SACRED HEART OF JESUS

Last of June

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          On this last day of June, month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the winds lift and fall from the break of dawn, blowing secrets among them, marking the last of what has been a very hectic month. Still, even as I’m glad it has come to an end, a quiet awe sits stronger within me. Awe at all God has done and eased for us this entire month. Awe at how, for once, I managed to face the innumerable twists and hurdles relatively calmly and with fewer stumbles.

          But I also know that it wasn’t me going out to meet each deadline and obstacle; each day, it felt as if someone or something within me was already in charge and leading the way. A still and quiet power beyond what I’ve ever experienced. A power so strong yet so exquisitely gentle, unperturbed at my occasional shenanigans and general inability to read things right. A power at peace even when I often tried to do things my way.

          Today, on this last day of blessed June, looking back, thanksgiving and gratitude breathes strong in my heart. I know well many hearts have helped me get through all the hard days of June, for very few journeys of this life can be undertaken safely and successfully without the love of those who pray and guide us all onwards and upwards. Most of all, without a doubt, we have journeyed through June, as a family, bound tightly to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

          As the winds raise their softly golden voices higher in the late morning sky, I can’t help but ponder what July holds for us. I can sense something is ahead, for some endeavours have ended even as we hoped to go on.

It is as if an invisible gate is slowly being shut on some journeys, why I do not know.

          But fear finds no living within me today.

          Today, I am at peace, content to let the Spirit lead.

          And He will, Father of the Poor He is.

Lent 13 ~ Remember Her Apples

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Then I heard the words, ‘I am glad you behaved like My true daughter.  Be always merciful as I am merciful.  Love everyone out of love for Me, even your greatest enemies, so that My mercy may be fully reflected in your heart.’   ~  St. Faustina Kowalska, Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Entry: 1695

 

          Last Sunday brought yet another early morn dream. I had dreamt of an old colleague from work. But unlike the other dream before it, this one did not move me in any tangible way. Whoever brought it just gently laid it before me and quietly stepped aside. In the dream, I was inside this colleague’s home which was made up of many, many small, square, clear-glass windows. In each window was some decoration or another, each one utterly pretty and exquisite.

          But they were all mud-spattered. Interiorly, I was aware that the mud was rising in her home. While the woman was clearly upset about this, she was oddly more concerned that I would come to know what was happening to her and this agitated her. She was standing outside her home, trying to prevent people from informing me. And all the while, the mud was rising inside.

          I awakened from the dream and went to my day. Mud is rarely a good thing to see, not even in dreams, certainly not in this one too. It was clear to me that if the dream meant anything, it was that trouble was headed my old friend’s way. Mud on her decorations likely pointed to troubles and loss of what was most dear to her – the things which money could buy, things on exhibition in her life.

          I once loved this lady with all my heart and immensely enjoyed her company. She had a sharp tongue and we often got nicked, but it never mattered because she was always one who spoke the truth. The fact that she was never short of friends of all ages was a testimony to the goodness of her heart. When tragedy struck my life years before, she was my support in some ways and I loved her all the more for it.

          Then, came a time when she began to sell her soul to money. With that, things began to change with her. She no longer valued marriage, children were an inconvenience. She used the power she had over so many others to undermine their relationship with their own spouses. She encouraged her friends to choose self and enjoyment over the caring for children. She advised abortions when babies came at “inconvenient times”. Then, she began to cheat in her work – she who had been so skilled and talented at it, with a clear gift to do what few could. But now, worshipping at the altar of money, her heart began to die and with that, our friendship too.  She now stood against all that was sacred to me, especially that of marriage and family – which, for me, was the heart of life itself.

          We soon had many disagreements because I could not allow her to do wrong and to get away with it. More than anything, in fighting her, in many ways, I think I was fighting for the dear soul I once knew and loved. Yet, knowing I was no longer a part of her circle, not only did she turn against me and begin to attack me, she influenced others to do the same too. The poison was clearly spreading.

          For some years, I suffered immensely under the onslaughts of her attacks. They were vicious. They filled me with fear and loathing for work because it was there that I encountered her viciousness on an hourly basis. The attacks seemed like they would never end.

