Geese in the Water


Who in my land can ever forget the week that was, from the 19th to the 24th of November 2022?

          A week of learning the earth-moving lesson that when the call to radical trust comes, one must walk blind. One must pray with the communion of saints for it will be almost impossible to hold on to prayer when the winds are tearing at you, and you will need the saints’ help. One must hope against hope, even as each passing hour brings news upon news, shattering and shattering everything within us.

A week that taught me that when we cross the Jordan, it is the tearing winds that we must beware.

          For these are winds fed by an evil that abhors peace and hope. Each time we give up and give in to disappointment, we feed satan. And each time we feed satan, he raises the winds in violence against us, dashing us upon rocks, till we are no more.

Never feed satan, our angel lays the quiet caution into our hearts.

          Oh, what a week! And the blessed angel led the way forward. Against the winds. Out of the gathering darkness.

          We have crossed the Jordan to safety now, we have finally reached the shores. From days of the most violent of tumults to utter, absolute joy! Spring in Winter. As I close my eyes to draw breath, the old, old words from years back find me once more,

Cross the Jordan and you will find rest     St. Mary of Egypt

          How true!

         And now, il dolce far niente. The sweetness of doing nothing, St. Pio reminds me, his voice the freshness of spring in the gathering of winter’s cold.

          Rest? But there’s so much to do.

          And then, I see.

          The geese are in the water now.

          It is indeed time to rest.

Not Something You Do Alone


Let us charge into the good fight with joy and love without being afraid of our enemies. Though unseen themselves, they can look at the face of our soul, and if they see it altered by fear, they take up arms against us all the more fiercely. For the cunning creatures have observed that we are scared. So let us take up arms against them courageously. No one will fight with a resolute fighter.  ~   St. John Climacus


          Given what has been happening at work as well as its spillover effects, I have reason to fear and worry. Yet, today, seeing St. John Climacus’ words, I wonder if my fear has showed. And if it has fed bully-hearts, emboldened them to further abuse. Because this is not fear as we know it.

          My fear is my floundering faith.

          I think of the two envoys sent to me for these 40 days: St. Pio and St. Michael. Saints associated, particularly, with courage. Courage fed and nourished by the humility of total dependence on God.

          A friend close to my heart gave me these words of advice last night for the 40:

Remember too that when you offer this you are uniting it to Christ.  It is not something you do alone, He lifts you up, so rely on Him and not yourself and He will guide you through it.


It is not something you do alone.

          This is exactly how the old hours were lived. I took on a huge burden of reparation yesterday. I invoked His aid. But then, I let go of His hand and went it alone, into steaming red hours. And they swamped and battered me.

          Today, on the Feast of the Assumption, I begin anew. I bind my heart to Jesus and Mary. If before I failed in humility of absolute dependence on God, I renew my efforts once more. Exactly how I am to accomplish this surrender, I don’t know. But I have St. Pio and St. Michael. I will let them lead.

          Because this is not something you do alone.








Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens the heart of God.   ~   Padre Pio

          On Friday this week, I finally shut the door on work. It was the end of the work week and I wasn’t about to give work free passage through my heart and mind any more. I had Friday night and two glorious days and I fully intended to sink my spirit into the peace of wild things.

          Just after Friday night Rosary, as I was feeling calm and mellowed, Padre Pio came by unexpectedly. And left before my eyes a message that startled me,

Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens the heart of God.

          My spiritual father’s words were a call to battle. Late the hour was, preparing for bed, after a week I never want to see again, the last thing I expected was a rally to fight.

          I decided to be my own holy spirit. I thought I’d just focus on the second part – the key that opens the heart of God. It was more suited to the peace I sought after the rocks and gullies of the past days. I had had my fill of fighting for the week. Fighting for others. Fighting against others.

Fighting against myself.

          I was battle weary. I was done fighting. At least for the weekend, I wanted peace and some rest. Padre Pio or not, I wasn’t going to think about arsenals.

