LUMINOUS MYSTERIES

The End is Nigh

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          This morning, stopping by the late Nancy Shuman’s The Breadbox Letters for a quick nibble at my favourite blogs indexed there, a heading jumped out at me from out of nowhere.

The end is nigh.

A new life / world awaits you.

Then without warning, the page was suddenly refreshed and just like that, those words disappeared. I went blog by blog, searching for them but to no avail. They were gone.

          I sat back and turned things over in my heart. Just minutes earlier, I had prayed my morning prayers at my altar. Since we recite the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary on Thursdays, for some years now, I’ve called my Thursdays, Illumination Thursday, a day when I pray for the strength to see my soul and all its sins as God sees it and for the strength and will to repent and start anew.

          Thursdays have also become my Miracle Thursday, when I pray and ask God for every miracle possible.

          I had asked for both the illumination and the miracles today, for myself, my loved ones and for the world. God knows how much we all need both. Even at this point in time, with the many Covid restrictions being lifted bit by bit and life smoothening out once more, something in my heart urges me to still seek miracles. Not from the usual lack of gratitude do I sense that this normal life we are returning to is missing something. It could be the terrible war in Ukraine or Covid or the vaccine mandates or even all three that have changed us all in some way or another. But I cannot ignore this feeling that even if the life that is opening its doors to allow us back in seems much like the one we knew before, something, somewhere has changed.

          The windchimes outside my living room sliding doors chime in a sudden urgency, as if to signal the angels’ agreement with the gentle swirling in my heart.

The end is nigh. A new life / world awaits you.

          Two years of suffering is bound to change anyone. With a new boss having assumed the mantle of leadership, life at work is already different, yet without the sweetness of hope and joy, all the old the ruts and tangles remain. Still deep in my studies and discovering and learning so much, I too am no longer the same. Yet, none of this explains why the waiting world we are returning to has lost a bit of its flavour.

The end is nigh. A new life / world awaits you.

          Unless it means that we have not arrived yet at the lands promised to us on this earth.

          But that the appointed time is coming.

          And it is close.

Lent 21 ~ The Last Bastion

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Every family, every faithful, every religious community: all united spiritually at 9 p.m. in the recitation of the Rosary, with the Mysteries of Light.   ~   Pope Francis, for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19 2020

 

          The one Lent observance God called me to this year is the Recitation of the Luminous Mysteries. That is a personal sign for me, a confirmation of the voice I heard 4 years ago during our nightly Rosary,

The Luminous Mysteries is the Illumination of Conscience

          There are shepherds assigned to us – our leaders, our parents, our care providers. Many of these lights that are supposed to illuminate our path ahead are beginning to stumble, waver and flicker. Many lights too are going out, one by one, leaving us in a gathering and deepening darkness of the soul.

          But on this Feast of St Joseph, we pray to seek the guidance of the simple yet wise, brave and holy foster father to Jesus who braved the darkness of his times to keep The Child King and His Mother safe. We pray that even if all our shepherd-lights blacken, one light will remain in a clear and powerful illumination.

          The light of our conscience. The last bastion for these times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Pray

Mouro Island Lighthouse (Built In 1860), Spain, by Jokin Romero

But pray, my children. God will hear you in a little while. My Son allows Himself to be moved.   ~   Apparition of Our Lady of Pontmain, 17 January 1871

          Something came up at work today. These past weeks, my husband and I have been putting in extremely long hours at work, day after day, coming home worn to the bone, to another round of work and cares. Some of our children are facing the same as well and the effects were evident. Despite our almost manic schedules, we have tried to do our best, especially for the younger ones; yet, there’s no hiding the fact that we aren’t giving them as much as they need from us. Still, I was deeply grateful  for the hidden stream that has been flowing though us, quietly and gently, giving us the strength and endurance for each day, taking us from hour to hour.

          So with that, I felt I might just make it; that endure just might be possible until God answered our fervent prayers for change.