          I prayed and prayed to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to St. Joseph for a miracle. Often, I had little hope of one.

          One day, though, that miracle happened. My colleague was unexpectedly transferred to another department and to another workplace. We were as shocked as she was. But there was no regret in me in her going. If anything, the relief was immense. The Sacred Heart of Jesus had saved me – and others too. When she left, much of the poison leeched out as well. After a time, the cracks at work were sealed back.

          But this woman brought disharmony everywhere she went. Soon, stories from her new place of work drifted back to us. It seemed as if wherever she went, she sowed discord and brought out the worst in people. My friend in a managerial position at the new place suffered what we had gone through here, for there too my old colleague turned co-workers against the administration.

          Mercifully, God soon intervened once more. Without warning, this lady took early retirement from work. I suspect more than a handful of souls were saved because of this.

          Since she lived just a few houses away down my road, I often saw her but nothing remained of our friendship and nothing was kindled either. We were like strangers. I barely remember ever praying for her after that.

          Then came this dream on my Sunday when I try to live in more thankfulness. Did God want me to pray for her? If so, why wasn’t the nudge… stronger?

          Give me my prayer for her, Lord, I asked as obediently as I could, but with no great desire to pray either.

          Not a stirring out of heaven.

          I thought of the mud and of the worse thing it could signify. Please give her a happy death, Lord, I prayed quickly, wanting to get on with my chores.

          Again, nothing moved.

          What do I pray for, Lord?

          At my sink, busy with the dishes, in the softest of movements, came an old, old memory, laid by the door of my spirit by an unseen hand. A memory of that time of terrible sorrow many years past, before my friend had changed. My child had been sick in hospital then and had refused all food. Then, one day, this colleague had come to visit. She had brought comfort and strength – and apples. My child who had refused solids somehow accepted the apples too, happily devouring apple after apple.  Never before had even I tasted such delicious apples. 

          Standing at my sink, my hands soapy, my heart was now pierced by a sudden sweetness of love for my old friend. Where once stretched an arid barrenness of indifference, now in an instant was flooded through with a deep, deep love. Plunged into that love, my heart found an impossible prayer,

Lord, have mercy on her. Forgive her for all she has done.

Remember her apples, Lord, and have mercy on her.

Go Forward On Your Way

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Place over the eyes of your soul the bandage of holy and loving submission to God. . . Thus without reasoning or swerving from your path, go forward on your way.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

 

          St Margaret Mary is a saint I’ve become acquainted with only in recent years. I cannot recall exactly when, but I suspect it was since I began a sincere devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – for St Margaret Mary is the saint of the Sacred Heart.

          Since God sent her to be my friend, I’ve found that she comes just when I’m about to reach a fork in some road. And so it was this time too. She had come last week, on a very happy Friday, after I had an hours long call with my beloved godmother, talking, sharing and laughing over so many things. I had come out of that call suddenly aware that the deep drying out of my spirit had lifted and that I could feel and touch the sun~joys once more. Happy to be back to my old self, I was nevertheless visited by disquiet when I saw St Margaret Mary’s words,

Place over the eyes of your soul the bandage of holy and loving submission to God. . . Thus without reasoning or swerving from your path, go forward on your way.

 

          Oh, what could she mean? I agonized. Incidentally, there had been a number of things we had been discussing as a family. Decisions were being made and we were weighing everything. But suddenly comes this,

Thus without reasoning or swerving…

          I was so very troubled. Were we wrong about the working decisions we had made? How could we have gone so wrong in discerning? What had we missed? Every time I pondered that together with St. Margaret Mary’s words, my anxiety deepened. Even as tickles and laughter found me, I remained afraid and troubled deep inside.

          Today, just after receiving some sweet news about work, just as I was about to celebrate it, the ground beneath me cracked open slightly with a shocking turn of events. I was cut to the core by what my government had done, by its cruel deceit. Once again, just as it had been with the defenseless old man’s death, anger and hurt found easy entry into my heart. I knew I had every right to be angry.

          But deep down, I also knew it wasn’t God’s way.

          So, I went before the Blessed Sacrament, and deep into Jesus’ Heart, I placed every thorn and wound, every fear and weight. I had barely begun when I sensed an unmistakable lightness. Where there had been a painful heaviness before, it was now light and quiet, swept clean. Greatly surprised at this, I instinctively sought out St. Margaret Mary’s words once more.

