ST FAUSTINA

When the Rainbow Meets the Earth

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          A few days ago, in an unexpected answer to weariness over yet another spate of work shenanigans, God showed me the reason why He willed some forms of suffering for me. He did this through an account of suffering endured by St. Faustina Kowalska due to bullying by another nun.

As I was taking leave of the sisters and was about to depart, one of them apologized much to me for having helped me so little in my duties, and not only for having neglected to help me, but also for having tried to make things more difficult for me. However, in my own heart, I regarded her as a great benefactress, because she had exercised me in patience to such an extent that one of the elder sisters had once said, “Sister Faustina must be either a fool or a saint, for truly, an ordinary person would not tolerate having someone constantly do such things out of spite.” However, I had always approached her with good will. That particular sister had tried to make my work more difficult to the point that, despite my efforts, she had sometimes succeeded in spoiling what had been well done, as she herself admitted to me at our parting, and for which she begged my pardon. I had not wanted to probe her intentions, but took it as a trial from God…

I am greatly surprised at how one can be so jealous. When I see someone else’s good, I rejoice at it as if it were mine. The joy of others is my joy, and the suffering of others is my suffering, for otherwise I would not dare to commune with the Lord Jesus. The spirit of Jesus is always simple, meek, sincere; all malice, envy, and unkindness disguised under a smile of good will are clever little devils.   ~   St. Faustina Kowalska, Entries 632-633, Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul. 

          The minute I read that entry, I knew it was for me, there was no dodging it. And yet, I resolutely closed my door to it. I simply could not see myself acknowledging, much less thanking in my heart, the woman at work who’s making life so difficult for me. I could forgive, but to offer thanks for every piercing she had subjected me to, even in the hiddenness of my discernment, was asking too much of me. 

          That was for saints.

          It was beyond me and beyond God to expect that of me!

          But God being God, He is never encumbered by the many fences I erect against Him, neither does He allow Himself to be  confined within the paddocks of my pride and fear.

          God doesn’t give up either.  He would have me face His teaching squarely and bravely.

          After Mass by a visiting priest, I sought Father for Confession. And Jesus spoke through him.

          Father’s sermon that day had been about St. Bernadette Soubirous, the Lourdes seer. And now, he returned to it, beginning where the Lourdes apparitions  had come to an end, and Bernadette had sought the silence and hiddenness of convent life. There, she suffered under a Novice Mistress who could not see what God Himself had seen in His little Bernadette. As a result, Bernadette, more than any other novice, suffered deep humiliations and cruelty at her hands.

          And then, Fr gently pointed out:

          St. Bernadette did not become a saint because she saw  Mother Mary – but because she endured all her sufferings.

          Falling into quiet for a few seconds, the priest looked at me in an odd yet deeply gentle way, as if he was seeing me… and yet, as if he was looking through my eyes, into something else.

          Patience, he nodded presently, as if the answer had just been given him. You must be patient, he spoke again, telling me I needed to suffer what my colleague was doing to me, in order to attain heaven.

          Everything within me went still. Because I hadn’t said a word about my colleague to him. Fr was an outstation priest from another distant parish, filling in for our parish priest. There was no way he could have known.

          But Fr wasn’t done reading my heart. He went on to lift the veil on the reason for the attacks at work.

It is due to jealousy, he said.

          At his words, I saw before me, St. Faustina’s words in her diary entries about the attacks from the other nun. This time, they did not rebuff me. No barrier did I erect against the Voice that spoke through them, for the Shepherd’s staff is crooked for a purpose – to guide sheep bent on going elsewhere, through a gate, to the next pasture.

          God was now using His staff to tug me towards this new pasture, this world that Bernadette had come to know. To live in it in joy. In obedience.

In patience.

          God is telling me that the way forward is by keeping my eyes on the pasture, the here and now, not on the roads that lead from it. The here and now for me was to carry my Crosses the Bernadette Way, to give of myself to others – the Bernadette Way, and the Bernadette~patience I needed, to suffer in order to unfurl the mercy of the Eucharist, as far as God wants to send it out through me.

          Many years before, Jesus gave me my mission.

Wipe My Blood,

He had told me. Wipe My Blood. It had taken me many more years before I finally understood that it was a mission of reparation, to atone for the transgressions of others, even as I atoned for my many sins.

          And today, St. Bernadette, the humble, holy, hidden saint of Lourdes to whom the Mother of God appeared, has come to show me how to live in this new pasture:

          To live in the joy and freedom – of the Cross – not escape it.

