Since this time of Advent is the time of preparation for the birth of Jesus, for Christmas, I mentioned last week I've been focusing and learning from Mother Mary. She was and is the woman chosen above all women to carry and prepare for her Son's birth, in the flesh. Her flesh bore life for the Word made flesh. I've been reading a few incredible books right now. One is called "The Secrets of Mary - Gifts from the Blessed Mother" by Janice Connell. I have a hard time putting it down because not only does it talk about Mary and her role when she walked on earth, but her role in our present time. - today, in our hearts, home, society, the earth, and heaven. I have often written about how God uses the natural, the physical world to speak to us, His children. This is true. However, the supernatural must not be underestimated either. There have been and are many supernatural occurrences with many brothers and sisters on this earth today. One must be careful to simply regard or disregard them. Why wouldn't there be? Since Christ is alive and His Holy Spirit is among us, why would there not be such events and encounters? There are. Many choose to believe and embrace them, too many do not. I read these words in Janice's book that I have been contemplating.
"Our Blessed Mother knows us. Her love for us is total. Her words are our hope and our delight.
'You have nothing to fear little children. Rest serene upon the Heart of Jesus. He is your light, your life, your joy, your peace, your living reality. All that is not of Jesus, for Jesus, with Jesus passes away. His love is your ransom. His life is yours. Play little ones. Play in the courtyard of my joy. Enjoy my presence and my blessing.'
Wisdom is a great gift worthy of our highest efforts. The moment of our own personal Apocalypse is set. We know not the day, nor the time that each one of us will be called before the Throne of God to render an accounting of our time on earth. God's mercy is for those who fear Him. To know God is to be filled with joyful awe and wonder at the majesty of our loving God. Such is the beginning of wisdom.
Wisdom teaches us to review our past only with the light of God's mercy. We can all pray with confidence in God's mercy. He hears His children' pleas. He honor even our most modest attempts to love. God redeems mistakes and disappointments that haunt our memory. God has entrusted supernatural gifts of wondrous glory to fragile human vessels. Christ is at work in the world even if it is tarnished by some who have betrayed their human dignity. Jesus promised to be with us until the end of time. And so will He be...We all long to open an inner door and return to our Home in the depths of love and peace and holiness. The key to that door is truth. Truth is visible, but only in the Light...Truth teaches us by experience that we really must either gently surrender into God' s Kingdom of Love, or bear the grief of separation from all that is good and decent and beautiful and life-giving forever...Confusion is of the world, not of Heaven."
There are numerous points that can be touched on in that passage. I hope each of you can listen for the parts that will strike your own core personally. For me, when I read these words, I think of my own little soul, so troubled and weak. But as it sees and hears and absorbs such words, I know they are not merely words, but messengers of grace. For my small and tattered soul gets lifted, strength fills it, wonder and awe surround it, passion and thirst for Truth and Goodness from heaven arise within. Hope and joy are jumping in it, and then it happens. My soul recognizes Him immediately. My God, my Jesus has come to teach and embrace me through these grace filled words of Truth. How do I know it is Him? Because this soul of mine has been transformed a little more in this moment when Mercy itself came down from His throne to kiss it - in all its weakness and wretchedness.
How do I even begin? When I encounter the Spirit through words of Truth such as these? I hear the words of my Mother. I recognize her voice just as any child knows her mother's voice. I read where she says, "All that is not of Jesus, for Jesus, with Jesus passes away." The thought of separation from all that is "good and decent and beautiful and life-giving forever" frightens me to the depth of my being. Nothing on the earth that isn't Him, will last. When my heart loses focus (as it does) the words of our Mother turn it back. It is like I am walking thousands of feet up in the air on a rope. If I look straight ahead at my Lord I make progress on that skinny rope. But if I glance even for a moment anywhere else, or think about the fact that I'm walking on a rope high up, or get distracted with anything. I can't do it. However, when that has happened and does happened I call out like Peter, one of the twelve disciples, "Lord! Save me!" Jesus immediately answers. He sends His own precious Mother to refocus my eyes on the only thing that does not pass away - Jesus. And then the walk on the rope continues once more. No matter what is taken from any of us on this earth - spouse, child, job, money, home, parent, a dream, health, it doesn't matter because all those things pass at some point anyways. The only thing that cannot be taken is our promise of eternity, unless it is our choice to give it up. And in eternity, nothing given to Jesus by God is lost. Any love we have been given and received, we will reunite with it, or I guess I should say...with them.
And just a sweet story from last week-
Phillip and I went on our weekly date on Wednesday. Johnny had watched some of the Mass on the Catholic tv station with Phillip's mom while we were gone. (Which actually was a miracle and supernatural experience in itself .) Anyways...after the Mass was over, they show gold gates opening up to clouds and then images of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Mary and maybe some others appear. Phillip's mom apparently said to John, "Look Johnny, that's like heaven. Who's in heaven?" John was so excited that when we got home he said "Mom! Dad! I saw heaven on TV!" "You did?" I asked. He then went to tell of the images he saw on the TV. The Holy Spirit then used that "physical" or "natural" image to work in John's soul. John continued, "And mom, I saw Stella." I smiled and asked "You did? What was she doing?" He said, "She was doing a project." (Stella loves projects and crafts like her mom.) "What project was she doing?" I wondered. "She was drawing a picture of her with all the angels. Lots of angels." Beautiful, I thought. "Who was the picture for?" I asked just trying to see if the conversation could continue. "It was for Mama Mary." Later that night I realized it was the Eve of the Immaculate Conception. This is a BIG feast day in the Catholic Church for our Lady. Of course Stella was making a gift for Mary's special feast day. I have read in different books my mystics and others who have encountered heaven while still alive on earth, that on special feast days, all of Heaven has HUGE celebrations. Stella was preparing to celebrate. And John had no idea about the relevancy of the date. Phillip and I were so thankful for God's continuous goodness and mercy to us.