Call out to Mary

“O you, whoever you are, who feel that in the tidal wave of this world you are nearer to being tossed about among the squalls and gales than treading on dry land, if you do not want to founder in the tempest, do not avert your eyes from the brightness of this star.  When the wind of temptation blows up within you, when you strike upon the rock of temptation, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary.  Whether you are being tossed about by the waves of pride or ambition or slander or jealousy, gaze up at this star, call out to Mary.  When rage or greed or fleshly desires are battering the skiff of your soul, gaze up at Mary.  When the immensity of your sins weighs you down and you are bewildered by the loathsomeness of your conscience, when the terrifying thought of judgment appalls you and you begin to founder in the gulf of sadness and despair, think of Mary.  In dangers, in hardships, in every doubt, think of Mary, call out to Mary.  Keep her in your mouth, keep her in your heart. Follow the example of her life and you will obtain the favor of her prayer.  Following her, you will never go astray.  Asking her help, you will never despair.  Keeping her in your thoughts, you will never wander away.  With your hand in hers, you will never stumble.  With her protecting you, you will not be afraid.  With her leading you, you will never tire.  Her kindness will see you through.” (Bernard of Clairvaux}

 

You are a zero

One of the Lenten quotes hanging on the walls in our convent:

“Cast away that despair produced by the realization of your weakness.  It’s true: financially you are a zero, and socially another zero, and another in virtue, and another in talent . . . But to the left of these zeros is Christ . . . and what an immeasurable figure it turns out to be.”  (St. Josemaría Escrivá)

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Some things I have learned to do

Reblogged from Mary Ann Morgan:

It was one of those days. I never saw the ledge, but I surely stepped off and fell right into the darkness. I am surprised by these dark days and I am grateful that they are more the exception and not the rule anymore. For a brief period of my life, they were my normal. For a season — an awful season — I found myself swirling, spiraling into the blackness every day.

If this is something you know well, I am so sorry. Here are some things I have learned to do when these days come.

1. Rest. Sometimes I just need to pull back from the stresses of life and rest. Giving myself permission to take a nap or a walk instead of working incessantly can do wonders for me.

2. Remember. This is just a day. This will not last forever. I remember God’s goodness in my life and ask for his perspective. Mine is obviously skewed and I need to know things from his point of view. Counting gifts does wonders for the heart.

3. Reach out. When I am feeling this way, the last thing I want to do is reach out to my friends. I don’t know why we are like this. Maybe pride? Fear? I have to remind myself of the times others have reached out to me in need and how it endeared them to me. We love to help others. Why would I deny someone the joy of being my friend when I need them?

It’s days like this I miss my daddy most. I just want to call him and hear his voice again. “Hey Mary Babe” he would always say. He was always so glad to hear my voice. I loved chatting with him about the flowers. He was a gardener and we shared a love for planting things. He would always tell me what was coming up in his yard. The tulips I planted for him are coming up around my birdhouse now. I just want to tell him about them, “Dad, I planted Tulips for you. They are red, your favorite color.”

I miss my dad, and it’s okay to cry about it. I think I can finally do that.

If you have had a hard day, or a bad week, my heart aches for you. I think we  go through things sometimes just so we can be a better friend to others. Compassion sews threads of kindness into the lives of others. We cannot have it if we have not experienced pain of some sort in our own lives. Know this: God is with you and he loves you dearly. He is present with you and he will give you just what you need. You are not alone. Ever.

Psalm 34:4-7 ~

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
    He freed me from all my fears.
 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
    no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
    he saved me from all my troubles.
 For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
    he surrounds and defends all who fear him.”

Love is on its way . . .

Especially for those in desperation . . . this song by Audrey Assad is for you.  (Lyrics below)  Just reach out your hand . . .

