The Belly of the Whale

My sweet husband took me to Lourdes, France this summer. On our first morning we attended the International Mass in the Basilica of St. Pius X. The Basilica of St. Pius X is a huge underground cathedral with a maximum capacity of 25,000 people.

During the mass there were many times that I didn’t understand what was being said, because it was held in many different languages. In these moments, I took in my surroundings and was amazed to realize that I was sitting in what looked like the belly of a whale.

We were not there for 3 days and 3 nights, instead about 3 hours, but in that time I prayed and praised the Lord for inviting us, bringing us and preparing all of us, me, my family, everyone there (about 2000 people), to do His Holy and Good Will!

Jonah 2:1-10

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me.
From deep in realm of the dead, I called for help,
and You listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight;
yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered You, Lord,
and my prayer rose to You,
to Your holy temple.
Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to You.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from Lord.'”

And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.


It starts with a seed

Imagine a tiny seed of Faith, something as small as a mustard seed gifted to us within our soul through His Grace. If we want it to grow we must tend this tiny seed through thanksgiving and prayer. As it grows we start to notice when our prayers are answered and we thank Him, and then begin noticing our unanswered prayers and thank Him. Eventually our thanksgiving becomes constant in all moments of our day and somewhere along the way this tiny plant of Faith flowers and a new seed is created, Hope.

After the success of one flower we continue tending our tiny garden with the same methods, constant thanksgiving and prayer, and then we notice a new light that has begun to fill our soul. It is a light we have not seen before, but we notice that it nourishes this new and tiny seedling in our soul and we begin longing to know this unknown light. As our longing and desire increases this new light begins shining on things that were previously not understood or known. With each new glimpse in the light our tiny plant of Hope grows and eventually flowers creating a new seed, Charity.

After the success of two flowers we continue tending our tiny garden now with a deep longing and hope for the light that reveals hidden mysteries around every corner, but always returning to constant thanksgiving and prayer even in the moments when we cannot see or feel the light. As our tiny seedling of charity grows, the light begins to shine on tiny glimpses of His Plan and we see the goodness and perfection of it. As our desire for the fulfillment of His Holy Will and Plan increases our thanksgiving and prayers continue, but are now changed as our requests decrease and our praise, thanksgiving and joy increase. Our sweet little plant begins to flower creating a new seed of True Charity, which is a great desire to love God above all else and glorify Him in everything, always.

It all starts with a tiny seed, but once we arrive at True Charity, we no longer wish to move the mountains of this world, for they His Glorious works for art. Instead we long for Him to work through us and with us and in us moving spiritual mountains to prepare the way for the fulfillment of His Holy, Good and Perfect Will.

Matthew 17:19-20 – Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Connected

I was praying with a few women that I didn’t know yesterday and as we prayed, I had this thought…

As we pray we are immersed into His endless ocean of mercy and grace, and our roots of faith are nourished and they grow.  When we pray together we are immersed into His endless ocean of mercy and grace together, and our roots of faith are nourished and as they grow they connect and become intertwined making us true sisters and brothers in faith, ever expanding our hidden, yet very real support system.

Let us live like the trees, always expanding our hidden connections with each other by growing our roots of faith in humble prayer together guided by His Will.

Matthew 18:19-20
Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

The Golden Touch

If we could realize the merit concealed in the actions of each moment of the day… if we understood that surrender to the will of God is the true philosopher’s stone that changes into divine gold all our occupations, troubles, and sufferings, what great consolation would be ours!

I read this the other day in The Joy of Full Surrender by Jean-Pierre de Caussaude (chapter 9, Holy Made Easy) and I immediately thought of King Midas.

I’m sure you have heard of King Midas.  He was a king of great fortune who wished for – The Golden Touch, for everything he touched to be turned to gold.  Initially he received his wish with great joy, running through his castle turning everything to gold, but his joy quickly turn to fear as he realized even the food he tried to eat turned to gold before reaching his mouth, and finally his fear became true horror when he turned his own daughter to gold by giving her a hug.