          That was how I felt until today. Today, everything came crashing down over my ears – an even more severe schedule was assigned to us. I wanted to put my head on my desk and weep in exhaustion. I could manage a few weeks of such scheduling but not months and months of it. Months and months of grueling hours at work, then going home, staggering around, trying to see to meals and laundry and homework and everything else. Trying to stay calm and cheery. Trying to stay faithful to prayers.

          I stood at the edge. Mother of Lourdes, I cried in my heart, help me. Help me to endure. I have to but I don’t know how. The office was crowded and busy and there was no privacy to let some of the hurt out. In desperation to keep my tears inside, I reached for the site I had bookmarked for February, the Month of Lourdes. It was the live feed to the actual Grotto of Lourdes in France, where Our Lady stood high amongst rocks,  solemnly illuminated. I ran before Her, and fell at Her feet, begging for help. Please save us, I prayed, over and over.

          But I couldn’t stay long. As I hurried back to work, I remembered that I hadn’t had time to do my daily Bible reading that morning, nor pick up my prayer for the day. Later, when I had a few free minutes, quickly, I turned to the readings.

God said: This is the sign of the covenant that I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you for all ages to come: I set My bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. I will remember my covenant between Me and you and every living creature—every mortal being—so that the waters will never again become a flood to destroy every mortal being   Genesis 9: 12 – 13, 15

It was the very same reading as the day of the December rainbow. The day when it seemed as if the iron had bitten deep into my soul. To see Genesis 9 once again, at such a difficult hour, it could only be Mother Mary’s arms around me. She had come swiftly in response to my cry, bidding me remember God’s old promise to me,

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise.

          I didn’t feel joy or relief flood me. But I immediately straightened up. Repeating my prayer for the day, I humbly place my heart between the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, I returned to my day and its calls. And once more, I made it through.

          Hours later, God’s grace of strength for the day gratefully used for love, Mother Mary quietly came once more. I read of an old, old apparition, in Pontmain, France. One wintry night, to a tiny hamlet shaking in fear of an inevitable, impending enemy invasion, Our Lady of Hope had come, bearing the message,

But pray, My children.

God will hear you in a little while.

My Son allows Himself to be moved.  

          But pray. The prayer will be answered. A strange fire caught and lit my soul at the words of the Mother of God. I hastened to share the good news with my husband and children.

          In the final hour of this Thursday night of the Luminous Mysteries, I stopped by our altar to anoint myself in prayer for the priests, the shepherds and the Pope. By our statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, sat little green Cross, gifted to us by a priest. At the moment I anointed myself, the Cross with the emblem of praying hands at its heart, glowed brightly, yet gently, in a pulse of light, like never before.

          On this night of the snow moon, Mother Mary’s final words were,

But pray

 

 

 

Winter

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          The dark grey rain~morning of today began curiously enough for me. Today is Friday, yesterday was Thursday – the day we recite the Luminous Mysteries in the Rosary. And yesterday, while reciting the Rosary, I had allowed my mind to wander a little at the beginning. The gate of daydreaming that I cracked open so slightly quickly swung open wide. Soon, I tread two worlds: reciting the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, while at the same time, imagining house redecorating ideas.

          I winced a bit at the end and tried to rein in my far wandering thoughts but the damage had been done: house redecorating trumped Luminous Mysteries meditation.

          Turning in for the night, I told myself I had to recite the Rosary again – properly this time. What I had done was just too much. I didn’t want other doors to open as a result of it.

          But sleep claimed me swiftly and the next thing I knew, the last day of November was slowly lifting its grey lids, rising from old slumber.

          Undeterred, with a dawn rain softly falling through the sleep-sweetened night air, I lay on my pillow and said my Luminous Mysteries again, this time, turning each Mystery over in my mind as I threaded roses through them.

          The First Luminous Mystery – Christ’s Baptism at the River Jordan. I thought of water. Water had come up quite a bit for me in recent days. There was the much welcomed November rain. There had been chatter among friends about the using of the sacramental of holy water. November also brought back memories of a December 27th dream from last year where I was shown a bedroom in my home, filled with clear water, right up to the ceiling – water that filled, yet did no damage; water which then knocked me over as it overflowed out through open windows, into a lush, green garden where my mother-in-law was enjoying the plants with my husband, deep peace filling her slight form.

