ST FRANCIS DE SALES

Lent 31 ~ When the Road Ends

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          Oh what remorse we shall feel at the end of our lives, when we look back upon the great number of instructions and examples afforded by God and the Saints for our perfection, and so carelessly received by us!

If this end were to come to you today, would you be pleased with the life you have led this year?   

~  St Francis de Sales

Do Not

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Make it your rule never knowingly to say what is not strictly true.   ~   St. Francis de Sales

 

          A struggle from yesterday. And yet it is not a new one. It is a struggle I’ve known since my earliest memory. It is not the struggle against deceitful lying. It is the struggle of every adult survivor of narcissistic personality disorder abuse.

          It is the struggle against saying words and offering gestures that do not come from the heart, but uttered and done only to placate and appease.

          Words and gestures rooted in fear of an oppressor.

          Although this old fear has not made a captive of me yet, I can already sense its shadows inching closer. This time, it’s changed tactics. It is attacking me through one of my children. My child is being bullied by the daughter of a bully at my workplace.

          It is indeed no joke when they say the apple does not fall far from its tree!

          I gently but firmly counsel my daughter to put her heart in Christ’s. To resist fear and to step away from the shadows of a narcissist. As she obeys and struggles, as a mother, I want to further protect her.

          I want to appease the bully-mother – in the hopes that my child would be left alone. But knowing it is wrong, that it in itself will be the beginning of another hell, I resist.

          And yet, I struggle against this, because I see my child hurting and I want it to stop.

          Late in the evening yesterday, as the moans of the winds crested the hills, a blue kingfisher perched awhile on a fir branch. I’ve seen kingfishers everywhere around our property, but never on the firs. This one stayed there long enough for me to note its presence and to know in my heart that it was a sign.

          To ask a silent, Why? because whenever the kingfisher catches my heart, I know it is St. Francis of Assisi’s call to me to Quieten Down, Listen Up.

           I have my answer today – from another St. Francis.

Make it your rule never knowingly to say what is not strictly true.

          I understand his words. Do not lie to put the Beast at ease.

 

 

 

 

Wildflower Whispers

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          There are some days and weeks that take more out of us than we have to give. They pull and tug and scrape out what little patience and energy we carry within us, to the point of near depletion. We are left slumped on the floors of earth, willing for the sun to rise right again, to radiate and illumine the soreness to hopeful joy once more. With our tired hearts angled towards the windows of the world, we await those healing goldbeams. 

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          And come to us they do, these mysterious healing rays, yet, not always are they seen for what they are. Hope and light and refreshment do not always come in instantly recognizable packages of pomp and gaiety. Often, they are like wildflowers, shy maidens peeking through the bossier blades of grass. They come unannounced. Unexpectedly. They wrap their gentle tendrils around wilting spirits, whispering light and life back into brokenness.

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          A dew diamond can come through a timely wisdom pearl dropped into a tired heart. This week, for me it was -…..bring your heart back and put it beside Our Lord…. by St Francis de Sales, through Nancy Shuman’s beautiful post, Visiting My Dry Garden. In that dewy moment, the Lord had me see I had strayed beyond the pasture gate, taking with me only my will. He gently drew me away from the scratch and tear of worldly busyness. He gently led me to His Word, nestled in the hiddenness of holy seeking.

          Through the weave of a hundred moments lived through this week, I once again saw that life is an ebb and flow of success and failure. Of satisfaction and disappointment. Of blooming and wilting. No pilgrim soul ever escapes that. Yet, for so many of us, with the intensification of wilting, comes a restlessness of seeking that leads out beyond the pasture gate. We stray further and further away from moment-by-moment communion with the Lord. We go on the strength of our own will.

          It’s not always due to willful obstinacy; in my case this week, it was spiritual forgetfulness in the rush to meet deadlines and to get work done. Busyness and distraction are echoes that reverberate in far too many lives, day after dry day, leaving in its wake, a desert of wilting of spirits. 

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          But the God of Mercy is not one to stand by and watch us drift down paths not willed. Even on the busiest highways of life, Heaven erects signposts and rest stops to halt our descent. Strains of an old hymn, loving counsel, a rebuke even. One line in a book of thousands. An accident, an emergency surgery. A tragedy.

          Each call from heaven a wildflower whisper of light and healing, not always seen nor valued in the crowd of grass, yet, parting the blades in our lives, in a gentle reminder to bring our hearts back and put it beside Our Lord.

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