TRIALS

Until He Comes

larch-4368344_1280

Without a doubt, obedience is more meritorious than any other penance. And what greater penance can there be than keeping one’s will continually submissive and obedient?   ~  St. Catherine of Bologna

 

          When in doubt, when afraid, when the ground beneath heaves and shakes and cracks, even when angered, seek to obey the Will of God, St Catherine is saying to me. In the uncertainty of today’s news, when the mists swirl so thickly that I cannot make out anything, I know one thing: that I should not be out in the open, for the air is changing. I must retreat into the cave once more and stay there till it is time to come out. 

          Still, ever the inveterate busybody and meddler, I remain outside the cave, straining and trying to discern: is the news good? If so, in what way? But even as I ponder, I know I am where I should not be.

Thy Will for me be done, I pray. 

          I think of the cave and that I must retreat into it. How do I go back in, I wonder? Through the gates of obedience, the thought pops into my head as if in answer. Through the obedience of,

Until I arrive, …
Do not neglect the gift you have,
which was conferred on you …
Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them.

Keep your eyes on the Lord

          All the little lessons of the past weeks that make up the leaves on the tree of faith. I must return to them, that is the way back into the cave of waiting on the mountain of the Lord. And if I should imagine myself alone and without comfort nor company, I must only listen out for the wind, for, The wind is my sign, When the wind blows, know that I am with you, says the Mother of my Lord to me. I grip tighter the hand of Our Lady of Sorrows. Today, She has brought me unexpected news through a letter sent to someone in my organization. Knowing I will suffer in the uncertainty its contents bring, Mother lets me know the date of that letter – 15th of September, Her precious feast. Even if I cannot make out what lies ahead beyond this development, Mother is willing me to trust and wait through the obedience of all Her beloved Son, Jesus, has called me to.

          Till the earth stills and He comes.

 

Take Refuge

cave-4652174_1280

Let us take refuge in the Wound of the Sacred Side, like a poor traveler who seeks a safe harbour in which to shelter from the rocks and tempests of this stormy sea of life, for here below we are continually exposed to shipwreck, unless we have the help of our all-wise Pilot.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Lent 15 ~ Hold On A While

flowers-3130011_960_720

Hold On A While

by Amos Russel Wells

When all the sky is very black
And all the earth is blue,
And all the fiends are on your track
And howling after you;

When courage falls and hope decays
And fair ambition dies,
And all your dreamland is ablaze
Beneath the ebon skies;

When you would fain renounce the goal,
Nor plod another mile,
Oh, straighten up your drooping soul,
And—just—hold on—a while!

Hold on a while! the darkest night
May bring the fairest day.
Hold on a while! the good, the right,
Will always find a way.

Hold on! for is Jehovah dead?
His love an empty song?
Hold on! have heaven’s armies fled
Before the hosts of wrong?

Hold on! for still some strength remains,
Nor yield you till you must;
A newer life may flood your veins;
Born of a larger trust.

A newer life—hold on for that!
A lily from the mud!
The greening peak of Ararat
Emerging from the flood!

The clouds are shattered by the sun;
The earth is all aglow;
Away the howling devils run,
And back to hell they go!

Hold on for that! Do what you can,
Nor prove a craven elf;
For heaven never helped a man
Until he helped himself.

And when your fondest hopes are dead
And fate has ceased to smile.
‘Tis then it pays to lift your head
And—just—hold on a-while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LENT 29 ~ Touching Heaven

5498.jpg

          So often, tired out from my crosses, do I seek heaven in a sunshine-strewn life free of cares and troubled people. My wistful longing for respite from worries and the scratch of human nature makes me search for eternal joys among bursts of blooms and in the green of unblemished landscapes and perfection.

          Yet, looking back on the life I have lived thus far, I cannot escape knowing that the path to heaven is seldom through the ease of a carefree wind dance through green welcomes, gay and bright. While my seeking does indeed take me through pockets of joys and merriment, more often than not, I touch heaven through the rough and painful, through deserts and desolation, for it is then that having need of God, I seek Him in humility and with a fervor, for myself and for others.

It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong than to be unburdened and with the weak. When you are burdened you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience. ~ St. John of the Cross, Sayings of Light and Love

purple-landscape-wallpapers-14[1].jpg

LENT 13 ~ Be Patient In Humiliations

burning-fire-wallpapers-11[1]

          Yesterday was the day for me to burn in someone’s fire. I was asked to bow before someone and to submit to a will not mine and certainly not the Lord’s. Having lived most of my life in that exact same position, and only recently finding the courage not to, I wasn’t about to make another huge knot  that Mother Mary would have to undo all over again.

          So, I silently refused to step into the circle of human homage. And that unleashed the flames on me.

          I suffered in the tirade of thwarted intentions. Over and over, the flames leapt for me. I sat in the heart of it, unable to escape the line of fire. Any prayer thought was snatched away by the relentless flames.

          But by the waning rays of sunset, another, more unfortunate, fire had started in my beleaguered heart. I began to be consumed by fury at the injustice meted out to me. I made some weak stabs at prayer, but a more concerted effort went into planning fire darts to avenge this wrong to me.

          By nightfall, however, I had begun to weary. The anger raged as strong as ever, but this time, my soul fought back, refusing to bend in submission to this sin on my part. It raised a different tempest within me – the tempest of awareness. That tempest took away peace to teach me the consequences of my sin.

          I found that I could bear the searing pain of someone’s fire, but not the loss of peace in my soul. 

          So, I turned my heart determinedly to prayer. One after another, I called at all the harbours I knew, every prayer and bible verse, begging for respite from the storm. I know that no prayer is ever wasted, but I didn’t feel the soothing balm of comfort I sought. Restless and anxious, I learned anew then, the lesson learned over and over by wilful souls – everything in His time, not  ours.

          I ploughed on, nevertheless.

          It was then that I recalled my father, Padre Pio. I thought of his anger, how different it had been from mine. But he had known anger, understood the familiarity of struggling against it. He would know what help I needed to extinguish its wounding flames.

St Pio, help me, St Pio help me, St Pio help me.

          By the closing of the night’s Rosary, the winds died down. But in unfortunate possession of a nature that can seethe on demand, I remained suspicious of the calm.

          Awakening in the morning, these words came, brought on the dew wet breath of dawn ~

Be  patient  in  humiliations.

          Not trials. Not challenges. Not difficulties. But – humiliations. That alone pointed to the heavenly origins of the counsel, because the seed of the firestorm of which I was a victim was the very humiliating  public scourging I was receiving for daring to break ranks, and to stand apart and alone for my faith and principles.

Be  patient  in  humiliations.  Love from the heart of heaven for the storm in mine.

          I pick up my cross again, but this time, with a gentled spirit and a renewed strength.

           sea-girl-girl-heaven-loneliness-expectation-waiting-beautiful[1]