Place over the eyes of your soul the bandage of holy and loving submission to God. . . Thus without reasoning or swerving from your path, go forward on your way.

          Suddenly, her words filled me with a deep peace! Where there was tension and anxiety before, now there was only relief and gentle quiet within me. I was stunned by the change. Over and over, I read the saint’s words. And then, I understood. Her words were meant for now, not last week.

 

Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Again, there were many lepers in Israel
during the time of Elisha the prophet;
yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”
When the people in the synagogue heard this,
they were all filled with fury.

They rose up, drove him out of the town,
and led him to the brow of the hill
on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
But he passed through the midst of them and went away.   ~  Luke 4: 24 – 30

 

          The mob will take us to the brow of the hill, they will move to hurl us down headlong. 

Place over the eyes of your soul the bandage of holy and loving submission to God. . . Thus without reasoning or swerving from your path, go forward on your way.

          But by fixing our gaze upon God, in trust and in loving obedience to Him and only Him, without giving in to the mob, without attempting to engage with them, we will pass through the very midst of them.

          And we will go forward on our way.

 

He Will Not Refuse You

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I advise you to have recourse to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, if you want to conquer your enemies and obtain the strength and consolation you need; He will not refuse you this help, if you ask it of Him.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

 

          Covid-19 cases continue their surge in my country and I am once again under home quarantine due to 2 close contacts testing positive.

          Last week, as I was being swabbed together with 80 plus others from my workplace, a team leader posted a message saying that our additional work assignment under her was to continue. That unnecessary assignment required us to return to work after formal hours and to work in cramped rooms with little regard for social distancing. Of course, being under mandatory home quarantine, I needn’t have worried about it. But her posting angered me. Since there were so many of us involved in this latest cluster, we were all being swabbed in the community centre in our place of work. Photos of the event were posted on our work groups. Those being swabbed were beset by frustration, anger and worry. Nobody, absolutely no one, could claim ignorance of what was happening.

          And yet, this woman chose to turn her back and her heart against our collective pain and worry, and to insist that her programme continue. I decided enough was enough.     

          There’s one thing that singles out narcissists like this particular team leader: their fear of ridicule or a public put down and the like. In any dispute, I’ve always gone one-on-one and in private. But this time called for something different. Since the woman had put her announcement out in the open, so to speak, I decided I’d meet her there. I felt I had to make a stand once and for all and I had to let others know what I was doing. So, I posted my own reply notice saying I was pulling out of her programme as long as Covid remained an issue and especially due to the fact that we were now already seeing more and more close contacts test positive for the illness.

          As far as words go, mine appeared to be like bubbles, small and ineffective. But no public slight is small enough for a narcissist. She went completely, uncharacteristically silent. Soon, 2 other voices joined in, urging her to scrap the programme. I expected more to join the chorus of protests but it stopped at 2. Of course, behind the scenes there was plenty of bitter noise but none of that mattered as it didn’t fall on the ears which needed to hear it most.

          Strangely, despite doing something so out-of-character, I was untroubled, my mind clear, my heart calm. More than that, I was glad I didn’t trouble myself to try and save others who couldn’t be bothered to help themselves.

          Close to midnight that day, a directive came from higher up, effectively cancelling the programme. I had deepened the lines of enmity between that woman and myself but at least, we had some respite now.

          Still, for how long?

          In the days since then, I’ve been reflecting. There have been times before when this woman has successfully forged ahead with her ridiculous plans. There have also been a few clear occasions when she has been unexpectedly thwarted. By and large, it has been disruptive and frustrating. This sort of turbulence is unnecessary distraction to anyone who just wants to work and especially to those who work hard and work well. During Covid uncertainty, with our daily worries about our own families, such disruptions and upsets bite deeper and harder. How much of this could I take? I wondered.

          One thing becoming more and more clear to me is that this pandemic has set into motion a massive reset. It has shown us we need to return home in deeper ways. That even as we hold down jobs and work, we need to return to some aspects of life as it was in the past – spend more time with home chores, cook more, making caring for others a priority. Create gardens, tend to vegetable plots. Watch the sun rise and set. Listen to the rains and winds, learn their songs and understand their word to us.

