JESUS

Lent 40 ~ Little Sign

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In the silence of grief

a tiny memory

of an innocent cross

she smiled then

Now

tears and tearing

swords pierce her

at memory’s return.

 

Little sign of old

given early

preparing spirits

for this day

grief unrestrained

years and years on

the lesson of the Cross

True Love.

 

 

 

 

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Lent 4 ~ Candles. Emergency.

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          An urgent wind parting the trees from sunny morning hours. There were some things I wanted to get done but for some reason, the winds wouldn’t leave me. I stopped and listened to their melody. It was not troubling. Neither was it comforting.

          Listening deeper, I sensed this: Listen, Listen, Listen.

          From yesterday, reading something, two words lingered awhile even as others moved on: Candles. Emergency. Even at that moment, I sensed it was not about stocking up on emergency candles. And that it was not to do with ‘candles’ and ’emergency’ as we understood it. When the winds raised their call, I stepped off the road and went back to the words, trying to touch to discern.

          But the second I did, they misted out of reach.

          Undeterred, I sought to understand. I looked up candles and learned something I never focused on before. That candles symbolize Jesus.

The wax is the Flesh of our Lord; the wick, which is within, is His Soul; the flame, which burns on top, is His divinity. ~ St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury

          I felt the words swim before me again – a personal sign that the veil was being dropped back in place. I sat back and in my heart, went over what I had been shown thus far and the little I understood about Light. That there will come a time when the darkness around us will deepen to the point where ordinary illumination will no longer suffice. And that when that time comes, it is the Light within us that will shine the path ahead that we may see. The less we block it, the brighter the Light for us to see ahead.

          And then I understood that, that Light is Christ enthroned within us.

          I returned to what I had learned about the symbolism of the wax, the wick and the flame. I thought about how a candle looks like. From wax to wick to flame – in some ways, an allegory of a spiritual journey.

          The journey of enthronement.

          Then the door closed completely and I couldn’t see anymore.

          Until hours later, when I went to In Sinu Jesu. Until I saw,

Abide in Me and I will abide in you, speaking through you, and touching souls through your words. 

Allow Me to be the physician of souls and bodies through you. I want to live in you and pursue on earth all of those things that I did out of love and compassion when I walked among men in My flesh. You are My flesh now, and you are My presence in the world. It is through you that I make Myself visible to men. It is through you that I will speak to them, and comfort them, and heal them, and draw them to My Father in the Holy Spirit. 
          You are My flesh now.
          You are My presence in the world. 
          It is through you that I make Myself visible to men.
          Flesh. Presence. Visibility.
          The wax. The wick. The flame.
          We must be His flesh. We must be His presence in order that His Spirit shines through us as the only Candle that can pierce the deepening darkness – for ourselves, for others.
          I sit back and turn this over in my heart. The teaching of the Candle is not entirely new. Yet, something has settled in deeper.
          About to take leave of my perch, something moves behind me.
          Emergency.
          Facing it squarely to get a deeper look, it is there.
          And then I see it no more.

Wounds for the King

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          The day gently rises from its slumber. I stand at my window and search for the sun – pale and unwilling to pierce the heavy white cloud curtain. The droop of spirit is everywhere in the trees and flowers. It shouldn’t have been so, not after the invigorating rains, but it is. I will the sullen beauty of morning mists and listless breezes to fall into my heart and stir it to thanksgiving. 

          I refuse to fall into the greys.

          For I have much to be thankful for in a world clawing for life as crack after crack, snakes across the ground.

          There is a wave rolling across seas and lands, effecting a change of guard – some expected, others – not quite. One nation after another is facing sudden changes and upheavals. The foam of a sea in turmoil is flowing into lives, reaching one doorstep bringing tumult, going over another bringing jubilance and relief.

          More and more, to go to bed tonight is to awaken to a surprise the next day. Or shock.

          The ground is shaking and cracking.

          The winds have been hammering a restless beat against my spirit from yesterday. Moaning against the walls of my heart, asking for what I do not have. I step back and study the winds. They come from homes I do not know. They swirl a plea against my heart.

          I struggle to understand. I pray. But the prayers seemingly fall back. 

         Today, I awaken once more to the somberness of a day unsure of its call. Recalling problems I’ve heard and read about, I feel silent voices pleadingly pull at my spirit. I want to tell them the skies will blue again, and the winds will sing gold notes through happy green boughs once more some day. But, who am I comforting? Them or me? 