Isn’t it crazy how quickly the desires of our flesh that seem good, can be twisted and turned into horrors?  Yet with the eyes of faith, a heart of love, and a true desire to fully surrender to the Will of God, we all gain The Golden Touch and everything we do is changed into divine gold in His Heavenly Realm.

Matthew 6:19-21
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done!

A New Clear Eye

One of my daughters is beginning to study the human body.  Last weekend we were studying some of the definitions.
Cell and Nucleus (pl. Nuclei) were two of the words.

Cell – The basic unit of all living things.
Nucleus – The central part of most cells that contains genetic material.

As we were studying, she started thinking about how she used believe that her body was full of little people doing all of the work inside.  When she was little used to talk about “Pooper pushers” and “Mrs. Wishy Washy” and the different jobs they did in her body.  She told me towards the end of studying that it was awesome to hear that all of these little people really existed, and now she knew that they were called cells.

After savoring this sweet and precious memory, I started thinking about all of our cells as people too.  I wondered about their individual wills within each nucleus, and I wondered if I ask all of the little people (cells) in my body to collectively turn their nuclei towards the Will of Our Heavenly Father – what might happen?

Obviously I don’t know the answer to this, but I think if every cell in my body is aligned with the Holy Will of Our Heavenly Father, it would be more difficult for me as a whole person to fall out of alignment with His Holy Will.

Sweet Lord, I pray to  surrender to You at the most basic level of my body, and I pray that as my inner nuclei align with Your Holy Will I am given a New Clear Eye allowing my whole body to be full of Your Light.

Matthew 6:22
The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.

A Perfect Prayer

Sometimes during my workout, I take the word “neighbor” literally as the person on the machine next to me.  Yesterday someone was there and as I was working out I started praying for him. I prayed for him, his family, his friends, and his job, but it felt jumbled and messy, and not quite right.

I stopped myself for a moment and thought…

Holy Spirit, please give me the words to pray for this man.

I think I was hoping for specifics about him to better pray for this one man, but the next thoughts that started flowing through my mind were…

Let him Glorify You with his life,
Let him Glorify You through his marriage,
Let him Glorify You through his children,
Let him Glorify You through his job,
Let him Glorify You through his family,
Let him Glorify You through his friends.
Let him Glorify You in all aspects of his life.
Let him Glorify You with his life.

Halfway through this prayer I realized that these words were not mine, they did not come from me. I realized this prayer had been given to me.

I am still in awe of this perfect prayer.   It’s beautiful simplicity and it’s perfect logic that both allow it to be prayed over everyone while keeping it always aligned with His will.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
– James 1:17

Sitting in limbo

Sometimes I feel as if our sweet Lord is letting me sit in a state of limbo because I refuse to fully accept His will.  He gives me opportunities to prove my trust and faith in Him, and I fail time and time again as I stress, obsess and can’t sleep at night over little situations in my life.

He could really shake things up for me by ripping everything I grasp so tightly away, but instead of feeling His temper flare I feel His love as He again gently gives me another chance to prove my trust and faith in Him.

Please my Lord, deepen my faith and trust in You, turn me towards prayer instead of stress and obsession, and continue to gently guide me out of limbo towards an eternal union with You!

In His presence…

Lately all I have wanted to read and learn about are the saints.  Why this insatiable thirst?

Is it because my prayer has been, “Please lead us Home” and my eyes are being opened to the ones who can show the way?

Maybe, but this morning I started wondering if He has opened my eyes for another reason.  Maybe He wants me to know that I know a saint and he wants me to be able to truly see her, see Him, see her, see Him.

Do we know when we are in His presence?  Do we really see Him shining through others? Can we get past the exterior and the good works to really know when He is living in another?

I am not sure that I know when I am in His presence.  I am not sure that I would have known Him, but I want to, I long to know Him.

Despite His Majesty, Glory, Wonder and Power, He is bending down to show me.

Look around my friends…. you probably know a saint too. The saints are here with us, helping us, quietly guiding us.

They haven’t gone straight to heaven, they turned from the open gates because they know that it isn’t truly heaven until we have all made it.  He wants all of us, they want His will… they want all of us.

The first truly will be last as they continue returning to lift up the rest of us!