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,