Ukraine

Lent 37 ~ Light for the Dark

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          Above all, I beg of you to be always gay, joyful and happy, for this is the true mark of the Spirit of God, Who wishes that we should serve Him in peace and contentment; do not be uneasy or anxious, but do all things with liberty of mind and in the presence of God.   ~  St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

          Holy Week began on a difficult note but today, things deepened without warning and completely knocked me off the hill. I finally broke down at Jesus’ feet, my first time in some weeks.

          Still, I had a feeling I was under some kind of attack. I don’t usually see things in this light but I did today. Because today, having heard of vicious attacks against Ukrainian women and girls, I felt I had to do something. Knowing how packed and busy my day was going to be, I needed to be able to make some kind of a continuous offering, alongside the calls of work. Hence, I decided to offer up as many Hail Mary’s as I could, asking Mother Mary if each bud could in some way be used to save the life of a woman or a girl.

          A few rose~buds in, everything began to unravel. Even minor issues threw me off balance, on and on, snowballing till late afternoon. By late evening, as the humidity of an impending storm singed the sunset hours, I knew I had barely given anything towards so great a need. Hell was being unearthed in Ukraine and here I was, as usual, tripping over far smaller trials. Darkness had seemingly won.

          But someone saw, and someone knew I needed help against whatever was blowing hard against me today.

Above all, I beg of you to be always gay, joyful and happy, for this is the true mark of the Spirit of God, Who wishes that we should serve Him in peace and contentment;

          How do I be this gay, joyful and happy when dark winds rise? I wondered mutinously. How do I not lose the mark of the Holy Spirit? For once, I felt that beloved saint~friend did not have God’s word for me today.

          Just as frustration began to curl into me, I saw it,

…do not be uneasy or anxious,

but do all things with liberty of mind and in the presence of God. 

          On my own, I can do none of the above for I bear no kinship with the serene lotuses of still ponds. The quiet peace of saints continually evades me. But if there’s anything I’ve managed to learn, it is that I can always trust in God to grant me every grace to fill every dry gully of need. What I have need of, He will provide.

          So, back to God’s Heart I went again.

          This time, into Its depths I gave up my darkness. In exchange I took His Light.

Lent 3 ~ Put Your House in Order

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In those days, when Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: “Thus says the LORD: Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.   ~  Isaiah 38: 1

          If there is a verse that can strike terror in hearts, it is this one. I came across it twice yesterday and it was enough to make me beg God not to take my life. Still, I wasn’t quite sure if indeed it was as much a warning of impending death to me as it was to Hezekiah.

Today, pondering what to write in my daily Lenten reflection, put your house in order hovered close by. Out of a slight nervousness, I decided against writing about it. Sometime later, I belatedly realised that since I was on leave at home, I should recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet. As I recited the prayers, I asked God to give me His word and only His word for my post. And then, I sank my heart into my prayers for there was much to pray for. For Ukraine. For one of my children is facing a great test of faith and so are a number of other young people in this country. My job is still hanging in the balance. Another child of ours was sitting for national level exams. Two dear people had heart issues that required major surgery. A colleague from work was praying for a baby. Another person I had just come to know had just lost his baby in a tragic accident.

There was certainly a lot to keep me busy.

Praying the Chaplet, I was led to ponder the Final Wound of Christ – the Wound to His Sacred Heart. I thought of Longinus and what would have possessed him to thrust his spear into Christ’s body, in full view of a suffering Mother Mary and the apostles, all already in the depths of a grief that went beyond words.

Presently, I wiped away the tears that had pricked my eyes, recited the Conversion prayer and then, put away my Rosary. I leaned back, thinking some more about Longinus. As I did, I cast my gaze across spirit, trying to make out God’s word to me for today.

Put your house in order

          I honestly couldn’t believe it. Not that again, I groaned. But this time I sensed a movement.

Put your house in order as a sign of thanksgiving

          And just like that, it all made sense. A couple of days back, I had come across a post from the delightfully named blog, Sophia By the Sea, where the writer had written about a different kind of Lent – not one of deprivation but one of going out and really living life, drawing from that act of deliberate thankfulness blessings which could be offered up for all those in need of it.
For Ukraine
For people in power
For the poor

Put your house in order

          God’s call to me to give thanks for the simple yet beautiful home He has gifted me. One which I love yet do not sufficiently give thanks for. A home to love and to rest in, to care for and to shelter my family in. The home that has held me close to its heart in my joys and in my sorrows, given me comfort and security and taught me lessons for life.

Put your house in order

          In obedience and gratitude, I rose to my feet to give thanks to the God who loves me so much.

I mopped floors
put away laundry
wiped down windows and doors and tables and bedsteads

I put my house in order.

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