          There is a message on my phone. Grandparents reveling in the joy of their only grandchild. For a moment, I forget the lows of life and partake of that primeval joy of yet another Yes! to life.

          And suddenly, suddenly, a shaft of light falls into my spirit! The light tumbles into burrows and tickles joy into hollows. Strength surges through me, but I immediately know it is for others.

          Gripping my Rosary, I pray in imperfect hope, seeking the words for others,

Jesus, give me my prayer.

          For long minutes, nothing stirs. I call for Padre Pio. I call for St Jude. I call for the angels.

          Then, in the quiet still of a demure morning, I sense a stirring. One by one, in a slow, sad procession – face after face of every prayer need in recent days silently files past my consciousness. Pleas of those I know and do not know, the woe~wreaths of strangers and friends alike.

          Is this to be my prayer today? I wonder, This naming of wounds? And what comes after?

          I listen again for my prayer but none comes.

          So, I return to the pleas before me. Families breaking up. Marriages ending. Dwindling bank accounts. Work struggles. Hunger. Homelessness. Suicides. Loss of children.

          The sorrows of a hundred stories, of lives lived in the turmoil of uncertainty and loss of the familiar.

          I look at each pain, touching each sorrow, gleaned from blogs and forums and life. I cannot take it away. Today, to even point to future joys might cause a worse wounding. Nevertheless, it is imperative that each soul knows they are loved, that they are not alone in their suffering. I want to love them in the same way I have been loved countless times, by nameless angels, in secret hearts.

Jesus, King of Kings, receive my prayer.

          The prayer is like a light out of nowhere.

          It falls deep into my heart and my spirit springs to life. In a lightburst, I understand. On the beads of the Rosary, every grief touched with the heart, is a wound placed into the hands of the King. And this is what He asks of me today – to bring the wounds to Him. No mountain to scale, no valley to plumb; only compassion to seek the lost and the broken, to be brought Home to Love.

          I do not have what the wounded need, I never will.

          But Jesus does, and always will.

         

 

The King!

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          Early morning’s sunlight dimples. The winds in playful delight through the wetsilver of leaves. A child tumbles in with a Rose of Sharon in full bloom. For a reason wreathed in mists as yet, I felt the bloom ask for its place in our home. So, I gently placed it at the foot of my Our Lady of Fatima statue. I thought the flower was another name for our Blessed Mother. But when I looked it up, to my surprise, the Rose of Sharon instead symbolised Our Lord!

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          My mind then traced the dip in the path to yesterday morning. I had been awakened very, very early by a lone robin’s delirious rhapsody of joy on a branch of purple green, just outside our window. Their song here is usually a gentle morning lilt, tenderly respectful of a slumberer in the last wisps of dreams.

          But not yesterday. The little one sang his heart out to the purple grey skies awaiting the early blush of sunrise. His joyburst startled me out of sleep. Barely registering his exuberant cadence, a song burst from my own spirit:

Hark the herald angels sing

Glory to the newborn King!

          On and on, the two lines of the Christmas hymn trilled  and trilled within me, willing me to join my spirit to its jubilant notes. I hesitated. What madness was this, at the wind down of a ragged two weeks that scraped at my soul, now Christmas in July?

          What Christmas is this?

          The little bird sitting in the tree that bears stars saw what my spirit has yet to grasp. A new wind has begun to weave its way through the disfigured pain~shards of broken dreams and lives.

          Even as the world weeps in its tortures, the King is already here.

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LIGHT THE LAMPS

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          As the sun dips to his rest, and the purple night gently ribbons across the skies, our hands reach out for light. However welcome the night in its cool flower-scented breezes and hushed life sounds, we seek the light to see and live.

          And so it is with the soul. Even in the wilful pursuit of all that chokes and stamps out the breath of God within us, the soul in loneliness seeks the Light. In every straying heart, the soul stands in diametrical solitariness, longing for that which gives True Life.

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          So as the indigo mists of night drop their veils, heed the urgent whisper of the Spirit:       Go forth and light the lamps.

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          Seek the barren streets, seek them in compassion. The paths where lonely snow drifts. In love reach out to those whose heads are bowed against the snow, intent on their cold aloneness because they think no one cares enough any more. Let love warm and melt the snow that they wear around their hearts, kindle unseen embers long dormant.

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          Have courage. In patience, search for homes locked from within. Shutters clamped tight against the light, soil tilled no more, gardens listing to neglect. Walls adorned by sadness, loss of hope. Seek these homes of a thousand gray memories, dwelling place of souls fettered by the past and present. Seek them and let the Light stream in, for it’s only by His Light that the soul heals.

