Lent 2022

Lent 40 ~ Vigil Night

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The fasts are done; the Aves said;
The moon has filled her horn
And in the solemn night I watch
Before the Easter morn.
So pure, so still the starry heaven,
So hushed the brooding air,
I could hear the sweep of an angel’s wings
If one should earthward fare.   ~   Edna Dean Proctor, Easter Morning

Lent 38 ~ The Ancient Loneliness

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Here they are gathered, wondering and deranged,
Round Him, who wisely doth Himself inclose,
And who now takes Himself away, estranged,
From those who owned Him once, and past them
flows.
He feels the ancient loneliness to-day
That taught Him all His deepest acts of love;
Now in the olive groves He soon will rove,
And these who love Him all will flee away.   ~ Ranier Maria Rilke

Lent 37 ~ Light for the Dark

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          Above all, I beg of you to be always gay, joyful and happy, for this is the true mark of the Spirit of God, Who wishes that we should serve Him in peace and contentment; do not be uneasy or anxious, but do all things with liberty of mind and in the presence of God.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

          Holy Week began on a difficult note but today, things deepened without warning and completely knocked me off the hill. I finally broke down at Jesus’ feet, my first time in some weeks.

          Still, I had a feeling I was under some kind of attack. I don’t usually see things in this light but I did today. Because today, having heard of vicious attacks against Ukrainian women and girls, I felt I had to do something. Knowing how packed and busy my day was going to be, I needed to be able to make some kind of a continuous offering, alongside the calls of work. Hence, I decided to offer up as many Hail Mary’s as I could, asking Mother Mary if each bud could in some way be used to save the life of a woman or a girl.

          A few rose~buds in, everything began to unravel. Even minor issues threw me off balance, on and on, snowballing till late afternoon. By late evening, as the humidity of an impending storm singed the sunset hours, I knew I had barely given anything towards so great a need. Hell was being unearthed in Ukraine and here I was, as usual, tripping over far smaller trials. Darkness had seemingly won.

          But someone saw, and someone knew I needed help against whatever was blowing hard against me today.

Above all, I beg of you to be always gay, joyful and happy, for this is the true mark of the Spirit of God, Who wishes that we should serve Him in peace and contentment;

          How do I be this gay, joyful and happy when dark winds rise? I wondered mutinously. How do I not lose the mark of the Holy Spirit? For once, I felt that beloved saint~friend did not have God’s word for me today.

          Just as frustration began to curl into me, I saw it,

…do not be uneasy or anxious,

but do all things with liberty of mind and in the presence of God. 

          On my own, I can do none of the above for I bear no kinship with the serene lotuses of still ponds. The quiet peace of saints continually evades me. But if there’s anything I’ve managed to learn, it is that I can always trust in God to grant me every grace to fill every dry gully of need. What I have need of, He will provide.

          So, back to God’s Heart I went again.

          This time, into Its depths I gave up my darkness. In exchange I took His Light.

Lent 36 ~ The Way of the Colt

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Today, many years ago, He rode a donkey, not a horse.   ~  Anonymous

          Today, the flames of stray, angry thoughts are quickly doused when these words find me,

He rode a donkey, not a horse

          In a tender Palm Sunday miracle, those 7 words remind me that God’s ways are always different to what the human heart clamours for.

          Through the way of the colt, He gently tells me to put my hand into His, and to let Him lead.

 

Lent 33 ~ Time to Leave

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          Despite keeping to a regular Lenten posting schedule, I was still surprised to realise that Holy Week was almost upon us. With that dawning, came the usual regret that life wasn’t more quiet, less harried to allow me to sink deeper into this final quiet.

          But I also knew that one thing at least was in my hands: to cut off from two online communities I was added to recently and to regain some measure of quiet. I have never liked being part of online communities where I cannot block notifications of posts. Something about those bell-icons, red bubbles, green bubbles, what-have-you – annoy me deeply. Yet, as it is not in my nature to simply ignore any form of messages or notifications, in order to have some peace, every single day – sometimes even several times in a day – I have to stop everything just to clear the ever-growing cache of messages.