You’ve been let down, it’s true
Your pain is so easy to see
You’re hunted by your history
and it feels like you’ve got no escape

Your life left you high and dry
You used to be sure of yourself
But then your whole world went to hell
and tomorrow looks like just like today

So, you lie on your bed, you won’t let the morning come in
And you hide in your room, feeding that fear and it’s killing you
don’t you know
that it’s killing me too, cause your heart break is breaking you

I miss the life in your eyes
the home that I found in your arms
and now you don’t know who you are
but I won’t give up on you
on no

You lie on your bed, you wont let the morning come in
And you hide in your room, feeding that fear and it’s killing
don’t you know
that i’ts killing me too, cause your heart break is breaking you

and you lost your fight
and your flame’s gone out
and you’re down on your knees
cause your life is not what you thought it would be
no,

lift up your head
help is on the way
and it won’t pass you by
you just gotta reach out your hand
lift up your eyes
love is on the way
and it won’t pass you by
you just gotta reach out your hand

go on and lift up your head
because love is on its way
and it won’t pass you by
you’ve just gotta reach out your hand

Then it may be

“When people are making demands on you and you feel drained and empty; when you have to speak and you have not had the time you wanted to prepare; when God calls you to a task for which you know yourself inadequate; when you feel humiliated and foolish because some undertaking in which you did your honest best has turned out disastrously–then it may be, to your astonishment, someone will tell you that you helped most, did your most fruitful work.  When our ego is humbled and not obstructing, God’s creative Spirit can often have freer play.  Like the bare trees, it may be that we allow the glory to shine through at these times more purely than in our summer prosperity.”  (Maria Boulding)

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Let Him have you

From a letter from Helen Roseveare to a struggling paraplegic friend:

“Going back to your letter-you have said, ‘It’s one thing not to know His purposes for my life, but it’s another matter not to know what He wants of me.’ No, no! That is the next step in the darkness.  We do not have to know anything except that He is El-Shaddai–He is the great Almighty Creator God who loves me and loves you, and in some amazing way, who has chosen us to be part of His program.  He does NOT have to explain to us how or when or in what way. Let Him have YOU, all of you, all your thought processes, all your desperate desire to understand, to know the meaning of this whole protracted process. Stop hankering to know what He is not choosing to explain to you yet.Oh,how relatively easy to write that, but how infinitely harder to put it into practice. Give over to Him the longing for the joy and peace of the past. Just let Him be the ALL for you in the present.”

But always there is hope

 

Jeremiah 18.4,6  And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.  Can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the Lord.  Behold, like the clay in the potter hand, so  are you in My hand.

When a piece of steel has been subjected to such stress that it has lost its power to recover its elasticity, it is said to be distorted.  But it can be made right again.  It is put in the furnace, and so it recovers what it had lost.

Perhaps we have given way under the great stress of temptation and becoming “distorted.”  Perhaps we have lost hope of ever recovering.  “I am like this now; I shall be like this.”

Are we willing to be put into any furnace of God’s choosing if only we may be made fit for His use?  We cannot choose our furnace.  Sometimes it is the furnace of affliction of Isaiah 48.10.

But always there is hope.  Can I not do with you as this potter? asks the Lord.  We are in His hand, and no one can snatch us from His grasp. Our dear Lord says, My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand (John 10.29).

~Amy Carmichael

Where is Christ today?

[A repost from the past]

This is the day when everything is silent.  We can go about the day not giving much of a thought to it–just seeing it as the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Yet monumental things were happening in the spiritual realm.  Christ descended to hell to set captives free.

This still has meaning for us.  So often we think nothing is happening in our own spiritual lives, yet God is about monumental things.  Have hope in the Unseen.

Christ descended into “Hell” and is therefore close to those cast into it, transforming their darkness into light.  Suffering and torment is still terrible and well-nigh unbearable.  Yet the star of hope has risen–the anchor of the heart reaches the very throne of God.  Instead of evil becoming unleashed within man, the light shines victorious: suffering–without ceasing to be suffering–becomes, despite everything, a hymn of praise. (Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi)

And for those of you who feel that you are living “in darkness and in the shadow of death”, take heart, for you are exactly who he desires to visit.  From an ancient homily on Holy Saturday:

Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives . . .