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The simple and tender words of Jesus instructing us to “love one another as I have loved you” have taken on a deeper meaning for me over the past few weeks as the coronavirus has spread throughout the globe.
I have witnessed love of neighbor in action from every end of the earth, and in my own backyard. And if this love had a sound, that sound would be silence: quiet classrooms, empty offices, and desolate parks. The silence is powerful. It is the sound of love. It is the sound of Isolation, sacrifice, and self-denial for the health and safety of humanity. What a beautiful movement in a defining moment.
Odd as it may sound, there is an immeasurable amount of beauty in all this suffering we face. As I look in my daughter’s closet and see her dresses for prom and graduation hanging up, now never to be worn, I can’t help but feel a twinge of pain and sadness for the memories she and so many others will never create. But she is living in a moment she will never forget. A moment that none of us will ever forget –when the world came together and love spread faster than a virus. That is the most extraordinary memory to keep. That is what makes this time of pain and loss extraordinarily holy.
Like many people, I hope that when love and prayer and science conquer this pandemic, life does not return to normal. I pray kindness and compassion will continue to overflow this earth. I pray the pain, sacrifice, and hardships we are all enduring softens us – softens our hearts, our actions, our thoughts. I pray that each of us will appreciate our blessings in life a little more, that our faith will become a little deeper, that our love for each other will grow a little stronger. My hope is that the little things in life become the bigger things in life, as our appreciation for everything around us flourishes. I pray that we fully understand what it means to love each other as Jesus loves us and actively live this love, because we are all in this beautiful life together.'
I had the most extraordinary experience of love of neighbor with a Hindu family. A gentleman came to our house and said, “Mother Teresa, there is a family who has not eaten for so long. Do something.” So, I took some rice and went there immediately. When I saw the children, their eyes were shining with hunger. I don’t know if you have ever seen hunger, but I have seen it very often. The mother of the family took the rice I gave her and went out. When she came back, I asked her, “Where did you go; what did you do?” She gave me a very simple answer: “They [a neighbor family] are hungry also.” What struck me most was that they were a Muslim family. And she knew. I did not bring any more rice that evening, because I wanted them – Hindus and Muslims – to enjoy the joy of sharing. Those children were radiating joy – sharing their joy and peace with their mother because she had the love to give until it hurts. You see this is where love begins – at home in the family.” [Excerpt from “A Call to Mercy” by Mother Teresa]
This happened at a time when religious violence was prevalent in India, and thousands of people died in the riots between the Hindu and Muslim communities. The unselfishly generous gift this poor woman unhesitatingly gave to her hungry neighbors, who happened to be a Muslim family, deeply touched Mother Teresa. She often looked to the poor; for their love was simple and their hearts were full of joy. Mother Teresa invites us to learn from the poor and receive their joy by sharing our blessings generously.
“Not all of us are called to do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” Mother Teresa'
At Baptism I entered your soul, never ever to go
Many a year I waited, for you to know and love Me.
I bestowed graces, gifts and talents, to equip you for my work
But unaware, you grew up in the world.
In Confirmation, I empowered you, to follow your Saviour
Filling you with strength to walk in victory.
I longed to hear you speak to Me, perceiving My abiding presence
I waited for your call for help, that I may step in to lead you.
When you thirsted and looked around,
I hoped you would look inside to find My living waters.
When friends betrayed you and sorrow filled your heart
I wished you recognised the Companion within you.
When you tripped and fell into sin,
I yearned to give you My power to live the Word.
Come to Me, time has not passed
Let me give you the treasures of heaven.
Unwrap the gifts I have chosen for you
To build up My kingdom here on earth.
Call upon me, your Helper, to be always at your side
No sin, no pain, nothing can cause you harm.
Dear soul, I am your Advocate, who loves you without measure
With Me, you shall conquer and live in heaven forever.'
I come from a little village in Cork, Ireland. Although I grew up in a Catholic family attending Sunday Mass and receiving the sacraments, we didn’t practise our faith very well. The Church and a relationship with God wasn’t at the heart of our everyday family life.
Filling the Void
From a very early age, I felt rejected and worthless because I was bullied a lot at school. In College, I looked for God in the wrong places, like alcohol, nights out, and other people. To remove that feeling of rejection, I tried to fill the void with something other than God, but I didn’t realize that all those passing pleasures would never satisfy me.
