John 21:17 [Jesus] said to [Peter] the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’”
What a Lent! What an Easter! We mourn with the world the death of Mother Angelica, and at the same time we rejoice in the glorious sign of her passing on the Day of Resurrection. All glory and praise to our risen Lord!
I felt this Lent and Easter were significant in ways we cannot understand. I was given some little hints to that effect, which I would like to share here.
First of all, Lent was a time of severe trial for so many—in the world, in the Church, and likely in each of our circles of acquaintance, including mine. One of my sisters has a saying when one of us has a trial during Lent, as often happens: “Aahh…Lent!” Faithful Christians in general, and penitents in particular, must not shy away from the cross during Lent. Our time on the cross with Christ is a treasure whose value we will only appreciate in the next life. When you hang with Jesus, you hang on the cross. Just ask Mother Angelica.
Next came the Triduum. As parish secretary and, besides the priest, the sole employee in our small parish office, and as one also involved in music ministry, I often have plenty of reasons to be distracted during the Triduum. Yet, this year I felt called to enter the Triduum with sharpened focus. To really pay attention. In fact, as I rested Saturday afternoon so as to be more alert for the Vigil, I had a brief dream in which I was so distracted at Mass that I was spilling the Precious Blood all over the place! It was very a very upsetting dream, but certainly the point was made!
On Holy Thursday, at the time of consecration during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, I was given an insight into the absolute tenderness with which Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist. What a night it was for him! It is impossible to know the true significance of everything he did that night. We know that institution of the Holy Eucharist was his parting gift to his Apostles and to all believers to the end of time. The Apostles could not possibly have known the implications of this incredible gift. Jesus knows, and he also knows how few of us will really appreciate what the Eucharist means. He gives himself to us anyway—so tenderly.
For me this year, the tenderness I felt at the words of consecration at the Lord’s Supper moved me in a new way. Jesus had laboured and prayed, and came up with this way to ensure that he would be with us all in a material way to the end of time. He was thinking of not just his Apostles that night, but of all of us, down through the ages, loving each one of us as if we were the only one to ever receive him into our hearts. What tenderness! What a gift! Thank you Jesus! The next time you are at Mass, imagine the words of consecration spoken with that kind tenderness directed at you. I guarantee, you will be moved.
Then on Good Friday I was praying for a soul and asking that they not die in their sin. I had an exchange with our Lord that I will attempt here to put into words. Me: “Lord, please do not let them die in their sin.” He: “Should they not die as they have lived?” I was taken aback by this seemingly harsh reply, but then I remembered the Year of Mercy, and it made me bold, audacious even. Me: “Lord, that would satisfy your justice, but as this is the Year of Mercy, I make an appeal to your Mercy and ask that this person not die in their sins.” I felt at that point I had passed a test and that my prayer would be granted. I felt that my audacity had pleased him, that he would reward my audacious trust in His never-failing mercy. Sweet Lord, what a grace that was!
Earlier in the month I had been given an image of weak souls as a baby birds that have no power of their own but can only survive by being fed by others. I felt that those of us who have faith, imperfect as it is, are like the mother and father birds that fly back and forth from the nest bringing filthy worms for the weak infants. Our efforts amount to no more than filthy worms, even on a good day, but by the grace of God, our meager efforts help strengthen those weak, homely, hatchlings and turn them into fledglings. If we keep up our efforts, one day they are strong enough to fly off on their own. It was a powerful image that was clarified for me through Good Friday’s lesson in audacity.
Powerful graces are available to us in ever-new ways dear friends! Have confidence! Be audacious! Do not give up, but keep digging in the dirt for those worms, and no matter how pitiful your offering may seem to you, do not discount it, for all is grace. All.
No one was more audacious than Mother Angelica. She once said, “Boldness should be the eleventh commandment.” At another time she said, “Guts is the eighth gift of the Holy Spirit.” Amen, Mother Angelica. Pray for us!
From my other blog https://pelianitoblog.wordpress.com
Baruch 5:5-6 Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height; look towards the east, and see your children gathered from west and east at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that God has remembered them. For they went out from you on foot, led away by their enemies; but God will bring them back to you, carried in glory, as on a royal throne.
“My children, do not be afraid! Do not despair! Do you see that for those who trust in me, only glory awaits? Do you believe this? You, my children, were made for glory! Then do not let the evil one rob you of your joy. When you contemplate the pain, sorrow, and disappointment of this life, you are brought very low. Then raise your thoughts to the higher things. What you see here, all your sorrow and pain, will disappear in an instant when your glory in Christ is brought to fulfillment. Every tear will be wiped away. Remain faithful. Keep to the prayers. All those you place in our Mother’s Flame of Love will be given her special protection. Do not dwell on the darkness your loved ones are mired in, but contemplate the glory which will be theirs through your complete trust in Me and My Mother. Read this Scripture passage and claim it for your loved ones. I tell you, this Year of Mercy will win souls as never before. Pray, trust, and hope in the glorious promises of Christ.”
O my Jesus! What hope! What joy! I claim this Scripture passage over all those you have given me to pray for. Though they may be led away by their enemies, you, O merciful Jesus, will bring them back carried in glory as on a royal throne. I place each one in the Flame of Love. Jesus and Mary I trust in you. Thank you! Praise to you, King of eternal glory! Save souls O Merciful One! Save souls! Amen.
And lastly a prayer for the Year of Mercy…
O my Jesus, in the Divine Will I offer you all the unused shards of suffering, including my own, all those treasures discarded from the time of the fall of Adam and Eve to the last man. I offer them as a spiritual bouquet through the Flame of Love of our Immaculate Mother in reparation to the Holy Trinity for all sins ever committed, for the conversion of all those whose hearts are far from you, for the fire of pure love to be ignited in the lukewarm, and for all the intentions of those here and in my spiritual territory. Jesus and Mary I trust in you. Take care of everything, and everyone. May this Jubilee Year of Mercy bear abundant fruit for the Kingdom. May your Kingdom come and come quickly! Amen.