JACINTA MARTO

The Fatima Way

goodwp_com_32396.jpg

          It has been a blessed and joyous two weeks lived well and loved well. But a few days ago, I learned anew the truth of Sr Lucia’s Dos Santos’ prophetic words:

The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about

marriage and the family.

I have some issues with my beloved husband, and they boiled over yet again this week. As a result of that, I lived some long moments with sand in my eyes and a storm in my heart.

          One day later, late at night, I stayed up reading about the Fatima Apparitions. I came to the heartrending part where little Jacinta lived her last days, and finally, passed into eternal life. I was so glad for the late hour because it meant no one would witness my own reaction to the enduring courage of a wee child to love her Cross till the end – to offer her terrible sufferings for the salvation of souls. The lateness also meant on no ears would the sound of my own grief fall as my heart traced the path of two simple Fatima parents humbly answering God’s call to bury their own child.

          That part of the Fatima book also took me back to memories of old wounds I’d rather not see. It took me back to what we had lost as a family. It took me back to black hours that we lived through, unknowing that even darker hours awaited us in coming years.

          My pillow was wet that night, and I prayed that there’d be no sign of it in my eyes in the morning, for my grief is private and I wanted it to stay that way.

          I awakened to two miracles the next day.

          There was no sign of the night in my eyes.

          And a greater one – those tears had washed away the grit of old hours of my marital and family related grievance. With the sand washed away, I saw with fresh eyes what the storms had clouded over:

I had not carried my Cross in the Will of God; I had not walked the Fatima Way. 

          Marriage and family struggles come to one and all, some more bitterly and more devastating than others. Some we bring upon ourselves through the choices we make. Some are allowed because it is through the splinters of the Cross that we are emptied for Heaven. In my specific reaction to my frustrations with my husband over his parenting methods and his some of his spousal attitudes, I saw that I had left my Cross. I did not carry it, neither did I ask for God’s help with it. I chose to do it my way, and it was as self-serving as the life of the man of Frank Sinatra’s song (even if the world disagrees with me!)

          My way was not the Fatima Way. My way was the serpent’s way. Seemingly harmless and justified, but winding resolutely and stealthily towards the desolation of Me. I was going in the wrong direction – not towards Heaven, but towards Myself.

          My compass had to be reset. If little Jacinta and Lucia could push past walls rock solid with pain, to love and carry their crosses as God willed of them, then so could I.

          Fresh and cleansed, I got up from the ground. A new day was before me – to be lived the Fatima Way.

          And live it thus, I did. Despite my sinfulness and smallness, I lived it in love as best as I could. Despite the fact that the issues which upset me still remain, and will surely resurrect itself yet again, I held nothing back from my husband and family but gave all I had in love and joyful service.

          This morning, ambling through online highways searching for prayer meditations by saints, I came across a website. Browsing through the prayers, I read each one and waited for the one that would ‘fall into my heart’.

          Just then, I caught sight of a line at the end of the webpage – What if God chose a prayer for you?

          For some reason, that little line stuck its burr into my heart.

          Quickly, I responded, God give me my prayer, then. And resumed searching.

          It was the very next prayer. It was by St Ignatius of Loyola, and it was his Prayer of Generosity ~

Prayer for Generosity
of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous,
teach me to serve You as I should,
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labour and ask not for reward,
Save that of knowing that I do Your most holy will. 

          Every line, every word of it – the Fatima Way.

 

 

Advertisements

Every Seeking Heart

20170520_111947

          After days of cheery sunbeams and green breezes in tinkling dance through evergreen boughs, I came to Sunday morning thoroughly happy.

          Happy but distracted. My thoughts scattered in a hundred earthly paths, disappearing into thickets and grass dips; my prayers like sighs borne away on the slightest whisper of wind~breaths.

          It was as if this merriness within left no room for much else.

          I could have gone on this way. Who doesn’t want an end to or even some respite from fretting and rushing and hurting and fuming, even if for a day? But I was headed for Mass soon, and it somehow felt frivolous to go to my Lord’s dwelling with my spirit in a state of giggles.

          And so I strived to summon prayers. Petition prayers, emptied prayers. Rosary and Chaplet cups offered to be filled by heaven. They came. And they went before I could catch hold of any. Sighing, I went about getting ready for the journey to church. I had a book on the Fatima apparitions that I was reading, and I put it into my bag in case I had some minutes after Mass for some quiet time with it.