One night, when I returned from a night out, I was really tired and depressed. My mother gave me a little “Miracle” prayer card. I felt drawn to it by the Holy Spirit, although I didn’t realize that at the time. After I read it, I said to God, “If you really exist… if you are really there—please answer me. Please turn my life around. I feel very low. Please I need your help…”
I didn’t think about it again until a few months later when I felt compelled to renew the prayer. Soon after, my parents invited me to go to Medjugorje in Croatia. My motivation for going was to enjoy a free holiday in the sun and have a few drinks. I heard there was something religious there, but I wasn’t really interested.
At Medjugorje, I was greeted by people who radiated an amazing freedom and joy. They kept talking about Jesus and Mary, as if they knew them. They told me amazing things about the Catholic faith that were foreign to me. I had no idea what they were talking about, but I truly I desired the joy, freedom and love which emanated from them. They kept urging me to go to Confession. ‘No way!’ was my first reaction, because I was very against Confession at the time. I was worried about what the priest would think of me, that he would judge me and kick me out! However, I longed for this freedom, joy and sense of belonging. I wanted to know where I was meant to be and who I can be. Eventually, I felt convinced to go.
On my way to the confessional, a prayer came into my heart. It was the Creed that I had learnt during Mass. I didn’t know it all by-heart, but the power of the Holy Spirit helped me out. With each word, I really felt the Holy Spirit encouraging me. When I knelt down to confess, I poured my heart out to the priest about all the things that I had done wrong in my life. The mercy of God flowed over me and peace filled my heart. When I came out, I was a new woman, walking joyfully in faith, because I finally had a deep conviction that God really loved me.
A Surprise from God
On my return, I asked the Lord why He had revealed Himself to me, despite the many wrong decisions I had made in life. All of a sudden, I saw the words of the “Miracle prayer” clearly in my mind and I realized how the Lord answered my prayer. I felt incredible joy knowing God had been making this plan for months, preparing for the day when I would realize His love for me at Medjugorje.
I needed to make a lot of changes, but God helped me pull away from many people and things that were not bringing me closer to God and brought amazing friends and opportunities into my life. The Holy Spirit gave me a greater understanding of, and reverence for, Mass and the Scriptures. When I heard the Scriptures being read, I was deeply moved, because the message wasn’t just for people who lived 2000 years ago. It was for me living in this moment. God wanted those words spoken to me right now.
After reading the Scripture and immersing myself in faith, I had a great desire to learn more, know more, understand more and love God more. This wasn’t from my head but from my heart. God Himself sowed the seed of great love in my heart.
God led people to me who had endured similar suffering. He asked me to speak with them about how I had experienced the power of prayer and confession. It was incredible to see how God worked through those simple one on one conversations, just as those amazing witnesses at Medjugorje had led me to faith. Sometimes, He would simply ask me to be silent and pray for that particular person.
One of the messages Our Lady conveyed at Medjugorje is to “Pray! Pray until prayer becomes a joy for you.” I never understood that until l persevered in prayer. Now I absolutely love praying and it has truly become a joy for me. I thank God every day for the gift of the Holy Spirit who is working through me. There is no way that I would stand firm in faith today without the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially Perseverance.
O Holy Spirit, teach me to pray well. Assist me to live a holy life and to grow in goodness and grace. Amen.'
Love that blossomed in springtime
My love for Mary began in my childhood. When my godmother gave me a tiny silver rosary for my First Holy Communion, Dad promised me, “Janie, if you say your Rosary every day, the Blessed Mother will always take care of you.” If I didn’t join Dad in his daily Rosary, he would ask me, “Did you say your Rosary today?” I’d usually admit that I hadn’t, but finally promised him, “When I’m 8, I’ll begin.” Ever since my 8th birthday, I’ve kept that commitment to say at least one set of Mysteries every day.
When God called me to religious life, I was drawn to the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, partly because they were dedicated to Mary. I appreciated our daily Rosary before Evening Prayer and the Saturday evening Rosary processions to the Lourdes grotto. I often turned to Mary when I felt stressed by the challenges of teaching and ministry. When I accepted an invitation to teach in Taiwan, I practised the only Chinese I’d learned – a phonetic version of the Hail Mary – hundreds of times on the plane ride there.