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          Seek the faces on the streets of hardness, despair, fear and shame. Seek in earnest the faces of those who earn their living by the barrel of the gun of violence and drugs. Search out the souls who offer spousal comfort to those not theirs. In mercy and love, part the thorns that hide and protect those who choose to sever the bond between a mother and her baby in the womb. Go forth and light the lamps on those darkened streets of a thousand shadows. Give hope where hope has gone. Share love where hate has reigned too long. Light the lamp so the soul may be healed.

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          Light the lamps in souls who choose their end before His time. Those so bereft of hope, who suffer the poverty of relationships true and strong. Those for whom love has fled. Let their grief light your path to them. Illumine the darkness of their agony with Christ, that they see in their sufferings, purpose amalgamated with the Divine Will.

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          Go forth and light the lamps in lands where faith slumbers in peril. In prayer and deed, in a life lived true, guide hearts to the Pearl of the Blue Mantle.

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          Shine the Shepherd’s Beacon in every pilgrim soul, away from the precipice of death, steer each one safe.

SEEK REFUGE

12247-summer-flowers-wallpaper-hd[1]Bubbles of joy in music filled hearts. Not a care, not a worry, not a fear. Happy skips in the playgrounds of gaiety. Flower blankets blooming beneath the love of the unblighted sun.

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Food aplenty, open displays of feasts. No gnawing hunger, no fear of an empty larder. Raucous pursuits, a different joy every day. Freedom to scale any hill and mountain. No restraining leash tethered to pains and needs of those around us. Everything we want is there for the taking.

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Golden sunrise of hope, clear skies. Not a tear, not a shadow. We skip and dance past imprisoned souls, Live life to the fullest, we call out. Seize the day, we chime to teary eyes, Join in our song of camaraderie, we sing before we breeze on.

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Happy sojourns, success in every form, at every turn in the road. Eyes unseeing, ensconced within our walled-in sphere of accolades and shallow mirth. The still in the winds we sense not. The gathering hush comes slow and stealthily.

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Muted tinkle of warning. Ribboned our way by a wind chime stirred by the first rain winds. For an instance, our skip is stilled. We look up from our preoccupation, irritated at the intrusion.  We might see the burgeoning waves on seemingly distant seas. What’s new? That’s life, – we  reason impatiently. Then, we turn away. A crow call of nothings, we shrug and damp down the sparks of messenger whispers.

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The Storm hits from behind, a wild and feral fury unleashed. We latch our doors and cower in shock. Our houses are pummeled. Every pocket wherein we stored our hopes and faith torn and rent to shreds. In fear we flee the houses we occupied, tearing down streets where we built our other abodes, seeking open doors, ready welcome, comfort and refuge. Panic surges and overwhelms.

No door, no welcome.

No comfort, no refuge.

We crumple to the ground. Our life in ashes lie. Knifing through us, a wrenching grief of loss of the familiar. Mater dei, Mater dei, the cry slips from us.

An ember of light flickers to life within us. Sepia-stained memories of an ancient Call. Am I not here, I, who am your Mother?

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Stumbling to our feet, we search for hallowed ground, seek the Mantle we once knew. Grateful collapse, our knees we bend in humble homage. Winds screaming all around, yet, an oasis of Comfort in holy remorse and repentance. Refuge found.

 

TRIUMPH OF THE HOLY CROSS ~ Sept 14

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Years ago, when my eyes first traced the words – Triumph of the Holy Cross, I naively imagined the coming feast would bring me joy and revelry. As it turned out, from that first year, every time I saw the feast approaching, I remembered all we had hoped for but ultimately lost. My heart ached every time I heard the proclamation that the Cross would bring joy and that it was a sign of hope.

To me, it brought neither.

Yet, I knew that the struggle to comprehend the true meaning of Christian joy was due to my experience of pain, and not a rebellion against the truth. My feelings were an impediment to the acceptance of the doctrine of the Cross. Although I instinctively knew it was true, I couldn’t see the truth of it manifested through what we had gone through. I didn’t doubt the truth of my cradle faith, but I hurt because I could not proclaim it in sincerity in my life. And I desperately wanted to not hurt because of it.

Every time, every year the feast made its way up my calendar, the eyes of my heart watched it in wary curiosity, willing God to lift the veil and let the truth shine through, so the pain would dissipate.