          But St. Pio’s visit lightly troubled me. I felt mildly guilty for pushing his words aside when I had sought his help for an ailing friend recently. At the very least, it seemed rude to ask someone for help, and then to shut the door in his face when he came to visit.

          Instead of going to bed as I had planned, I stayed up a bit to read and calm down again.

          But although I read topics at random, in almost each one, what glowed more than others was the call to love as God loves – through prayer.

To fight through prayer.

To fight to pray.

          I paused and ran my eyes over the recent presses of spirit. Our Lady of Guadalupe had come by a few short days before. For me, whenever She comes to me this way, Mother brings the message of battle. As I pondered it, I knew this time was no different. I was being exhorted to continue the fight.

Ask Me to Bless Them

          That prayer had been the clanging bell that relentless yet gently pursued me all of this week. When I felt strong enough to pray that way. When I wanted to pray in any way but that. It was heaven’s cry to me to fight on.

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death saying:
“This is enough, O LORD!
Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat.

Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered,
“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”
He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.   ~  1 Kings 19: 4 – 8


This is enough, O LORD!
Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.

          That is enough, O Lord were my own words when I wearied of the rigours of the battlefield. When the smoke of emotional tiredness was beginning to curl upwards within my heart. Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers. I hadn’t gone there yet but when answers to prayers were delayed, and evil triumphed and hurts deepened, then I too would most surely head to that broom tree and beneath it lie on my mat of despair.

An angel of Heaven brought Elijah food that nourished and fortified him.

          I felt a stirring within me. Yesterday’s discernment of the presence of birds quietly came before me.


Kingfisher   ~   Listen!

Eagle   ~   Battle!

          Mother Mary sent me her feathered emissaries yesterday to remind me that no matter how desolate and bitter the journey through the blacklands of struggle and battle, She would be the Hand that shakes me awake and that feeds me manna. To nourish me to persevere in the prayers I am called to.

          That guided by Her emissaries, I may walk my forty days and nights to the Mountain of God.





Empty Purgatory

          There is a place where souls mourn and love differently from us. Where the gaze no longer rests on the self but looks out in mercy towards others. It is a place where the yearning to be reunited with God permeates everything, lighting a terrible fire of suffering within all who reside here.

          It is Purgatory. A place which knows a fire-lashed thirst for God that none on earth has ever known.

          God first stirred my spirit to mercy more than twenty years ago through the sufferings of souls in Purgatory. From that old night when I first read of this place and its pain, nothing has been more powerful to take me away from the laments of personal needs and wants. However hard and broken life has been in the ensuing years, the slightest whisper from Purgatory had a power beyond words to make me forget myself in order to wet the parchedness of yearning in souls who can no longer help themselves.

          It was time yesterday to begin my nine day novena to St Padre Pio, to be dressed right for his feast day on the 23rd of this month. But as I turned it over in my mind, it didn’t feel right to petition him for any earthly need of mine. I wondered what my Father Pio would most want of me as a gift for his feast day, woven from nine days of prayer.

          Empty Purgatory, came his answer. 

An Asking of Roses


          I was preparing to go to a shrine early in the morning of the 18th of July, when this picture came to me. It caught my heart, this little girl, so many other things to go to like others her age, but there she was, at a little shrine, intent on giving her Mother a rose. Nothing else mattered to the young one. No storm, no gaiety could force her gaze and spirit away from this sacred deed.

          Yet, my mind remained on the rose the girl in the painting was trying to thread through the statue. I planned to place flowers at the shrine I was going to. I hoped there would be a good choice of blooms because I wanted nothing but the best.

          I thought pink roses would be beautiful.

          About to hurry on to something else, St. Pio quietly came, showed me the Rosary and whispered his old words to my heart, I always pray the Rosary.

          There were to be no rose blooms for my Mother that day. We searched the whole town, only to come up empty. It wasn’t until the journey began that the angels knit together the pearls. Just like the young lass in the painting had given Her, my Mother was asking for a Rose from me too. A rose from my heart.

