ST FAUSTINA

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.

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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.