The gift of vexation…

2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (The trials of St. Paul) Five times I have received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I received a stoning. Three times I was shipwrecked; for a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers and sisters; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, hungry and thirsty, often without food, cold and naked. And, besides other things, I am under daily pressure because of my anxiety for all the churches.

One only has to read the trials of St. Paul to put their own trials into perspective. It seems that lately I am beset, not so much by trials, although there have been some of those, but it is the day-to-day vexations that are getting under my skin. For instance, our house is for sale* and the market is rather stagnant here, so there is the elation/disappointment roller-coaster I ride every time we have a showing. There are the vexations of waiting for a showing, of waiting to move, and waiting for someone else to move.

And there is the vexation that comes in my dealings with others, when I fail to act as I should or when my expectations fail to materialize. I once heard about a person complaining to another about someone who was always pushing their buttons. The wise reply was, “Well, what are you doing with buttons?” Touché. As someone who is trying to live in God’s will, sometimes all I can see is how far I am from it.

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“…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak…” (Ecclesiastes 3:7)

Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

Grace and peace to you as I begin this writing on the Solemnity of Annunciation, the feast day of Our Lady’s Fiat!

Here are a few of my thoughts on the sudden decision to suspend my Pelianito blog.

Under obedience to my spiritual director, a holy priest who has known me for 10 years and is very familiar with my writings, and out of respect for what was communicated to me about what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said about my Pelianito blog, I did what I felt was necessary and suspended my blog until such time as, under obedience, I may be able to bring it back online.

I am at peace. My spiritual director has told me before, “Don’t make it happen. Let it happen.” Even if the evil one is behind this, God allowed it, for His glorious triumph. If God wants to defend me he will, and I will wait for that. God may yet decide to bring my blog back online. Whatever happens I must remain docile to the Spirit and detached from the results. So—fiat!

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’ (Is 6:8)

Back in 1997, when I first began hearing the Lord speaking to my heart, I felt him give me the name Pelianito, which he revealed to me means “sent”. Since 2003, my Pelianito Journal Blog, has been online in one form or another. It started with the messages being “sent” as a weekly mailout and grew from there. For me it was never about how many visitors or views or subscribers there were, but about fulfilling the will of God for my life. For the first few years it was mostly people who knew me personally reading the messages. Eventually, more people found the blog, thanks in no small part to a mention by Mark Mallett, whom I have come to know as a dear spiritual brother and friend. Being a Catholic blogger—especially in the prophetic landscape—has unique challenges. I am glad he was there.

I have also been greatly edified by those who visited or commented on my blog. Many times, when a message would not really speak to anything I was going through, someone would comment that it was exactly what they needed to hear. These were powerful confirmations that it was God’s work, not mine. Others wrote to encourage me at just the right time or to discuss spiritual matters. We were blessed in each other, thanks be to God!

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

But…things change. They always do. I see the hand of God in this change. I find the Holy Spirit often teaches in themes, and the theme of silence has been coming to me from various sources recently, always a reason to take notice. In response, a few months ago, I wrote an article for my Joy of Penance blog, titled Silence, which I invite you to read if you wish. Just recently, someone brought to my attention the book, “The Power of Silence” by African Cardinal Sarah. (Click here to read a review.) And you may remember, a few of my posts over the years have spoken of “a silence and a stillness” coming to the church. Jesus in the tomb.

I keep thinking of Mark’s blog post titled, The Age of Ministries is Ending. Certainly, signs abound these days, such as the recent sudden deaths of Fr. Robert Young and Anthony Mullen, strong voices, men God was using in a powerful way to spread his most urgent messages for our time. And whatever you may think about Charlie Johnston, his love of the Church cannot be doubted. His voice too has been largely silenced. Now this event with my blog has been just as sudden. Could it be that we are being prepared for that deeper silence of Christ in the tomb? Let us take heed and ponder. If we learn our lessons well, we will know how to respond when the time comes. Listen to the voices that are left while you can.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. (Cor 13:8)

I feel as if I have been prepared for this moment. There was a strong theme of surrender in my writings, and you may remember that I posted Fr. Dolindo Ruotolo’s Novena of Surrender to the Will of God. I have prayed the novena numerous times over the years, and for some months now, each morning and evening I repeat 10 times: “Jesus I surrender myself to you, take care of everything. I love you and I thank you with your own Divine Will.” For each repetition, in place of the word “love” I use “adore”, “bless”, “console”, “glorify & honor”, “kiss”, “praise”, “supplicate”, “trust”, or “worship”. I put them in alphabetical order so they are easier to remember and even know which finger belongs to which one. I have often said, “Pray it till you mean it!” I took my own advice on this one and I’m glad I did!

A few years ago, during the night I felt the Lord’s presence and saw an image. It was like multi-colored pieces shifting and overlapping. The image seemed to have no order to it. It was very chaotic and hard to figure out. These words came to me: “Things will happen in rapid succession.” In the image it seemed like things were happening all over the place that were seemingly unconnected, but really, they were all connected in the big picture. Still, I could not make sense of it. Kind of like a living, moving, “crazy quilt”.

Even in the dream, I had the feeling that even though things appeared chaotic to me, even though I could not make sense of them, that God certainly could, that indeed, God’s plan always looks like this to us. We just don’t get it. The good news is that we don’t have to understand. We just have to do what God puts in front of us every day, and trust in him for everything.

A good guess would be that Jesus is taking away all that we cling to so that we can cling only to him, knowing that when we have him we have everything. Like a child’s weaning, at first there is a lot of crying, then we realize that what is happening is right and good and necessary for our spiritual growth. Then let us cling to Jesus with both hands and trust that all shall indeed be well.

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (Rev. 8:1)

Silence does not mean inactivity nor acquiescence to the status quo. It means going deeper and becoming a conduit of the Divine Silence, the power of God, which contains all fullness, and holding every word you do speak captive to Christ. While there is little we know for certain about the earthly life of the Blessed Mother, I think we can surmise that she was always deliberate, mindful, and intentional in thought, word, and deed. Let us imitate her. (See also this article On Being Deliberate.)

The world is in great need of conduits of the Divine Power, which can only come through prayer, meditation, Scripture, sacraments, and not least, obedience to proper authority. Think of the contemplatives who, as I have said before, are the ones keeping this planet from spinning out of orbit!

If this silence is indeed a sign of the times, we can be comforted in knowing that God is on the march and is set to put an end to this wicked age. Whatever that entails, let us give God our clear and firm FIAT!

Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything. I love you and I thank you with your own Divine Will. Fiat!

“And, therefore, my own good daughter, do not let your mind be troubled over anything that shall happen to me in this world. Nothing can come but what God wills. And I am very sure that whatever that be, however bad it may seem, it shall indeed be the best.” ―St. Thomas More

I leave you with the Antiphons for this past Tuesday’s Office of Readings from the Liturgy of the Hours:

Antiphon 1 – Surrender to God, and he will do everything for you. Alleluia.

Antiphon 2 – Turn away from evil and learn to do God’s will’ the Lord will strengthen you if you obey him. Alleluia.

Antiphon 3 – Wait for the Lord to lead, then follow in his way. Alleluia.

Amen. Fiat!

 

Harmony…

“And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’” (Isaiah 6:5)

By the grace of God, I am involved in music ministry in our parish. I have no voice training, so I am always amazed at people who can harmonize, seemingly without effort. It occurred to me recently that these people, by singing “wrong” are vastly enhancing the beauty of the piece. There is a lesson here for all of us, who even on our best days have only weakness to offer God.

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Daily bread…

“Then I said, ‘Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.’” (Psalm 40:7-8)

“Remember—death is never convenient.” Those were almost the first words I said to my replacement when I retired from my job as parish secretary recently. “Everything stops for a funeral.” I told her that this was probably God’s design, as death is meant to disrupt, to dislodge us from our schedules and plans, to give us pause, and to point us away from what is mortal and towards eternity.

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Crosses…

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

We all have crosses. And indeed, as Franciscan penitents, we are exhorted to take the words of Christ to heart and live them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Mt. 16:24) Knowing that this is our call and living it, however, are two different matters. How often, when a cross is given to us, do we turn our faces, pray for deliverance, tell the Lord, “Not this cross, Lord. It is much too heavy for me! I will carry a cross, just not this one.” How fickle and frail we are! I was struggling last week with a cross of my own when I felt led to pick up the writings of Luisa Piccarreta. Here is what I read:

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Humility…

John 14:10, 12 “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works….Very truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.

Every Christian, indeed every human creature, is called to humility. Certainly as Christians, we should be always aware that we are mere creatures, miniscule fragments in the Divine imagination. Pondering on our own smallness must always lead us farther down the path of humility. Christ must increase, and we must decrease. We all know that, but implementing it is often a tricky business.

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Misplaced hope…

Colossians 1: 12-20 Brothers and sisters: Give thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

I have found throughout my life that the Holy Spirit teaches in themes. I love that He does that. We come across something that speaks to us, and then some unrelated source confirms it and the lesson continues through a series of seemingly unrelated experiences. When that happens, I have learned that it is time to pay attention.

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