          The very minute I touched the book, quick as a silver flash, I saw Our Lady of Fatima in my mind. I promptly decided to ask Her for help in quietening my gay spirit: I told Her of my difficulty in praying.

          The words had barely left my heart when I heard the strains of this old hymn blow through my spirit:

In moments like these I sing out a song,
I sing out a love song to Jesus.
In moments like these I lift up my hands,
I lift up my hands to the Lord.

Singing I praise You, Lord.
Singing I praise You, Lord.
Singing I praise You, Lord,
I praise You.

          The little bean rolled into the pod just then. I saw that this tumbling happiness inside me was a gift, a pillow for my heart. As I sank into it over the days that had passed, much of the thorns and thistles of the preceding weeks had misted away, giving way to this jollity that was so much a stranger emotion to me.

          A stranger-happiness because it felt like bread meant for me alone. There was no tug of heart telling me I had to share it with others. Yet, something didn’t feel quite right  keeping this bread~gift for myself.

          By asking Our Lady for help to be able to pray the prayers heaven asked for, to care as I was called to, I think I was in fact asking to share this bread with others.

          And when, of my own volition, I had asked for permission to share the bread~gift, In Moments Like These was Our Lady’s breath through my soul as to how the sharing was to be done: 

I was to begin with Praise.

          And so I did. I praised and thanked God for every thing, little and great, that had been given to me. Gifts I had been grateful for. Gifts I had received with the heart of one of the nine biblical lepers who took and forgot. Gifts I had hitherto been too preoccupied to notice. Gifts I had taken for granted.

          How much, how very much there was to be grateful for.

          I took that spirit of gratitude and praise into Mass. Throughout Mass, in moments when I was tempted to grumble internally or to be moved to quick irritation over inconsequential-s, I found my heart being turned away – towards praise and thanksgiving – and the vexation lost its allure.

          But a strange emptiness remained unfilled. I mouthed words of prayer but they felt like fruit falling far from my reach.

          When Mass ended, my husband took the kids to their Sunday School classes, and I had some time for myself. Scooting over to the other end of the pew so I was directly in front of the crucifix over the altar, I settled back and opened my Fatima Apparition book. It was after the apparitions had ended, and the young seers, Jacinta and Francisco were seriously ill. Jacinta had wanted to continue attending daily Mass but she was advised against it.

          Protesting, she replied, “I want to go in place of the sinners who don’t go even on Sundays.”

I want to go in place of the sinners 

          Like icepearls, the child~saint’s words fell into my heart and they fell deep.

          I had been given my prayer.

          Shutting the book immediately, I closed my eyes and reached out for the prayer,

I bring to Thee every seeking heart,

Every seeking heart

Every seeking heart

Every seeking heart.

          Over and over, those simple words, every seeking heart. I tried to pair them with various seekings, names and pains, but unseen hands brushed my efforts away. None of my own was needed.

          What was asked was that I sit there in total humility, obedience and silence, my will fused to the Divine, before the Blessed Sacrament, before the Crucifix of the Ultimate Sacrifice, bringing every seeking heart to Jesus, through the simplest of prayers,

Every seeking heart

Every seeking heart

Every seeking heart.

          I have read many times before that praise and thanksgiving opens the heart to heaven. So many, many others have learned this, and today, that lesson became mine as well. In desiring that other hearts be watered by happiness as did mine, Our Lady gave me the key that unlocked my heart – Praise.

          And by that prayer wrought by praise, seeking hearts, though hidden from me, were led to heaven.

         

Lent 32 ~ Priests

Jesus-Christ-Praying-Wallpapers-15

Some visitors were one day discussing in her presence the faults of a certain priest who had been forbidden to say Mass. Jacinta began to weep for sorrow and she said that people should not talk about priests but they should rather pray for them. She herself often prayed for priests and asked others to do the same. ~ of Jacinta Marto, Fatima seer.

          I am tired and worn out by the week, yet able to pray, but unable to pray for others since the past Sunday. The only prayer allowed me as I reach for the Rosary is the prayer of an emptied vessel. Since Sunday, it feels as if I am only allowed to approach God in this way.

          Yet, it is not a form of spiritual dryness. Despite my physical weariness, my heart sings in a skip of joy. It’s just that although I cannot pray for anyone, the feeling is Someone is assuring me that those of my old prayers are all taken care of. And this was one of the messages in a double dream I had last year on the feast day of St Jude.