          Enjoy our kids. Teach our own kids. Learn how to teach our own kids.

          Learn to be silent, learn to love silence and stillness.

          In a painful way, this scourge is making us undo some of the knots we have worked into our lives.

          But some people, like my team leader, do not seem to want us to rectify the wrongs in our lives. They are resisting this reset and straining against the ropes to return to imprisonment – and insist that we too return to our prison cells. They are, in effect, willing us to believe that the prison should be our home. And there are also the many enablers who do not try to resist but instead choose the easier path of acquiescence to all that is wrong simply because it troubles them less.

          About 3 years ago, just before Covid came upon us, I had a dream of a dark, dark night. My family and I were on the darkened streets. I seemed to be leading them. Some danger was closing in on us. Then, I ran into a bamboo hut. Inside it were some of my colleagues. Desperately, I pleaded with them to leave the place, to run to safety. While they looked up and listened to me a bit, there was barely any reaction from them. Soon, they had returned to their business. 

          At that moment, we were attacked. A massive tiger was pricing and tearing apart the bamboo walls of the hut. Somehow, I managed to escape. But escaping only put me out on the dark streets again. Out in the open. In trying to go out and warn my colleagues, I had taken my family with me away from safety and now because of me, they were in danger too.

          Many times since then, I have gone back to that dream, pondering it. The message was clear: it is not my mission to save my colleagues. If I save my family and if my colleagues wish to learn from it, they are most welcome to.

          But my workmates are not my mission. My family is. This week, I learned that lesson anew.

          And as long as one chooses family, there will be forces against it. Like the woman at work who will not allow us to choose family because she won’t. She will trouble us until we admit defeat and resign ourselves to her will.

          In a moment of quiet yesterday afternoon, I sensed a tiny movement in my spirit.

         I advise you to have recourse to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ, if you want to conquer your enemies and obtain the strength and consolation you need; He will not refuse you this help, if you ask it of Him. 

          I think of the many things that have happened this week. Incidents, realizations, choices and decisions. Each invisibly linked to the other, creating a little bridge across this Jordan of my life. The other side still some way off, I need a way to win this battle and reach it.

Have recourse to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

He will not refuse you this help, if you ask it of Him. 

          And so I do. And I ask big. I ask for all the miracles possible to end this battle.

 

 

Let Mum Rest

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          By early morning today, we had a pretty good idea of how our Christmas this year was going to be. Part of me was hugely relieved that the annual big family gathering was not to be. I’m tiring easily and it’s taking me longer and longer to recover, despite relying more and more on the kids to help out with the cleaning and tidying. In addition to that, with a house packed with guests, I was beginning to wonder how do I pull off massive meal preparations for 3 straight days when I wasn’t bouncing back quickly enough.

          So, it did brighten my day to have it finalised today that Christmas would just be us and the kids.

          And yet, disappointment curled tiny tendrils around my heart that the house wouldn’t be filled this year. I know it’s almost suggestive of madness to feel this way when it’s clear that I’m having trouble coping with the physical work that used to come easy. But this is the shadow which most, if not all, adult survivors of emotional abuse contend with – the tendency to perceive rejection even when there’s none to be found.

          I knew very well that none of our extended family could make it to our place this year for a variety of valid reasons ranging from shortened or no Christmas leave to hospitalised parents and having to care for the elderly who could no longer travel so far out to us here.

          Still, that knowing wasn’t strong enough to smother the snide snigger I kept hearing from somewhere behind my ear.

They could have come but just didn’t want to try, said that voice, just for me.

          I think Jesus heard it.

          Minutes later, out on an errand, some time to myself in the car, I read a line from The Life of Faustina Kowalska. Jesus had appeared to the dying saint and said to her, Heart of my Heart, be filled with joy.

          My heart still filled with conflicting emotions over Christmas, I read the line only with my mind, wondering absently, How would it feel to have Jesus say this to me?

          No sooner had the thought budded when I felt an unseen finger write those very words on my heart.

Heart of my Heart, be filled with joy.

          Suddenly, I felt certain, it was Jesus’ voice I felt.

