St Joseph

Lent 13 ~ The Saint to Call On

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“Jude is my favorite of all the saints,” he says. “Patron saint of lost causes. The saint to call on when all hope is gone. The one in charge of miracles.”   ~  Jandy Nelson

 

          My country needs a miracle. As my heart scans the undulating sand dunes stretched out before me, I see no hope for my land. We have seen the government we voted in shockingly stolen from us. The sordid past once again occupies the seats of power and authority. Everything we fought for is gone. And yet, each day, we seem to lose more and more. And more. Corruption is rife. Money buys loyalty.

          I know the importance of hope, but there is none left in me to summon.

          Heart aching for my country, I consecrate her to St. Joseph. Please save my land, St. Joseph, I pray. Every fibre of my being wants to give up and to leave this country and start a new life somewhere else, but I’ve never run away and won’t start now.

          I call out to the night for hope. I seek and call, over and over. Please give me hope, I beg of heaven.

          Then, someone strikes a match in the dark.

Patron saint of lost causes.

The saint to call on when all hope is gone.

The one in charge of miracles.

St Jude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flock of God

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Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.   ~   1 Peter 5: 2 – 4

 

          The past ten days or so have been an eye opener. Taken into inner sanctums – both mine and of others – they were journeys I’d rather not have gone on, canyons and caves I’d rather not have seen. Because there’s nothing nice in discovering you have far less patience and tolerance than you previously imagined. That despite the uncountable afflictions of so many years and the multitude of lessons learned from them, your capacity for suffering is still pea-sized.

          That your first response when the fire hits is a fire far worse – never mind all the things the Lord has taught you about fleeing to His Holy Wounds for cover.

           Yet, if I am to be completely honest with myself, I have to admit that the struggle this time fell into a light different from old before’s. I was so tired from the nonstop running around, from the plotting and planning, from navigating difficult people whose sole focus in life is to muddy and rut up the path even more for others. I thought I would break from being stretched so taut and thin.

          I thought there’d never be an end to the ground breaking and rising up before me.

          Yet,

every time I thought I needed a quiet moment to sob and weep out the hurt and frustrations,

every time I wanted to just lie down and forget it all for wee minutes,

every time I tried to shut the world out to gather myself back to form,

a hidden being held my shoulders and bade me rise. Each time, he told me, Come, we have to move.

          Each time, rage geyser-ed within me over the immaturity and irresponsibility of my subordinates, the strong presence put up his hand and stayed my pyroclastic flow of emotional ash and lava, saying,

Come, we have to move

         Ferocious headache. Equally ferocious tic in my eyelid like never before.

Come, we have to move

          No rest. No respite.

          Yet, each time someone stuck out a foot and I tripped, this being was always there to keep me from falling. Each time the ground opened up beneath me, a bridge of wisdom would spring up a solution out of nowhere.

          No delusions were allowed me, for my spirit knew him. It was my St. Joseph. All this while the Discerner of my dreams. Now, the Saint of my journey through Egypt. Firm, calm, wise. Come, we have to move.

          Today, the winds outside my home rise in an urgent chorus. My avian friends scatter their melodies through the spaces in the wind~notes. Only a single kingfisher braves the thrashing boughs, staying long enough to firm his message to me, Listen! The winds speak!

          For once, my spirit is quiet and attentive, guided to this Saturday of Mary by Her Gentle Spouse, Joseph. Arriving here, the words of heaven find their way to me.

Tend the flock of God in your midst,
overseeing not by constraint but willingly,
as God would have it, not for shameful profit but eagerly.
Do not lord it over those assigned to you,
but be examples to the flock.

          Each line is heaven’s silver arrow, piercing the resolutions formed in the waters of hurt and fear, in response to the wounds suffered this week, hidden within the folds of my heart. As I finally lay my ears against the call of the winds, John Greenleaf Whittier’s words return to me,

Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing…
I watch the shaken elm boughs…

Between the passing and the coming season,
This stormy interlude
Gives to our winter-wearied hearts a reason
For trustful gratitude

 

          A reason for trustful gratitude. Only then, does my heart open to receive the closing verse,

And when the chief Shepherd is revealed,
you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Winds of March

Dave Sandford, Lake Erie

Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
Under the sky’s gray arch;
Smiling I watch the shaken elm boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March.   John Greenleaf Whittier

 

          This has been a truly severe few weeks. If I thought 2019 was a tough year, it is nowhere near the incredible stress that has manacled almost every day since January.