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This year, on an impulse, I made the sudden decision to mark the feast. I had had enough of waiting by the wings. I began to recite the Novena of the Exaltation of The Holy Cross. It was my way of telling God, I want to know. Lift the veil, Lord.

Some days into it, I heard a voice say, Blow the Spirit of My Mother into the realms. A fleeting voice. Light. Leaving no mark within me. No compulsion that I follow its leading. An invisible beckoning to part the veil, to go beyond the veil.

I chased after the voice. I called out and waited for its answering echo. I listened out for it, day and night, trying to make out its cadences from among the cacophony of other competing voices.

Blow the Spirit of My Mother into the realms.

I turned the phrase over and over in my mind. Many dear souls tried to help me fathom its meaning. But every honest suggestion bounced off me like silver raindrops sliding into the earth. Nothing stayed long enough to resonate.

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On the 14th of September, I sat in an empty and silent church and stared at my Lord on His Cross. It was not an easy journey to make to the church, so I wanted to make the most of it. I got busy offering Him my prayers and supplications. I looked carefully at the Cross and willed Him to speak to me. I waited. There was a peaceful quiet around me, but nothing more. After a time, I decided to leave.

As I moved to get up, I was suddenly assailed by a powerful sense of gratitude for His gift of faith to me. Thankfulness flooded my spirit like never before. I had long suspected that what bit of faith I had was not of my making, but a gift from above.

But up to then, I had never before felt such a deep conviction of that. In that moment of light in the church yesterday, I was bent over in a gratitude not mine for all God had blessed me with. It was something I knew all along, and yet, it seemed that some inner eye had been opened to the gift of spiritual insight.

As I finally made my way out of church, I felt an unseen burden lifted off my shoulders. I did not know what that burden was, but I felt light within.

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Stepping into the sunshine, ready to go forth with a spring in my step, I became aware of a sudden developing aridity in my soul. In a split second, I had moved from white to dark. It felt as if my soul was drying from the edges inwards. Nothing around me had changed. And yet, some darkness had slipped in. An unseen wind borne and strengthened on gusts of fear and panic began to howl silently inside me. From the positive emotions of a scant few minutes before, this sudden change was a storm I never saw coming.

I went into pretend mode. I tried to not panic. I carved a face of normalcy and went about my day, while the storm clawed at me on the inside. I tended to house chores and cooked dinner, all the while frantically trying to discern what I had done wrong to have visited this on myself. A hundred questions. No answers.

But I knew, like the faith I carried in my heart, this secret growing desert within my soul was not my doing. It had formed unbidden in me several times in the past. It was not unknown. It was a small moment in the desert Christ stayed in for forty days. It was the desert of hopelessness, doubt, sorrow of the loss of heaven. It was the desolation of the perceived closed door of heaven. No spiritual leadings in that desert in me. No voiceless prompts to charity and rightness. No comfort, no solace, no peace. The aridity was heaven’s door sealed to me so I would leave the comforts I had grown used to, to search anew for Truth.

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It was a journey I could never not make however much I despised it. And yet, I cowed in fear because it was a journey of the soul but without clearly sensing my Lord’s guiding Hand. It was a journey of obedience through bitter darkness and fear, not being able to see in front of me. This was a journey that called for only faith and obedience. And yet it seemed unsurmountable.

As the storm inside me crashed and raged in a widening circle of tempests, I grew more and more desperate. It reached a hideous peak.

Then, a prayer slipped into me. A prayer I have never before prayed.

Mother, into Your hands I commend my spirit.

Like the faith I had, like the dryness in me, this prayer too was not my doing.

But I grasped it like one drowning. I didn’t question it. I didn’t analyse it. Over and over and over, I prayed the prayer, throwing myself in abandon into the depths of it.

Mother, into Your hands I commend my spirit…

Mother, into Your hands I commend my spirit…

Mother, into Your hands I commend my spirit.

And the miracle began. I felt something take root and bloom within my soul.

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The black ice began to melt. The darkness edged away. The storm swirled slower and slower and slower.

Mother, into Your hands I commend my spirit.

I didn’t know that prayer and but my spirit did. It was my Savior’s words from the Cross. He gave me His words and turned me to His mother to place my spirit, my will in Her hands.

Stunned, I realised whose voice it was that I had heard that day ~ Blow the Spirit of My Mother into the realms – it was Jesus’ voice.

And when I answered with a trusting beyond me, Mother, into Your hands I commend my spirit, I stepped out of the darkness. I parted the veil.

In that instant, I knew the Triumph of the Cross.