God know what I thought of His ways – for me. And then I prayed,
Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
On Friday, I travelled to church with a grudge against God. Sitting right in front inside the still and silent church, I warily eyed Jesus on the Crucifix.
I’m sorry, Lord, I said, looking everywhere except at the Crucifix.
Then, as if He didn’t already know, I felt the need to clarify my apology. I’m sorry if I hurt You – but I’m not sorry I did it.
Emboldened suddenly, I raised my eyes to the Crucifix and plunged. Why can’t You speak to me as You did Your friends back in the Nazareth days? Directly and clearly and promptly? I know I have no right to ask You this, I know I have no right to place myself on the same level as St. Faustina, but still I ask that You speak to me like a friend, like a Father to his daughter, only speak to me.
Suddenly thinking of the many unseen wolves standing at the ready to impersonate the Lord, I added on, And give me the grace to know the difference between the voices of heaven and that of earth.
In the next hour, against all hope, I heard a voice move.
I shall speak to you, I shall speak to your heart, so that you may hear My voice for the joy of your heart.
In answer to the prayer for my child facing the exam of his life, working so hard, yet losing confidence day by day,
The loss of confidence in himself
And finally, for the strange observation this past week, that the head of the Crucified Jesus on my home wall crucifix has been increasingly drooping,
…of My head bowed to say “yes” to the Father.