          I came to Wednesday this week, worn to the bone. Incredibly, it is only February. An unbelievable number of deadlines to be met in the coming days, so much work already done, yet seemingly not a dent in that towering mountain before me.

          Late last year, heaven had sent me a belated Christmas gift in the sudden transfer of my boss. Life had become increasingly difficult under him. Job change or early retirement not being an option for me, I was glad indeed to see him go. Still, there was no remedy for the anxiety I felt about who would replace my old boss. I couldn’t help but be anxious that it’d be someone worse – based on past experience.

          From where I was, looking over the landscape of the coming months, despite my resolve to be brave and not cave in to despair, all I saw then were the endless weave of sand dunes beneath an unrelenting sun.

           Then, remembering the sign from the end of January, before daybreak of this 1st Wednesday of February, I went to St. Joseph and laid down my heart before him. I was so tired but there was still so much to do. I wanted to hope for good things, and if it wasn’t the good that I was imagining, I wanted to be brave and strong.

          Late that evening, with the primrose yellow evening sun peering determinedly over my shoulder, I received news of our new boss. What little we knew of him offered scant hope. With that last rung broken, I was completely emptied of myself. So, I gave myself up to St Joseph. Please help, I whispered. Boss. Deadlines. The rest of this year. The years left till my retirement. Please help, St. Joseph, I whispered as I rested all my burdens at his feet.

          It was night when St Joseph gently slipped my weary heart an unexpected gift. Some weeks before, I had received a beautiful gift from a dear friend, Sue Shanahan, of 2 precious and gorgeously illustrated books written by Susan Branch. I had been slowly working my way through the first book, The Fairy Tale Girl, and I had come to the final few pages. It was winter and in the book, the author had left her home in California for some months of respite from pain and sorrow, on Martha’s Vineyard. She was exchanging grief for uncertainty, yet looking also for hope and peace. I felt my heart go with her on that plane ride from California, knowing what I know now what she hadn’t known then: that her life was about to change forever. That awaiting her was truly the peace and hope she yearned for.

          What I hadn’t known was that something was waiting for me too.

          At the end of the book, on that final page, were the stirring lines from a poem,

Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
Under the sky’s gray arch;
Smiling I watch the shaken elm boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March.  

          The words the wind of March sheared through my heart with a suddenness that took my breath away, tumbling a brook of silver~joy into the wearied gullies. The wind of March. My tired spirit was thrust high into the skies of sudden hope. March! The month of spring. Of the Feast of the Annunciation. Of news we tremulously await as a family.

Of St Joseph!

          Winds! The one element vested with certain power to still my spirit. No matter how I am feeling, the call of the winds possesses a power only heaven can bestow, to quieten the squalls in my spirit, to raise it in freeing joy. True to form, just the mere sight of the words wind of March, roused my spirit to an anthem of joyful hope.

Something in March

Something in March

Something’s coming in March

my spirit pranced about in giddy glee.

          Nothing definitive was revealed to me that Wednesday night. Nothing about my new boss nor his leadership. Nothing of how the months ahead, the years even, are going to be.

         And yet,

Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
Under the sky’s gray arch;
Smiling I watch the shaken elm boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March

spoke a secret to my heart.

          And then the folds of my heart closed tight upon that secret, resolutely sealing its knowledge from me, until the time of illumination.

Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
Under the sky’s gray arch;
Smiling, I watch the shaken elm-boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March.

Between the passing and the coming season,
This stormy interlude
Gives to our winter-wearied hearts a reason
For trustful gratitude.

Blow, then, wild wind! thy roar shall end in singing,
Thy chill in blossoming;
Come, like Bethesda’s troubling angel, bringing
The healing of the Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look At Me, Dearest

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          It has been a busy week at home, but away from work, it’s been very pleasant, the winds in a wild dance each day. As the crossing winds sang and chattered with one another above us, we tended to our dailies.