          These puzzling developments in my prayer life take me back to an October 28th dream of a huge white map in the sky. A map that showed Africa especially, a bit of Europe and to diminished extent – Asia. A blank, brilliant white map of Africa. In the dream, I chose to ignore the map in the sky. As I walked on, I saw a big statue of Our Lady of Fatima. When I saw it, I looked back up at the map suspended in the sky above, and I was filled with a deep, deep fear.

          Right after, the second dream began. I was at a St Jude church, where I saw people crammed into a little green church. Happy people.

          They seemed well take care of. Spiritually well taken care of.

          I had the sudden feeling that they were those I had prayed for. And that they were secure in the Arms of God. Sensing my work there was done, as I moved to leave the church grounds, I felt a voice write this on my heart ~

          Pray for others

          In a way I cannot explain better, I knew immediately, the exhortation was linked to the dream of the white map in the sky. That I was to leave the old petitions behind, and move on to the new.

          Since that dream in the old October of 2016, I’ve gone back to its core over and over again, wondering especially at the call to leave behind the old prayers and to move on to others. As often as I’ve wondered, I have looked out for new causes and tried to pray about them too.

     But it has not been entirely successful. I kept getting pulled back. I didn’t understand why it was that I couldn’t move on. I didn’t understand why God didn’t help me if that was what He wanted me to do.

          It was pretty frustrating.

          Yesterday, I had wanted to journey with Blessed Francisco Marto, one of the Fatima seers. I wanted to keep him close to me and to console Jesus as he did. But it was a tough and busy day, and Francisco got lost in the hours. I arrived at the humid night chimes, annoyed with myself.

          Before I went to bed, I made one last stab to place my heart close to Francisco. I prayed that he and Our Lady of Fatima come and be beside me.

          I believe they did.

          When I awakened, the October dreams appeared before me. Suddenly, I realized why the white brilliance of the map had seemed familiar. It was the white of Our Lady of Fatima. Something of Fatima was going to touch and completely envelope the continents. Beginning with Africa. But for the spirit of Fatima to take root in hearts there, I think pain might have to come first.

          As my mind stayed with that illumination, another was brought – the second dream and the call to leave behind old prayers and to move on to new calls. My previous efforts hadn’t worked because I had wrongly interpreted the timing. I had erred in assuming that I was to heed the call immediately. And so, I had thrust forward of my own accord, but because the timing was not in His will, my efforts went up against a wall.

          I wasn’t meant to move on then; but I was to, now.

          That was why the petitions were being dried up since Sunday. Petitions were mine. Even if they were about people I cared for and needs close to my heart, they were ultimately mine.

          God was now asking for a complete surrender of my prayer~will to Him. He would allow prayers as long as they were emptied for Him to fill.

          As the light dawned brighter, my eyes were turned to that account of Jacinta Marto who had been upset that people preferred to tear down a priest, however justified it seemed, than to turn to the mercy of prayer. As I read the account again, I knew it was no coincidence that I was led there because I had lived that same experience.

          Ten years before, I had been with a seriously sick child in a hospital room. A child who had feared our then parish priest because of his terrible, uncontrollable temper. Some visitors came to visit us in the hospital room. Like it had been with Jacinta, with us too the conversation steered towards priests, that priest in particular.

          And the conversation was far from charitable.

          Although I didn’t contribute any morsels to the character assassination, I disliked the priest immensely. In fact, I feared him for his ability to hurt.

          As the conversation wore on about this priest, I began to sense an odd, odd sadness. It was a sadness deep and heartbreaking.

          One spirit glance at it and I knew it was not mine. It was coming from elsewhere.

          In the next instant, I knew it was this very sick child’s sorrow. This shy, gentle child so very much like little Francisco Marto.

          This little one with me who feared this priest and his violent anger, was grieving over the way the priest was being torn down.

          The realization seared and shocked me then.

          And today, after a night kept in counsel with Francisco Marto and Our Lady of Fatima, the pearling of the dawn skies brought with it the discernment of old dreams, and the understanding of what I am to do next.

          To withdraw from malice. To pray for priests.

 

Lent 27 ~ Curses and Stones

1

          I saw the Holy Father in a very large house, kneeling before a table, with his face in his hands, crying. Outside the house were many people, some of whom cast stones at him, others cursed him and said many ugly words. Poor Holy Father! We have to pray a lot for him. – Blessed Jacinta Marto, Fatima seer