          And then I saw the words,

Momentarily overwhelmed.

I later shared about the Water Dream with my Godmother. That water in the dream signifies grace, she told me immediately. If so, it meant that I would be knocked over by grace. Certainly not the way I viewed ‘grace’. Over the months that followed, through each cycle of hurt and pain followed by strength and wisdom, my education on grace deepened, specifically – hidden grace. Disguised grace.

          The Second Luminous Mystery The Wedding Feast at Cana. I imagined the scene in my head. The embarrassment and consternation of the couple’s parents upon discovering that the wine had run out. The frantic scurrying around. The furtive whispers. I imagined Mother Mary lifting her gaze to the unfolding scene, her alertness. She must have heard the whispers, maybe even the sneers of a few as the news slowly made its rounds. She listened and determined. Then, she went to Jesus and told Him. I watched His ensuing obedience to the call of God through His Mother.

          Do whatever He tells you, says the Mother. Obedience again. Water to wine.

          The Third Luminous Mystery – The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God. The old St. Jude dream of 2016 – the huge snow-white map in the blue sky. Then the little green church, my birth family safe inside. I was moving away when I heard and felt the exhortation,

Pray for others.

Pray for others. Proclaim the Kingdom of God.

          The Fourth Luminous Mystery – The Transfiguration. The snow white clothes. The thinning of the veil. Moses and Elias. The dead are alive again. A glimpse of what was to come. A glimpse of that glory, shown early to give strength and put hope firmly in place – because the blinding, searing despair that was to come soon would make anyone forget the glory that awaited shattered hearts.

          The Fifth Luminous Mystery – The Institution of the Holy Eucharist. Bread and Wine. Wine from water. Bread from the dough of sacrifice and the yeast of obedience.

          And then I felt the door shut. I could no longer press forward.

          I felt like I was now standing before that closed door, my hand on it, uncertain about what to do next. Uncertain but not troubled. A quiet curled within me.

          An old memory came unbidden. Of another Rosary recited some years ago. Deep in its meditation, not distracted, a still voice quietly slipped through,

The Luminous Mysteries is the Illumination of Conscience.

For years since I heard that voice I’ve puzzled over the message. How is the Luminous Mysteries the Illumination of Conscience? I wonder each time I recall the words.

          I wondered it again this morning as I lay in bed, What is the connection?

          But this time, in the quiet of the dark, shuttered by the silver curtain of falling rain, an unseen hand lined up the pearls before me:

Luminous. Illumination. Light.

It was so obvious and yet it hadn’t occurred to me before today. I pushed the closed door again to see if it would yield to my searching, but it didn’t. So I arose and went to my day.

          Someone had reminded me yesterday that it was time to begin the St. Andrew novena ~

St. Andrew Christmas Novena
(from 30th November up to and including Christmas Eve)

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.​

          I felt a movement in my spirit at the words piercing cold. We have no winter of biting cold and snow here so it wasn’t familiarity that tugged at me. But beyond that, as I didn’t feel the novena call out to me in a special way, I returned the prayer to its place.

          Throughout the course of the day, I went on several other little journeys. By the end of the day, a single word stood out in the crowd of thousands. A new one I’ve never before encountered spiritually:

Winter

          Piercing cold. Suddenly my old dream of the white map the blue sky crystallized before me. White map. Why was it white? I’ve asked and wondered so many, many times since I saw it on St. Jude’s Feast day two years ago. Today, after the Luminous Mysteries, it comes,

Some kind of snow

I was shown three places consecutively in that White Map dream: Africa, Europe, Asia. White Africa. White Europe. White Asia. Why white? Why three? I had asked heaven so many times.

Then, soon after the Feast of St. Jude this year, for the briefest moment, a sliver of light shone through the clouds.

Africa. Europe. Asia.

2017. 2018. 2019.

Shock had pierced me then. In every discussion with close friends, every time the veil thinned a little, this had never come up.

And now, shock swarmed through me again. White covered nations.

A Coming Winter.