          Still, a tiny voice in my heart asked, Where is my Christmas joy? The little trickle of joy from a few months back had fallen still. All was quiet within me, the little bells of joy suddenly hidden from my spirit.

          3 days ago, before I slept off, I mentally traced a cross on each of my ears, asking God to speak to me.

          Then, I dreamed.

          On a brightly lit night in town, I was working, heading somewhere, intently pushing my new car. Turning to look back, I saw my children huddled together outside a building, worry in their eyes as they watched me leave them.

          As I pushed my car, I glanced inside at the dashboard screen. I saw the indicators for the various functions.

          And all the indicators showed that the power was dropping and dropping fast. Desperate to complete the job I had to do, I pushed harder, the distance between me and my frightened children increasing.

          Unfortunately, soon, the power in every part of the car depleted and the car came to a dead stop. I desperately tried to restart it but the battery was dead.

          For some reason, I couldn’t just backtrack and return to my kids. I needed to get my job done. Frantically, I calculated how much time I needed to get to wherever it was that I was going and to make the return trip to collect the kids, but I realised it would take far too long. The kids would be all alone and not safe.

          Sobbing, I whipped out my cellphone to call my husband but I knew he was at least 3 hours away. The car was dead. My husband couldn’t get to us in time. And I was too far away from my poor kids. The anguish was too much.

          The dream ended and I awakened, immediately alert, the dream very clear. But although I was upset and sobbing in the dream, I woke up completely calm. Nevertheless, the dream didn’t make sense. It wasn’t like me to neglect the children, to leave them alone and in danger. And why on earth was I pushing the car and not driving it?

          I wanted to dismiss the dream but guilt and fear kept it before me in my waking hours. What if it was pride in myself as a mother making me want to ignore the dream? What if I wasn’t as committed to them and as vigilant as I assumed I was? Maybe it pointed to the future. Maybe I was going to make a work related decision that would ultimately hurt my family.

          Mentally, I vowed to myself that no matter how enticing, I would not accept any promotion or new job offer that would put my family in second place.

          But a caution within me warned me against leaning against my own interpretation of the dream. It was the first Wednesday of the last month of the year, so I hurried to St. Joseph’s door. St. Joseph, I prayed, Discerner of Dreams, tell me what my dream means.

          He didn’t speak immediately but I never left him and continued to pray.

          Late in the evening, standing at my window, contentedly looking out at the bloom blessed garden and listening to the winds chuckle and sing, my dream flashed before me. Then, a quiet voice spoke,

Burnout

          Burnout!! I was stunned! It wasn’t what I expected, and yet … it made immediate sense. The signs were all there. The exhaustion. The mental fog. The slow recovery.

          St. Joseph’s answer had an unexpected effect on me where little else worked. I immediately put the brakes on myself. I slowed down a little. I listened harder to the winds in the trees, trying to make out the words to their song. To enjoy it.

          For 3 days, even as I cared for my family as any wife and mother would, I trained my heart on enjoying them. But another question soon peaked up at me. How long before I return to what I am? How long before I return to that worn road of relentless pressure? To that of guilt, guided by the accusing voices of old which continue to live somewhere near?

         So often, far too often, responsibilities overtake and overwhelm me. But even when they do not crook their finger at me, I’m never far from the workwheel, troubling what doesn’t need to be troubled with.

          Because guilt is always near when I am at rest. Seeking to remind me of who I really am – as others from my past assert over me. And it is those voices that spur me to my feet, telling me that rest is not for me, that whatever others do, I must do more, eschewing help – because I didn’t need that help; I was merely choosing the easy way out.

         That is why, as depicted in the dream, I am pushing a car which others in my place would have driven. In much of my doing, I choose the harder road – and not always because it needs to be so. I do not always accept the help I’m given. Guilt makes that choice for me.

         Guilt hovers close, reminding me that if I chose otherwise, I would not be loved.

         How long before I return to what I am? Not long. For that is a snare that never needs to hide itself. Then the cycle of madness and knocking on heaven’s door seeking for help, resumes. That is life as I know it, as it will always likely be.

