Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens the heart of God.   ~   Padre Pio

          On Friday this week, I finally shut the door on work. It was the end of the work week and I wasn’t about to give work free passage through my heart and mind any more. I had Friday night and two glorious days and I fully intended to sink my spirit into the peace of wild things.

          Just after Friday night Rosary, as I was feeling calm and mellowed, Padre Pio came by unexpectedly. And left before my eyes a message that startled me,

Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens the heart of God.

          My spiritual father’s words were a call to battle. Late the hour was, preparing for bed, after a week I never want to see again, the last thing I expected was a rally to fight.

          I decided to be my own holy spirit. I thought I’d just focus on the second part – the key that opens the heart of God. It was more suited to the peace I sought after the rocks and gullies of the past days. I had had my fill of fighting for the week. Fighting for others. Fighting against others.

Fighting against myself.

          I was battle weary. I was done fighting. At least for the weekend, I wanted peace and some rest. Padre Pio or not, I wasn’t going to think about arsenals.

          But St. Pio’s visit lightly troubled me. I felt mildly guilty for pushing his words aside when I had sought his help for an ailing friend recently. At the very least, it seemed rude to ask someone for help, and then to shut the door in his face when he came to visit.

          Instead of going to bed as I had planned, I stayed up a bit to read and calm down again.

          But although I read topics at random, in almost each one, what glowed more than others was the call to love as God loves – through prayer.

To fight through prayer.

To fight to pray.

          I paused and ran my eyes over the recent presses of spirit. Our Lady of Guadalupe had come by a few short days before. For me, whenever She comes to me this way, Mother brings the message of battle. As I pondered it, I knew this time was no different. I was being exhorted to continue the fight.

Ask Me to Bless Them

          That prayer had been the clanging bell that relentless yet gently pursued me all of this week. When I felt strong enough to pray that way. When I wanted to pray in any way but that. It was heaven’s cry to me to fight on.

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death saying:
“This is enough, O LORD!
Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat.

Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered,
“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”
He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.   ~  1 Kings 19: 4 – 8


This is enough, O LORD!
Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.

          That is enough, O Lord were my own words when I wearied of the rigours of the battlefield. When the smoke of emotional tiredness was beginning to curl upwards within my heart. Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers. I hadn’t gone there yet but when answers to prayers were delayed, and evil triumphed and hurts deepened, then I too would most surely head to that broom tree and beneath it lie on my mat of despair.

An angel of Heaven brought Elijah food that nourished and fortified him.

          I felt a stirring within me. Yesterday’s discernment of the presence of birds quietly came before me.


Kingfisher   ~   Listen!

Eagle   ~   Battle!

          Mother Mary sent me her feathered emissaries yesterday to remind me that no matter how desolate and bitter the journey through the blacklands of struggle and battle, She would be the Hand that shakes me awake and that feeds me manna. To nourish me to persevere in the prayers I am called to.

          That guided by Her emissaries, I may walk my forty days and nights to the Mountain of God.





LENT 16 ~ Manna for the Soul


          During my years in the cell, I was told by the keeper of the keys that spiritual reading was important – to know the mind of God.

          But to know the mind of God – in order to gain the respect and admiration of all.

          That motivation didn’t go very far with me because I hated the attention that came with being on any pedestal. But to resist and question would have been to invite trouble, so I acquiesced when asked to read.

          Being young and having no access to money, I read whatever was chosen for me. Reading should have brought a knife of illumination for me, but it didn’t – because, not only was I denied a say in the choice of reading material, I was also never given the books to be read from cover to cover; important bits from selected books were excerpted by my keeper, typed out with personal clarification notes, and added to other excerpts, from other books, to form a collage of truths on a given topic.

          So, I never really read a book in its entirety. I was given a heavily excerpted and edited version under the excuse that I lacked the intelligence to understand matters of the Lord unaided. It should have worked out just fine to read a summarized and simplified version better suited to my limited cognitive abilities, but it didn’t. I remained in that dank cell. Heaven was not opened to me because what I read was distorted  through manipulation.

          The work of the Holy Spirit to enlighten and edify was pre-empted through the controlling and censoring of reading material. By the barring of the Spirit, I was jailed too.


          Today, I am no longer where I once was. I am free to read, to question and to ponder. I am encouraged by a strong and loving husband to seek the truth through spiritual reading. But he has never once endeavored to take the place of the Spirit – to force my enlightenment towards a path that leads back to him. He has steered clear of being the gatekeeper to my own soul.

          It is this freedom that I now know, that allows me to seek God through the means denied to me before. It is a seeking blessed and nourished by the Spirit. I do not always understand all I read. Often, I have doubted and prematurely rejected goldpearls of truth. But all this makes up the essence of any true journey undertaken in absolute spiritual freedom.

When you immerse your mind and heart in spiritual books, you will always be filled, for spiritual reading gives you a foundation in God ~ St John Chrysostom


Read some chapter of a devout book….It is very easy and most necessary, for just as you speak to God when at prayer, God speaks to you when you read. ~ St. Vincent de Paul


          And read, we must, in order to be free. To never be jailed by human will. Spiritual reading directed by the Spirit always leads to a true knowing of God and His ways. Read in joy, certainly, but read when in sorrow and fear too, because it is what keeps the Light shining in our spirits even in the midst of storms.

          As we feed our bodies, so must we, with greater diligence, feed our souls with Manna from our Saviour’s hands.