Waiting for the sky to fall…or surviving the Storm

Tomorrow I’m driving to Mandeville,tornado1 LA to hear Mark Mallett and Charlie Johnston speak in tandem on “Surviving the Storm.” I’ve been following Mark’s blog since 2009 and learned about Charlie from Mark Mallett about two years ago. [See the links on the sidebar: THE NEXT RIGHT STEP, and MARK MALLET’S BLOG]. How wonderful these two devoted, strong Catholic men have been in the Church and for the Church. Charlie’s “Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a beacon of hope for those around you” has been my mantra for the last couple of years.

Yes, we all can perceive that something is about to happen. Around 2013, reading Maria Simma who has had visitations of the poor souls in Purgatory all her life, I noted that they told her: “Something very big is in front of the door….”   I knew what they meant. Not “near” or “close” but “in front of the door”—ready to enter. [http://www.jesusmariasite.org/maria-simma-the-amazing-secret-of-the-souls-in-purgatory/]

Like so many others, I have had my anxieties, struggling to discern what kind of preparation might be necessary. I have learned along the way, with Charlie, that whatever we do in a pragmatic way, will more than likely not be enough—at least as the world sees it. My heart spoke more truly to me, telling me to stay close to God, to enter the Sacred Heart and seek every day to go deeper into His presence. So it has not been fear of losing food, power, material things, even safety from the chaos that may ensue that has motivated me.

I fear losing the privilege of Eucharistic adoration—my daily hour in His presence, daily Mass. My fidelity to Mary and the Holy Rosary has been more important than stocking batteries or canned goods. I have collected powerful books to sustain me, the Divine Office and Bible in large print editions (for my old eyes and poor light conditions), the writings of Conchita, my beloved Archbishop Luis Martinez and others. It is not the amount of money that we spend that will prepare us for the unknown elements of the Storm. It is the TIME that we spend in God’s presence, time to deepen love, hope, faith, trust. To move from children who require spiritual milk to be fed, as St. Paul tells us, to children ready for meat and substance, to chew the Word in its fullness.

I suspect I will not hear anything new tomorrow night—I have been listening to Mark and Charlie for years, but I will enjoy their fellowship, the communion of all those who gather around them. Whatever happens, we need to remember what I read last night in the introduction to Archbishop Martinez’ book TO BE JESUS CRUCIFIED,”   “Jesus taught Conchita filial love for the Father:

‘I want you to invoke the Father who is My Father and yours. Call upon Him with filial love, which pleases Him so much. His role is that of the authority between us. Entreat Him, entreat Him a lot and with great confidence. Call upon Him: ‘Father, Father!’ When desolation or any other kind of sorrow afflicts you, when you are exhausted and I hide Myself from you, and your little Dove hides too, cry out to Him imitating Me, and say to Him: ‘Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit!’ Place all in His loving hands. Where better will you be able to rest? Who will be able to take care of you with tenderness like His? You cannot imagine how much He appreciates a crucified soul.’ ”

When the waiting seems interminable, as we wait for the sky to fall or whatever seems more horrendous or unexpected, one of my favorite little scriptures is that of Ps. 39,8: “And now, Lord, what is there to wait for? In You rests all my hope.”

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“Silence guards the mystery…”

As I was reading and meditating tonight on a talk which Lourdes gave to us at Love Crucified, I stopped to reflect more deeply on a quotation from Pope Francis. silent Pope Francis It was so meaningful to me that I decided to look it up.  As probably few people have actually seen it, I thought it worthwhile to share the entire message of Pope Francis  here, his homily of Dec. 20, 2013:  “Mystery doesn’t seek publicity.”

In his homily at Holy Mass on Friday morning Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel from St Luke (1:26-38), which record the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary: “The power of the Most High will overshadow you. The Holy Spirit will come upon you.” The Pope noted that the angel’s words harken back to the day’s first Reading from the Book of Isaiah (7:10-14).

“Throughout salvation history, the overshadowing of God has always guarded mystery,” the Pontiff said. “The overshadowing of God accompanied his people in the desert” and the whole of salvation history, he said, “demonstrates that the Lord has always guarded the mystery. He veiled the mystery, he did not publicize the mystery.” In fact, the Pope added, “a mystery that promotes itself is not Christian, it is not a mystery of God.” The day’s Gospel clearly confirms this, he said, for when Mary received the angel’s announcement, “the mystery of her motherhood” remained hidden.

“God’s overshadowing of us in our lives,” the Pope continued, helps us to “discover our own mystery: our mystery of encounter with the Lord, the mystery of our life’s journey with the Lord.” In fact, he said, “each of us knows how mysteriously the Lord works in his or her heart and soul. And this is the overshadowing, the power, the Holy Spirit’s style, as it were, for veiling our mystery. This overshadowing in us, in our lives, is called silence. Silence is the cloud that veils the mystery of our relationship with the Lord, of our holiness and of our sins.”

“It is a mystery that we cannot explain. But when there is no silence in our lives, we lose the mystery, it goes away.” Hence the importance “of guarding the mystery with silence: this is the cloud, this is God’s power in us, it is the strength of the Holy Spirit.”

The Pope turned again to the witness of the Blessed Virgin, who lived in this silence for the whole of her life. “I think about how many times she remained silent, how many times she did not say what she felt in order to guard the mystery of her relationship with her Son.” He then recalled how “in 1964, in Nazareth, Paul VI told us all that we need to renew and strengthen, to fortify silence,” precisely because “silence guards the mystery.”

The Pope then gave voice to “the silence of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross,” as Pope John Paul II had done before him. In reality, he said, the Gospel does not report any words from Our Lady. Mary “was silent, but within her heart how many things she said to the Lord” in that crucial moment in history. Likely, Mary would have thought back to the angel’s words regarding her Son: “On that day you told me he would be great! You told me he would be given the throne of David his father and that he would reign for ever! But now look there” at the Cross. Mary, Pope Francis added, “veiled in silence the mystery which she did not understand. And through silence she allowed the mystery to grow and flourish,” thus bringing great hope to all.

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the most high will overshadow you.”  The angel’s words to Mary assure us that “the Lord veils his mystery”,  the Pope said.  For “the mystery of our relationship with God, of our journey, of our salvation should not be aired or publicized. Silence should be its guard.”

Pope Francis concluded with a prayer that “the Lord might grant us all the grace to love silence, to seek it out, to have a heart guarded by the cloud of silence. Thus the mystery growing within us shall bear much fruit.”

****************************Pope Francis prayingt

What an extraordinary reflection from an extraordinary man.  I have sometimes hesitated in sharing some of my reflections, wondering if by speaking aloud, publicizing the thoughts of my heart,  I might be diluting the mystery, but I know this too:  no words that I can say begin to touch the inner reality.  God’s mystery is so profound and personal to each one of us that provided we remain faithful to “enter daily the prayer of silence” as Lourdes expresses it, the mystery continues to grow within us, and “the mystery growing within us shall bear much fruit.”

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