         The skies change their robes. The rain clouds gather once more, making their way towards us, and the sun goes into hiding.

         But the winds toss their airy heads and carry on. If anything, the winds frolic more, deep in throes of ecstatic glee. The gathering rain does nothing to hold them back. I hear the winds laugh harder amongst the evergreen boughs, in gay abandon.

         In some newfound joy!

         On this final First Friday of a fast aging year, I return to my promise of atonement and reparation. It is then that I hear the most tender of Voices.

          I hear love. Love as never before.

          And I hear the words,

Look at Me, dearest

 

 

 

 

I Forgive Myself

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O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most Loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach you while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us.

 

          3 years ago, I opened up about my work troubles, about 3 specific people, to a stranger. He had posted something on a forum earlier and when I read it, I had found strength to go on. So, I wrote to let him know and to thank him.

          Some months later, he wrote to me once more and told me about a St. Joseph novena he had said for workplace woes. It had brought amazing results for him. He had a feeling I would have need of it too.

          I certainly did. St Joseph had been coming to me in the days before so when I saw the prayer, I knew it was for me. I was in deep suffering then due to the 3 vicious bullies. So, I plunged myself into the St. Joseph prayer.

          At the end of the 9 day novena of it, I too received ‘results’. However, it was not the sunny outcome I had hoped for. Instead, something akin to satan’s whip lashed me and I suffered for it.

          But I experienced 3 miracles as a direct result of that novena. I saw my own sin and for the first time and acknowledged it. God gave me His strength to carry my cross of hurt and humiliation. Mother Mary came silently one morning and gave me hope.

Sight

Strength

Hope

          It’s been 3 years since that day. One of the three has been spectacularly removed from our company. It left behind 2 wound-ers – a superior and the other, a female colleague. For a while, despite the neverending woundings, life went on.

          But yesterday, I responded to a minor situation with the female colleague, in a way I’m not proud of. It was a small thing and yet, I wish I could have done things differently.

          I was upset with that person. I was now also upset with myself for my reaction. Worse, the incident brought back memories of rusted knives and forced me to face the towering mountain of old hurts caused by this woman. This is something I try not to revisit because the pain is bad and it makes my cross that much harder to bear.

          Yet, here it was again. And I wept at the seeming futility of it all. 20 years of suffering, almost a year of enduring this specific type of cruelty. And no end in sight. At the same time, so much learning on how to endure in Christian faith, so many prayers and yet I didn’t seem to be spiritually progressing. I wasn’t scaling the mountains before me. I was still stumbling over roots.

          Friday yesterday was supposed to be my Friday of atonement and reparation. God gave me one chance and I flubbed it spectacularly.

          I alternated between crying out to heaven and clubbing myself. I asked for the woman to be consoled. But I asked that no consolation be given me.

          Late at night, before turning in for the day, I went to my prayer nook.

          The grinning Angel was waiting with a prayer for me. It was the old St. Joseph prayer of 3 years ago.

O St. Joseph whose protection is so great, …

          I was more than a little taken aback. What a time for this prayer to reappear, when  work is becoming a problem again.

          This morning, another Mother Mary Saturday, I beseeched Her aid but I didn’t know what I should be asking for. Reading the Readings of the day, I begged Her to speak to me through them. At the end, no breeze swept by my waiting heart.

          Undeterred, I went to my prayer nook for the prayer of the day.

          Imagine just how I felt to see the same St. Joseph prayer peeking back at me! In all my years of visiting this nook, I have never drawn the same prayer on consecutive days.

          Suddenly, I was alert. Something was up. To come on Friday and then Saturday, it was a sign for me that both Jesus and Mother Mary were asking for this prayer to be said. From the chest of millions of prayers, They were asking for this one.

          So, I recited it once more, sealing my heart to each line, yet not expecting anything beyond that I should be obedient to the call.

          And this time, this second time, my heart saw a line I did not quite see yesterday.

St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us.

          I didn’t know what to do, what to think.

          So, I rose and left the house to run some errands. It was a beautiful golden blue day, the gentle,  sun~blessed breezes bringing sweet notes of birdsong to my heart. As I drove, happily watching the green trees run past, it became very clear just what I needed of Mary.