          To live by keeping my eyes on the here and now. To perfect my suffering – in order to save souls.

          Someday, someday when I’ve finally reached the rainbow’s end, I will look back at the Crosses I’ve been given and my understanding will be complete. The day will come when I will no longer see those Crosses as hard, cruel and unbearable. Something to run away from, to be freed of.

          I will finally come to see each Cross of mine as the very Heart of Jesus that I’ve searched the world over for. The Heart of the Good Shepherd, for whom no suffering is too much to save even one soul.

          When that day comes, the rainbow will finally meet the earth.

          I will see.

          And I will rejoice.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bring Your Ear

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Bring your ear close to My Heart, forget everything else, and meditate upon My wondrous mercy.   ~   Entry 229, Divine Mercy in My Soul

          I have some quiet time this coming week. It may well be the last bit of real quiet I have before the frenetic work pace hits in the coming months, and I intend to use it well.

          But I’m not exactly sure how. I decide to ask St. Juan Diego to help me.

          Just before entering the church, I spot a book sale outside. I wonder if there’ll be a book for me, just like how I found my copy of Diary – Divine Mercy in My Soul, a few years ago, at a sale run by the same nuns.

          As I browse the rather limited selection, I try to lean against my spirit for some help in choosing a book, but there is no response. Then, my husband holds up a book.

The Life of Faustina Kowalska – The Authorized Biography

         And I know it is the book for me.

         Before Mass, Jesus’ words to St. Faustina reach my heart,

Bring your ear close to My Heart, forget everything else, and meditate upon My wondrous mercy. 

          Contemplation. And the material to meditate on Jesus’ mercy might be found in my new book. I think of the way I have arrived at this point, led by a man, St. Juan Diego, who never lived for himself. I think of his humbleness and his obedience to heaven’s call. Humility and obedience are special graces. But to avail myself to them, I have to first empty myself. 

Forget everything else

          And it begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

145

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When, over a long period of time, a soul has received much light and many inspirations, and when the confessors have confirmed the source of these inspirations and set the soul at peace; if its love is great, Jesus now makes it known that it is time to put into action what it has received.

The soul recognizes that God is counting on it, and this knowledge fortifies it.

It knows that to be faithful it will often have to face various difficulties, but it trusts in God and, thanks to this trust, it reaches that point to which God is calling it. Difficulties do not terrify it; they are its daily bread, as it were. They do not frighten or terrify the soul, just as a warrior who is constantly in battle is not terrified by the roar of the cannon.

Far from being frightened, it listens to determine from which side the enemy is launching his attack, in order to defeat him. It does nothing blindly, but examines and ponders everything deeply and, not counting on itself, it prays fervently and asks advice of other warriors who are experienced and wise. When the soul acts in this way, it nearly always wins.

There are attacks when a soul has no time to think or seek advice; then it must enter into a life-or-death struggle. Sometimes it is good to flee for cover in the wound of the Heart of Jesus, without answering a single word. By this very act the enemy is already defeated.

In time of peace, as well, the soul continues making efforts, just as in time of battle. It must exercise itself, and do so with energy; otherwise it has no chance of attaining victory.

I regard the time of peace as a time of preparation for victory.

The soul must be ever watchful; watchfulness and again, watchfulness. The soul that reflects receives much light.  ~   St. Faustina Kowalska, Diary – Divine Mercy in My Soul, Entry 145

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gambler

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          On Sunday, the 1st of October, I think I sensed a slight tug towards an 8 day Jesuit retreat. By way of spiritual tugs, this must rate as one of the lightest yet for me. Nevertheless, I followed it, researched Jesuit retreats online and all because I thought I needed to begin that day or at the very latest, the next day.

          But I came up empty. I saw things, I read up but the prompts dried up immediately. Then, I prayed to St Francis of Assisi for help as I sensed this retreat was in some way linked to this saint.

          Because in recent days he had come very strongly to tell me to Quieten Down, Listen Up.

         It’s been some days and the wind has remained silent. Another round of poking through the Internet earlier today came up empty as well. When I tried to force the discernment, I could feel an instant inner drying. So, I backed off.

         Until a short while ago. I was watching the news reports on the Las Vegas shootings and heard the word ‘Gambler’ used to describe the shooter.

         Gambler.

          My heart went still. It would be the second time I was hearing that since that incident after Mass 2 weeks ago with my relative. Right after that unpleasantness, an unseen hand began to press that word into my spirit. I didn’t catch on initially but the minute I did, the anger and shock over what had happened retreated into the background. My feelings no longer mattered as much because I knew I was beholding something far worse.

         I turn the word over in my mind. What do I do with this discernment? Pray? Meditate? What? Again, the winds retreat and I am left without an answer.

           If I am meant to be on some retreat, maybe a silent retreat, if Gambler is somehow meant to flag off the start, then I must receive it even if mists cloud the discernment. I can think of no better way than to load up my prayer cart and go before the Miraculous Image.

          Today is the Feast day of St Francis of Assisi. Tomorrow will be St Faustina’s. I’ve called on both recently. I feel both close by today, yet they are not coming any closer. I turn my heart towards them and ask them to accompany me, to stay by my side, to intercede with me as I lay down my prayer cart and its sorrowful contents before the Lord.

         Gambler. Victims. Madness. Death. I press all into the Heart of Mercy.

Close to the Ground

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……let simplicity and humility be the characteristic traits of your soul. Go through life like a little child, always trusting, always full of simplicity and humility, content with everything, happy in every circumstance. There, where others fear, you will pass calmly along, thanks to this simplicity and humility. Remember this, …. for your whole life: as waters flow from the mountains down into the valleys, so, too, do God’s graces flow only into humble souls.   ~ Entry 55, Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, St Maria Faustina Kowalska

          Humility has never been my strong point. I don’t know if having been put down so severely so often in more than thirty years of my early life with my birth family has anything to do with it.

          But whatever my old sorrows, God never allows a tearing unless it is willed for some reason.

          And what if, this reason was for humility?

          Although I expand great efforts to soar the skies, even I must admit that humility is often comforting. For one, it takes away from me the stress of having to burnish myself and my efforts with some form of allure. I do not need to care about what others think of me; I can leave them to their thoughts in peace.

          Humility takes away the many ruts and tangles that come with the seeking of respect, recognition and adulation. It smoothens out the many wrinkles and ripples that mark any life of worldly seeking.

          The view from the ground is different from any other. The times I have been here, I’ve seen life in a way I couldn’t from high up some perch. I saw the poor and the forgotten. I saw the broken and the wounded. I saw beauty in what the world scoffs at.

          Humility removes the inner mountains which obscure our view of God. It is the water from Heaven that cleanses our soul because it rids the spirit of strongholds that do us no good. 

          It has the subtle power to draw us away from the squalor of worldly dictates towards simple joys and an unfettered spirit.

          Because humility helps us to see what really matters and what doesn’t.

         

 

 

Jesus, Take Them.

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          I entered August without a prayer direction for the month. I was not consciously anxious. I knew it would come. Nonetheless, never one to wait for the Lord in patience, I went a-digging in search of the August guide for the skies of my heart.

          The digging unearthed nothing. But the prayer came. And it came from the last place I’d have thought to look into.

          It came from the occult.

          It began with a change in a work colleague.

          She had never been a hard worker; in fact, diligence was lost on her. She did what she had to, and she did it with bad grace. While I despised her attitude towards work, it was hard not to acknowledge the good in her – namely that she never participated in gossip; no matter how alluring the temptation, she always stuck to the facts.

          Given to bouts of cheeriness and loud, hearty laughter, over a period of two weeks, this young woman began to morph into something else. I began to see a roughness in attitude. Her disregard for good work hardened into a darkness that had not been there before. Then, came the harshness. Small annoyances set her off. She dealt harshly with others over minor infractions. There was unfairness in her dealings where there was none before.

          It could easily have been a mood change, personal stress or any number of things. But I was in no mood to be charitable when this dark change widened its circle and caught me in its web and stung me. I began to seethe with rage over her harshness and unfairness towards innocent people. I was angry that she did so little, yet complained so much.

          For a couple of hours, I stewed in the pot this woman had lit the fire for. Then, as I climbed the stairs to return to my office, an angel stood before me. I didn’t see, nor did I sense his presence, but I know he had stood there blocking my ascent, because suddenly, I was lifted out of my anger. From out of nowhere, this woman and her nastiness assumed the form of a Cross. The minute I saw the Cross, I was overcome with awareness that I had chosen not to love the Cross.

          Help me to love my Cross, I breathed in prayer. Help me to suffer this so I may pray for her.

          From there, things took off.

          Within brief minutes of that prayer, it came to me that this sudden change in my colleague began about two weeks ago, and it had its starting seeds with her challenging the occult. There had been a serious family situation involving the occult, and when my colleague got wind of it, she went on the offensive against it.

          When this knowledge was placed before me, my heart stared at it. For the life of me, I didn’t know what to do about it. My colleague is a Muslim. Occultism, dabbling in the dark spirits, entreating its help, shamanism, all these are very much a part of the Muslim faith as it is practiced here. It’s not encouraged openly, neither is it prohibited.

          To tell her I suspected that she had been hexed the day she confronted the occultists over that family matter, would be to drive her into the netherworld of a shaman who would have what she believed could rid her of the hex. Because Muslims do not believe that prayers can rid them of this; only that a Muslim shaman can.

          By golly, I’m not sold on that. One does not fight the dark with darkness.

          As I pondered the matter, the words – dark, rough, heavycame before me. I brought up the issue of hexing with another colleague, and she too began to share of her experience with it. With no contribution from me to influence her testimony, she spoke of uncharacteristic heaviness. She spoke of a deepening darkness.

          Dark. Rough. Heavy.

          At that minute, I saw something in our own lives. An oddity. My husband and I had recently perceived a strange roughness and heaviness. We both felt like something odd and rough and heavy had slipped in and settled in. But we had dismissed the discerning, forsaking it for the security of logic.

          Suddenly, it became clear what I had to do. My beleaguered colleague had no need of a shaman any more than I did. Although I knew Jesus and she didn’t, I knew His Blood was all I needed and she needed.

          So, I prayed the Blood of Christ to flood our hearts, our lives, anything that had been affected by the occult.

          The very minute I pleaded the Blood of Christ, the roughness and heaviness we had been personally experiencing, disappeared. Even my taciturn husband acknowledged it. Greatly heartened, I went before the Sacred Heart to pray for my colleague.

          And I was led to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy of Cracow, Poland.

          I was led to the 24-hour online transmission from the chapel where the miraculous image of Merciful Jesus and the tomb of St. Faustina is found.

          I’ve read of such live streaming before, but none has ever fallen straight and deep into my heart as this one did. My spirit lunged for it.

          That night, the angels placed my spirit before the Miraculous Image in Poland. And I placed my friend before the image. The next day, I actually forgot all about my prayer for her. At work, I found this lady back to her old cheeriness. Gone was the viper’s spit. Feeling relieved, I cast it out of my mind and went about my busy day.

          It was hours before it suddenly dawned on me that it was Jesus who had reached into her and taken the poison out.

          On the Feast of Our Lady of Snows today, I know this is to be my August call. To go before the Miraculous Image, to place hearts and spirits and souls before it.

          To plead that Jesus take them. That heart. That spirit. That soul. And free them from the houses they are attached to.

          To take captive for the Courts of Heaven.

         

 

 

LENT 18 ~ A COMING

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          Since the dream of coming waters, I have been mulling the call I heard: Prepare . As the dream showed an impending trauma for my town and community, I often wondered what kind of a preparation I was being called to. Spiritual, certainly, but physical? Probably, but to what extent? Although it should have been pretty obvious, it wasn’t to me. For some reason, every time my mind traced the word, Prepare , I sensed a veil mist over the word.

          And I wondered why.

          I had been slowly working my way through St Faustina’s Diary – Divine Mercy in My Soul, reading a page or two every day. Every single time I opened the book to read, there would be an answer to a question I would have been thinking about just before. It has happened every single time.

          And Sunday was no different. I accompanied my husband on a quick grocery errand late that evening, but opted to stay in the car to keep out of his way as he scuttled around in the mart. My thoughts dwelling on the word, Prepare, and praying for lost and dying souls, I opened the Diary to entry #625:

          In the evening, when I was praying, the Mother of God told me, Your lives must be like mine: quiet and hidden, in unceasing union with God, pleading for humanity and preparing the world for the second coming of God. ~ St Faustina, Diary, #625

          Preparing. It seared through me. Caught my spirit. I tried to read on but something held my eyes focused on the entry.

          Only then did I see the words I’d just read: For the second coming of God .

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          I thought of the dream again. A coming sorrow. A terrible fear for some, resulting in panic, minds closed to reasoning. Reacting to the fear by fleeing to seek refuge in structures built on sand.

          Prepare them for the second coming of God.