          Soon, I realised something else too: I was making a habit of scrolling through those hundreds of messages before deleting them, in the fear that there might just be something important to take note of, and in the process, I was being drawn into so many lives and endless rounds of conversations.

          I’ve always been interested in people. If there’s a vineyard of need, I want to help if I can. And there have been times when the pain of people in these two communities have moved me to reach out and offer them my bread. However, it was also growing upon me that I was being drawn out too much and in danger of wading into imagined needs, pouring energy and help into what were actually hidden wastelands.

          About a week or two back, I decided that today, my Thursday of illumination, would be the day when I would cut my ties to those two online communities which were connected to my professional life. Unfortunately, when the day arrived, I wasn’t as sure that I should do it.

          But Someone was sure that I needed to cut off.

          Driving along shadowy roads to work, the skies above were silver and lavender, embroidered with a sprinkling of diamond~stars. My heart ached. For the thousandth time, I wished I could just quit my job and just rest from the never ending cycle of hope and disappointment.

          Just then, I caught sight of a familiar blue-caped emissary, perched on the side of the narrow road. The kingfishers have become a little rare in recent months. This was the first time ever I saw one sitting unexpectedly on the road. Hitting the brakes to avoid injuring it, I knew immediately that the only reason the little kingfisher was there in such an odd place was because God had meant it to be His sign to me, to tell me,

Quieten Down, Listen Up

          The noise had to go. No matter what minute benefit I stood to lose, it was time to leave the communities. So, as rain~pearls curtained the fading hours after work, I deleted my ties and left for good.

          All because a little blue king had perched by the side of the road to bring me God’s will where I had none.

Lent 31 ~ When the Road Ends

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          Oh what remorse we shall feel at the end of our lives, when we look back upon the great number of instructions and examples afforded by God and the Saints for our perfection, and so carelessly received by us!

If this end were to come to you today, would you be pleased with the life you have led this year?   

~  St Francis de Sales

Lent 29 ~ Sparrow~Words

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Those that sow in tears
            shall reap rejoicing.   ~  Psalm 126: 5

          Every Sunday, I stand before my altar and look up at my Jesus and reaffirm my promise to Him that I will live my Sunday as a day of special thanksgiving and rest. It doesn’t always work to plan, given that I am a workaholic and life does happen. Recently, I learned that even on a Sunday, God could still call me to go out into a vineyard of need. It taught me that each day given to us is His gift to us to live it as He has willed.

          Today, intent on that same rest and thanksgiving, I instead sensed a heaviness in my spirit. I could tell straight off, it was not mine, though. I felt it was someone suffering from workplace discrimination, with loss of hope in a long journey of suffering.

Or perhaps I was picking up on someone’s feeling of anguish that even if people cared, no one could really help.

          Last night, I had seen these words,

Whatever you do won’t be enough, I heard their voices say.

Try anyway.   

~  Barack Obama, A Promised Land

          Two tiny words that shone out their light, then receded into their stillness.

Try anyway  

          And so I did. I traced back this heaviness I was sensing, going backwards along its path of hidden tears, till I reached the eyes from which flowed this quiet pain. Is it hers, I wondered. I don’t know her. What if I’m rebuffed? What if her pain pushes me away? Because I could sense something very big and very deep behind this person’s statements of hurt.

Try anyway, gentle yet firm, the words came back.

          So, timidly and hesitantly I typed out the words I might want to hear from someone. Neither the words to feed the anger, nor to minimize the suffering, nor even to shame the person for crying out for help by saying, I suffered more, why can’t you bear even this? I tried my best to acknowledge the loneliness of her suffering, the isolation of it, the shame of being the only one. But I could feel the sparseness of my words, puny against this towering pain.

          Then, I told her I was going to ask God for a miracle for her. That her sowing of tears would someday reap the joy of rejoicing.

          The very minute I laid those words, as mundane and as small as the simple sparrow, by this unknown person’s heart, I felt the weight lift from mine. From a distance came the call of a lone eagle circling the whitened~blue skies as if he too had met this weight coming off from me.

         And with that I just knew that on this Sunday, those words of hope was all my Jesus had asked of me for a stranger’s pain.

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