          Mother, take my sin of yesterday.

Take this garment of mine, the how’s and why’s of it.

Take it to Jesus.

Plead not on my behalf but let Jesus judge me fully and completely.

Then, bring me back His judgement.

Let it pierce me, really pierce me.

Let nothing stand between His Word and this piercing.

          I stood and waited.

          A tiny vine uncurled itself.

I forgive her.

          I did not even pause to think. Neither did I have to tie myself to it. Immediately, I said the prayer, the words coming straight from my heart.

I forgive her

          I discerned no change in me. No light, no sunburst, no burden lightened. But like the passing green trees, I let it go, not pausing to seek a reward for praying. I forgive her, I said once more, ready to say it over and over.

          But before I could repeat it, the tiniest of roses, a pink one, misted before me.

I forgive myself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lent 16 ~ Form Their Hearts

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For any parent who intimately knows the struggle to raise our children right

O glorious St. Joseph, to you God committed the care of His only begotten Son amid the many dangers of this world. We come to you and ask you to take under your special protection the children God has given us. Through holy baptism they became children of God and members of His holy Church. We consecrate them to you today, that through this consecration they may become your foster children. Guard them, guide their steps in life, and form their hearts after the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

St. Joseph, who felt the tribulation and worry of a parent when the child Jesus was lost, protect our dear children for time and eternity. May you be their father and counselor. Let them, like Jesus, grow in age as well as in wisdom and grace before God and men. Preserve them from the corruption of his world, and give us the grace one day to be united with them in Heaven forever.

Amen.

 

 

 

Lent 15 ~ A Shifting

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          A year ago, in the week before Lent 2016, I dreamt of a coming flood. A terrible, terrible rush of angry, filthy, muddy water. And the word given to me later by St Joseph, the Discerner of Dreams, was – Prepare. This call was repeated a few short months later.

          Since then, though I’ve often pondered it, I’ve not been told about a flood again. No more dreams of such a thing, either. Still, that didn’t keep me from wondering, What kind of a flood was it? From a terrible rain? A sea surge? An earthquake leading to a tsunami?

Or a spiritual flood of some sort, as many are speculating as well?

          Yesterday, I received an email from a humble, loving and deeply devout lady. She had reason to recall my old dream – she had been recently hearing of people once more having premonitions of a tsunami.

          I had nothing much to offer in my reply to her; there had been no recent stirring of my spirit in this regard.

          But as I ended my reply, I told her,

We must stay close to prayer. I am sensing a shifting.

          I don’t know where that came from. And I didn’t think much of it either as I sent off the email.

          Only today has it come to me that a tsunami is caused by a displacement of a large amount of water.

          Displacement.

          A shifting?

 

 

LENT 30 ~ When Shadows Fall

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          In recent weeks, I’ve been sensing a call to be less dismissive of unease that has seemingly no discernible source. Holding tight to the first part of 1 John 4:1 ~ Do not believe every spirit, and trying to not wing off like a nervous bird at the slightest frisson of alarm, I have, unwittingly, been damping down some of the Spirit’s promptings by averting my spiritual sight from some red bells of warning.

          Thankfully, an incident over the weekend taught me the importance of holding the rest of that verse close to heart – …but test the spirits to see whether they are of God..

          I travelled with some people to a destination some hours away over the weekend. On our way there, we tried a new route that took us through sparsely populated farm and forested lands. It was the kind of route that I loved for its quietness and lush vegetation, and the odd cow that strayed right up to the roadside.

          Yet, the very moment we hit the route, a shadow fell across my spirit. It gripped me with a darkening urgency. I wondered if it was an omen of something ahead, and prayed for the Blood of Christ protection on all of us, and on my family too.

          But the anxiousness didn’t let up.

          Puzzled, I scanned the passing landscape for any danger. I didn’t see anything, but my spirit sensed an odd, unsettling stillness. It wasn’t the peace that surpasseth understanding, for sure. There were signs of life, as in open doors and laundry drying in the morning winds, but not a soul did I see. This being a poor small-farm community, there ought to have been the usual sight of children in the deeps of play.