          And so, I said a Rosary. Rose after rose wreathed through every bend of road framed by wild trees and a morning sky of blues and sun-tinged mists. It was my first with no intentions or petitions attached. Every Hail Mary was my rosebud for the only Mother I ever had.

          Maybe some day, I thought, I would understand why She asked for roses on this day of a thousand memories, when giving is never easy because the heart is empty yet longing.

          Then, a little orange light gently bloomed. It was the saint of the shrine I was going to, who asked for the Rosary. I had wanted to place the best roses at his rest, and he wanted them as much as I wanted to give, except that for him, the very best of roses could only be the Rosary for his Rose of Carmel.

Replace my blood with Yours


          It’s been some days of a growing emptiness within me, despite many sun~tumbled days of happiness and laughter. It hasn’t driven me to the precipice of panic – as it would have before – that heaven has deserted me. I now know enough to know that it is I who does the fleeing – never God. Nevertheless, the vacuum within is mildly unsettling, irritating.

          Because I don’t want this void. I want to be filled with joy. I want that joy~Light to spill and flood every crack and crevice of my heart to the brim. I want to skip sunny steps and twirl and dance in happy abandon.

          Yet, it isn’t the worldly allure I seek. I want the gaiety of spiritual lightness that only the Spirit can bequeath the soul because suddenly, I am tired of worrying and caring. I want to believe that putrid waters will never hit our shores.

          But the Holy Spirit is Wisdom. Its ways not mine. It alone knows what my soul needs.

…don’t be too eager to be set free from your present state. Let the Holy Spirit act within you. Give yourself up to all His transports and have no fear. He is so wise and gentle and discreet that He never brings about anything but good. ~ St Pio

          When my Father Pio’s words sank into me, I slowly understood that this voiding was His work of Mercy. He is emptying me to be filled, I thought. Although I accepted it, being the sinner I am, I was not entirely happy with it. I wished it could have been different. I am all for the infilling. It is the emptying that scrapes unpleasantly at me.

          Suddenly, I remembered a curious incident from the Sunday before. My reading of St Faustina’s Diary – Divine Mercy In My Soul had taken me to:

          …the Blood and Water which came forth from my heart flows down upon your soul and ennobles it. Blood of Jesus, flow through me. Replace my blood with Yours. # Entry 1602

          Blood of Jesus, flow through me. Replace my blood with Yours.

          That prayer ensnared my heart. It was one of those prayers that fell straight into my spirit. I barely understood it, but feeling it was right, I prayed it over and over.

          Some days later, wanting to note down that prayer in my diary, I searched for the paragraph where it was mentioned. I found the paragraph I read. I found everything there except the prayer, Blood of Jesus, flow through me. Replace my blood with Yours.

          The prayer was not there. It was never there.

          Today, in the sun-blessed hours of a whitegold morning, birds in an ecstasy of mad trilling from green arbours, the memory of that mysterious prayer returned. In a pearl~moment, the lights knitted together.

          Replace my blood with Yours. For the Holy Blood to flow and flood me to fullness, I had first to be stripped bare, emptied of mine. That was why, when I chaffed at the emptiness inside, my Father Pio had come to tell me, Don‘t be too eager to be set free from your present state. Let the Holy Spirit act within you.

          Not every inner suffering is a punishment. Neither is it always something to be rid of. My present emptying is the work of the Holy Spirit I had consented to through the prayer, Replace my blood with Yours. Although I didn’t know it then, that prayer was my Yes to the Holy Spirit’s gentle knock on the door of my heart.

          I had opened the door to the Spirit. Now, I must submit to It.

Replace my blood with Yours.

Leaning Against My Father


Dearest Padre Pio,

I’ve come today, to lean against you for others. A son in jail, a son fighting to live. Their mothers bravely and valiantly loving others, carrying their crosses and others’, through every shade of sorrow. Their pain bites deep, my father. No healing balm, no comfort do I have for their wounds, but keep their weeps in you I will, St. Pio, for you dried mine years ago.