SAINTS

In Every Season, Love

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          The world is in seasons, it seems, in more ways than one. If it’s summer for some, winter is hovering close for others.

          In the midst of our own peace and happiness, on a golden Friday, my Muslim next door neighbour informed me that his young son-in-law, a father to two young children, had contracted Covid and had been placed under induced coma. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for the families involved. The fear of losing a boy they had come to love as their own was compounded by not being able to reach out and offer physical help to their daughter and their two grandbabies living so far away, due to the nationwide lockdown still in effect here. The morning after the most bitter of nights for them, my husband caught a glimpse of our neighbour’s wife. A soul with the most golden of hearts, her face was now shadowed with grief.

Life changed from one moment to the next

          I heard that comment made on tv by a loved one to one of those missing in the Florida condo collapse and I realised how often I had thought the same thing these past days. Sudden changes. Surprises. Shocks. In Florida, in the deepest golden blue of summer, bitter winter came. No comfort of months or weeks to prepare for the change. No gentle leading to the hard of cold and pain.

          Visiting my garden the day after the news, I worked at the beds away from our fence to assure my neighbours that I wasn’t looking for conversation. They already knew our family’s prayers were joined to their anguished pleas to God. Even in our own summer, we must do all we can for hearts wintered in.

          Today, unexpectedly, my neighbour sent us dinner over our fence. It was a heartwarming dish expertly made by his wife, one we have enjoyed multiple times over the years. It is also a time-consuming and painstaking dish to prepare, effort nearly impossible under the shadows of fear and sorrow. We immediately knew then that joy had come to them. I flew to my phone and heard their hope for myself. They were still not out of the woods yet, but hope had come.

From one moment to the next

          Steeping back and looking over all that has happened recently, I learn again that the seasons of life come to all, rich or poor, what marks us to receive more or less from each season not easily understood. How long the seasons stay is beyond anything we can determine, for they lodge at will, the summons to come and leave answered in obedience only to the Almighty.

          Someone tried to teach me a long time ago that a strong, unwavering faith and knowledge of sacred scriptures is a surefire way of facing down times of strife and difficulty. True as that may be for some people, it wasn’t for me. The wall of faith and knowledge that took me through early troubles all but crumbled later when God tested us 14 years ago. In standing before my God, all I had was my naked anguish and raw grief. There were days when Scripture shone light through the impenetrable darkness of debilitating grief; but there were many more when even much loved verses did not make sense, when it seemed like they made their way past the door of my waiting heart, pausing not.

          Today, I asked God once more what takes us through the seasons of life, and what helps us to leave our springs and summers to meet others in their own seasons.

          The answer came, as pure and clear as a new sunrise.

It is love.

Discover St. Paul

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          In early February, I came across a Word for the Year as well as a Saint generator. I did use the Saint generator a couple of years before and it gave me St. John Cantius, a saint I had never heard of. I wasn’t much impressed, to be honest. I mean I was expecting one of the greats – St. Padre Pio, maybe. Or St. Faustina. St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, that ilk.

          Anyway, St. John Cantius wasn’t interested in being a great in my eyes. He had business with me and he set about it briskly. He spoke to me about my tendency to anger. It was a firm rap on my knuckles and I sat up all the straighter for it. I gained an important lesson in anger management as well as a timely humbling to never roll my eyes at another saint.

          This year, right from the gentle opening of New Year buds, seeking the Word for the Year has been crossing the eyes of my heart rather often. I put it down to a trend and refused to succumb to it. Nevertheless, a silent singer continued to hum its ditty with  the budding and folding of every week. Yesterday, a week into February, on a lazy night, with none of the spiritual tugs that confirm an urge, I thought I’d try it, no harm done.

My word was, Discover

My saint was St. Paul the Apostle

          Sheesh, I thought. St. Paul, a no nonsense saint. Not a saint that endeared to me – an inveterate, incorrigible tumble-r-off faith wagons. And ‘discover’? I was looking for a quiet month, not another round of climbing and hauling myself up rocks.

          I decided to back out the door stealthily. I went to bed.

          Awakening to a golden, merry day with silver~bell bird hymns woven through dappled hollows, carried along by jolly green breezes, I saw that 2 steps had become one.

Discover St. Paul

          A good night’s sleep, a still, quiet house and the greensilver song of breezes muted out every objection. With it came a memory, of a time more than a year ago, when I was down and bruised. St. Paul had come to me then, a Paul so different to what I had known him to be. A gentle, fatherly St. Paul. He had come to where I was lying weary on the ground, clucking in concern like a brown red hen. He had bent down and gently lifted me to my feet. He dusted my clothes, wiped away my tears.

          And then, opened my ears a while to the words of a heavenly assembly.

          That day, for the 2nd time in a long while, I heard what those on the other side of life thought of me. The kindness and charity of those secret thoughts contrasted negatively with my own self-evaluation as well as that of the people around me; the sliver of heavenly conversation that St. Paul allowed to fall upon my ears gave me the strength to return to my journey. Even after that, I continued to make missteps, I continued to fall. But like a light from behind, the words of heaven’s assembly of saints buoyed me on.

          This morning, a day baptized by happy sunshine and mirthful baby breezes, I remembered once more the Paul who had come to me and helped me up. Then, I remembered too his first words to me 12 years ago,

I am returning him to you

          Word Generator or a Saint Generator, when the time is right, becomes a heavenly chest, to be opened by our Guardian Angel, releasing to us the lights we need, Word or Saint, for the times we are in.

          And so it is for me. My Angel has sealed my heart once more to St. Paul’s, to allow the Word of the Hebrews to light my way ahead.

 

 

 

Lent 12 ~ Pathways

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Learn from My saints.  Study them. Receive their teachings.  Draw inspiration from their friendship with Me.  

But do not try to imitate them.  

Each of My friends arrives at union with Me by the path traced for her by the Holy Spirit.  Even when two paths may appear similar, know that they are not identical.  All of these paths converge in union with Me, in the light of My Face, and all of them lead to the open door of My Sacred Heart.   ~   Anonymous, In Sinu Jesu