          But I saw no one. People were living there, and yet, there was no life in that community.

          Still, unwilling to cloud a beautiful day of golds and greens, I tried to pin this unease on something else.

          It only worsened.

          Finally, I sought St Joseph, and asked him to tell me where this was coming from. I didn’t hear an actual answer, but it felt as if I was beginning to see more and more of that odd absence of life in every homestead we passed. I had a feeling that my prayer was being answered: something was not right in the place we were passing through. I sought St Joseph again. Please tell me what to do.

          I received no answer.

Is there danger ahead? Silence.

Do you wish us to never pass through here again?

An immediate lifting of the darkness. Instantly.

          By then, we had reached the end of the route, and turned onto the busy highway. The unease never came back. But I never forgot it. All through my weekend away, I thought about it.

          Our business done some days later, we headed back home. I told our group leader about what had happened. He agreed that our route that day had taken us through some lonely areas. He agreed we should not take the same route back but to go by the busy freeway. Since we were not all from the same home area, we split into several groups, and I found myself in a very small group.

          On our way home, one of our small group fell violently ill, and proceeded to be sick several times more along the way as dusk rushed to embrace night. Each time necessitated emergency stops for clean ups by the road. We finally reached home weary but safe and sound.

          It was only a day later that I suddenly realized that had we returned by that same route we took going on out on the trip, we would have been stopping along extremely deserted roads, in the gathering night veils, in a place where spirits did not rest easy.

          Heaven only knows what we had been saved from.

          These are times that call for caution and prudence. It is wisdom to not dismiss, but to put everything to the test.

LENT 14 ~ The Press of Water

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Photo credit ~ James Fahy

          The week before Lent began, I had a dream about a coming water. A violent rush of taint and filth. People in another part of the town heard of its impending arrival, and they made haste to flee. Flee , they told me too. But I refused.

          For hours later, I pondered the dream. Dismiss or delve deeper? I sought the counsel of the Discerner of Dreams, St Joseph.

Then, it came :

PREPARE

 A week later, after night Rosary, a deepening of meaning :

A coming cleansing to pave the way for a Promised Land on earth.

          Some days into Lent, came the call to immerse lost and dying souls into the waters of Lourdes, and later I was given to understand that the waters of Lourdes were the Tears of the Holy Mother.

A pretty deep press of water into my soul this Lent thus far. Then, they knitted together:

Prepare for a coming cleansing by immersing lost and dying souls in the Tears of the Heavenly Mother.

LENT 3 ~ Shadow in the Watchtower

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          Today, someone made me relive an old sorrow, wanting to know of every valley and crevasse traversed, moving from dark to light. There was a strange uneasiness in me over the request. The asking seemed innocent enough, but I sensed a shadow attach itself to it. 

          I shook it off, and with will, returned my gaze to the need at hand.

          With reluctance, I undertook the journey to where an old grief rests, not relishing the dusting off of mists that separate me from the sadness. When the sojourn into the resting place of memories finally ended, I took my leave, uncomfortably aware of my spirit drooping under a heaviness not familiar to me.

          What dark mist is this that has immersed itself so deep within me, I wondered. It did not come from the reacquainting with pain, of that I was sure. Something else. Something foreign. Something that did not have a right to mark my spirit with its presence.

          It didn’t just sink its claws into me; I soon saw that it had clenched too the seeker of my counsel – the intensity of seeking had waned; something else  had caught her attention. Enticed, she ran to it.

          I turned to my guardian, St Joseph. Help me, I entreated, discern this. Why has it come? What do I do?

          In gentle immediacy, the light of response, borne on a lily-breath flooded my soul:

Write about it.

          And with it, a serenity tendrilled and settled within me.

          I do not have all the answers, but for now, it does not matter. All I sense is that a sinister spirit invaded as someone sought my help to understand trials. It came to smear my efforts with a darkened slant. To blot out the grace of mercy by replacing it with a distraction.

          And in a way only heaven sees, the antidote to this sullen malice is to bring it to brethren eyes. Perhaps to awaken pilgrim spirits to a cognizance of a shadow in the watchtower where mercy is most needed.

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