          Be filled with joy. I felt I needed to make myself worthy of such tenderness. I needed to rid myself of all that was enervating me. So, I resolved to go in cheer to my chores and Christmas preparations. To encourage myself to keep going when I got tired, yet not be unkind to myself to forsake needed rest.

          Jesus stopped by once more to cheer me on.

Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!

~   Song of Songs 2: 13, 1st Reading, 3rd week of Advent

          Happy hours slipped past like tiny boats on a grinning brook, gurgling after the break of winter’s ice. Much got done and done happily. My kind of day. Eager for a short rest, I turned back to take one last look at the tumble of the day’s old hours. I saw each face of my family members and their reasons for not being able to make it. Why? I asked Jesus, why did You keep each one away? Not achingly asked; merely wanting to know.

          In reply, He led me to a new nativity image. Someone had named it, Let Mum Rest.

          For weeks now, I’ve been praying daily for help, consecrating our Christmas to our Guardian Angel, asking that he take each prayer to Jesus and to Mother Mary.

          Today, I knew for certain that our angel had heard the prayers, joining his own heart to each entreaty, as he entrusted it to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

          And as the winds sang their afternoon hymn, I heard Their tender reply.

Let Mum Rest

 

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Winter’s End

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          Many sunny hours have woven their sweetness throughout my recent days. For the first time, in a long, long while, I have begun to feel a happy spring flow and flow  through me, tripping and tumbling through my spirit. After so long, once more, I find joy in the gentle sway of green trees in happy winds. I see parents with tots and rejoice over their Yes! to life. Even storm clouds make my heart sing as swathes of orange~gold sunset shine through breaks of grey.

          Yet, if anyone had told me this much longed for happiness was coming, if they had told me this last Thursday or Friday, I would have found it hard to believe – because on those days, I was involved in yet another fight for my religious rights. In those smarting  hours, I didn’t have a faith big enough to ask for joy.

          All I begged of God was for peace of mind to work peaceably.

          Because when troubles are deep, when life is difficult, we need peace to get from one day to another. In many places like mine, where religious intolerance and skirmishes are escalating, even a sliver of peace each day has immense power and I have learned to value it. That was what I was experiencing since that odd silence came into me, and I was so grateful for the strength and help God rendered to me. 

          But then suddenly, came this unauthorized ‘addendum’ on an old leave application for Good Friday way back in April. With one slice of someone’s dark sword, silence – and peace – went. My leave had been approved by my superior and submitted a long time back, and the leave taken. Yet, suddenly, weeks later, a clerk in the state department, not even a higher ranked officer, took it upon herself to place extra conditions on my leave application, threatening to void it if the conditions – her conditions – were not fulfilled.

          I only saw a red mist at her audacity. Suddenly, with all that has been happening, it was too much for me. This is why I am very wary of the Muslim fasting month here – There is something about this month of theirs that brings out the worst in them. It seemingly never fails to light and stoke the flame of intolerance and suspicion against others. It either turns people into what they weren’t before or it makes them worse.

          Please end this, God, please end this, I begged and begged, in frustration, in weariness. I am trying to endure but this is so hard. Please help me. Tell me what to do. Give me a sign, I prayed.

          On Friday morning, tense at what else lay ahead, I placed my Friday of Atonement and Reparation in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As I said my first prayers at my altar, I saw a few flashes of light. This has happened many times before, though, not always. It is my guardian angel’s sign to me – to cheer up, all will be well.

          Really? I obviously didn’t have a lot of stock of faith at the moment.

          Then, came the next. The opening lines of Friday’s Gospel reading was,

Jesus said to his disciples:

Do not let your hearts be troubled.  ~   John 14: 1

          In a more humble and steadfast soul, those words would have pierced right through, flooding the soul with strength and hope. But I was no humble and steadfast soul; I was a steaming geyser right then, not sure if I had to grit my teeth and endure this, or pray and ask – and hope – that it be resolved.

          So, my spirit wasn’t exactly quiet and meek and humble.  Because of that, I couldn’t feel His words. I leaned against the very door Jesus was trying to open to come in.

          But I didn’t give up either. Are you speaking to me, Lord? I asked. Let your heart not be troubled… is it for me? I pawed on.

          And then, I bowed my heart and asked for forgiveness for my lack of faith.

          Just as I was about to rise and go to my work day, St. Margaret Mary stopped me,

When you are in trouble and anxiety, go and plunge yourself in the peace of this adorable Heart, which no one can take from you.   ~   St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

          And the words fell straight into my heart. From the doubt I had shortly before, if I was meant to endure and suffer or if I had to go ahead and fight for my rights, now I suddenly had the strongest feeling that she understood me, that she was on my side.

          More importantly, that this was a battle and it had to be fought.

          The change in me was instantaneous. I rose from my prayer mat, pierced with a sudden rush of strength at the words, Go and plunge yourself in the Sacred Heart. Gone was the inner tension. Gone was the fear of standing up and making my voice heard.

Go and plunge yourself in the Sacred Heart

          Over and over, I said the words to myself, I plunge myself into the Sacred Heart. When I thought of the absurdity and the sheer unfairness of what I was going through, I plunged it into the Sacred Heart. When my thoughts went to how this would all work out, what I needed to do, when to do it, I plunged them all into the Sacred Heart.

          Within two short hours at work, I got a call telling me the matter was settled. I had not done anything. And neither was there anything that I needed to do.

          It wasn’t mere relief that burst through my heart. It was the hymn of utter joy! I could barely understand it. I have faced far, far worse before, and while I have received God’s guidance and consolation for those times, yet, it was over the resolution of this – smaller – issue that the arrows of joy were piercing me over and over and over again in their unutterable sweetness.

          I carried this bubbling, laughing light within me from the moment of that phone call. Gone was every shadow that had taken firm residence in me for so long. Suddenly, I tasted freedom. I could lean my heart against every thing of beauty ~ children not mine, big and little, my own husband, my own children, the sacred duties of wife and mother. I ran out to greet every song the winds sang from their secret  watch amongst the clouds. In a long neglected ritual, I stole minutes to go and rest awhile in the mad tangles of a little garden coming back to life, rejoicing over new shoots and baby buds. And late at night, at my window, saying good night to the world, I lay my heart in grateful rest in the gentle, solemn embrace of the mother~moon, suddenly sure of my Heavenly Mother’s love for me.

          Someday perhaps, I may learn the secret weave of this story, how each line, both visible and hidden, lived out its mission to take me from one chapter to the next.

          For now, though the road ahead lies in patient wait for my travel, I am certain of one thing.

          I have finally come to the end of my long winter. Spring has indeed come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Old Promise

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          First Friday of the month. First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. First time in a long time that I’m able to observe this devotion.

          But I dispense with the usual prayers. I wish to gift Jesus with something of my own, from my heart. I begin with a consecration – pressing the family and others, name by name, deep into the depths of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Then, I offer up my own Chaplet ~

Blood of Christ,

Mark our hearts.

Each decade – a different petition of need. Is this right? Should I be dispensing with the usual formula? I honestly do not know. But what I do know is, if it is wrong, God will set me right.

          I leave my Holy Hour and move on to house chores. With Christmas fast approaching, there’s much to do. Busy in the depths of planning, listing, wielding and scrubbing, I feel the lightest nudge, and the strains of an old hymn unfurl their petals in the inner ear of my spirit:

THE OLD RUGGED CROSS

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain:
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it someday for a crown.

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross I will ever be true;
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me someday to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I’ll share.

          I run the words of the hymn through my heart to see what sets anchor in my spirit. When the winds dip, I feel the words:

old rugged Cross

          On a day when the grey~blue winds sing hushed notes through green weaves, and the shy sun blesses the land, on a day when my spirit skips in joy, reveling in the respite from bitters and stings, my Jesus gently reminds me that no life lived for Him can be lived away from the Cross. That to pray asking to be marked with His Blood is to pledge my acceptance and love of the cross in my life.

          It is to love the Cross through the weave of months and years, until old breath. And by that, to bring to fulfilment His promise to me one anguished night nine years ago, when I had begged for death in order to find heaven. Jesus had turned me resolutely back to this earth and its awaiting sufferings, promising me,

When you have done My Will, I will come and take you home.

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