Shortly after I returned from Taiwan, Dad revealed that when I was born, he said, “Blessed Mother, she’s yours.” Wow—what a great Epiphany. I instantly understood why Mary was so important to me. This explained why I felt drawn to make a grotto with a statue of Our Lady in my room as a child, where I could pray her Rosary. My mother and my brothers had not felt attracted to the Rosary, and even resisted praying it as a family. I am forever grateful that my Dad consecrated me to Mary in that simple way when I was born.
Power of Consecration
When our Missionary Sisters meet for prayer we begin, “O Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I consecrate this hour (or day, or myself) to you as an act of perfect love….” But I didn’t make a formal consecration for many years. When I heard that Pope John Paul II motto was Totus Tuus, I wondered, what it meant to give everything to Jesus through Mary. Then a friend invited me to join a group to prepare for the De Montfort Total Consecration, which we made at a Church in New York City in 1990.
Throughout my five years at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I passed up several opportunities to join in preparing for a December 8th Consecration.
Then in 1998, I decided to do it again as a renewal with others on this campus of fervent Catholics. The De Montfort renewal prayer became a treasured part of my daily prayer: “I am all Yours, and all I have is Yours, my most loving Jesus, through Mary Your holy Mother.”
My Journey Home
A Marian priest, Fr. Michael Gaitley said that he longed to be a saint but felt that his many failings impeded him. However, when he read that “Consecration to Mary is the short, easy, secure, and most effective way to become a saint” everything changed. Fr. Michael was inspired to write 33 Days to Morning Glory, a Do-It-Yourself retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration. The essence of this method is daily readings from the saints. I was inspired by pondering key passages from St Louis de Montfort, St Maximilian Kolbe, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and Pope St John Paul II. I used 33 Days to Morning Glory to regularly renew and deepen my consecration to Mary and shared this with others.
I can truly affirm that Our Blessed Mother has taken marvellous care of me. Despite my weaknesses and failings, Our Lady has led me closer to the Heart of her Son, Jesus. My life journey has been enriched by contemplating her messages from her appearances at Lourdes, Fatima and Mexico. Every day, I walk with my beautiful Mother, happily confident that she will lead me home to Heaven. I heartily encourage others to make and renew this total consecration to Jesus through Mary.
Mary, my Mother, I give myself totally to you as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all that I am and have, whatever most pleases you. Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and merciful hands for bringing the greatest possible glory to God. Amen.'
I grew up in a very Catholic family in Texas, USA. My dad was a Youth Minister for about 20 years, so faith was incorporated into my life from my earliest childhood. Sadly, knowing the truth about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit ended up just being a lot of information about Him, and I still didn’t actually know Him. There was a missing link.
In High School, I started to look for a place to belong. Thinking that I would finally fit in if I had lots of friends, I joined a theatre group where I met lots of people. It felt great at first, but then I realized that I was becoming the person that they wanted me to be, not the person I wanted to be nor who God really wanted me to be.
When I was 14, I went on a retreat that became a turning point in my life. I finally met other children of my age, who were enthusiastic about faith. Although it was hours away from their homes, they all wanted to be there. Their joy was contagious. Because they showed love for me, I felt God’s love for me. I came to know who the Holy Spirit really is and how I can reflect His love to others. I picture the Holy Spirit as the one who keeps the flame of faith burning inside each one of us.
When I was confirmed at 15, I was really excited to learn how important the Holy Spirit is to the life of the Church. It felt like Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles, infusing them with His power and His gifts. The day after my Confirmation, I didn’t feel that same gripping excitement. However, I had come to understand that the Holy Spirit is still dwelling within, no matter how I feel. When I surrender to Him that allows Him to work His will in my life and the lives of those around me.
On another retreat, I learned more about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. At first it was intimidating, but one night, while I was praising God with one of the prayer teams, I felt that the Holy Spirit wanted to speak through me. The song “Breathe into me O Holy Spirit” kept repeating through my mind. The others prayed over me, then a few minutes later I was given the gift of the tongues. That was the most beautiful thing that has happened in my life. At that moment, I just let the Holy Spirit say what I never could. I was like a candle lit by the flame of the Holy Spirit. It was incredible to realize how beautiful I could be when I surrendered to God and let Him act through me!
We don’t have to feel Him to be filled with Him. Something big doesn’t have to happen all the time. Jesus gave Him to the apostles to remember His words and deeds, so that they could know the love of the Father and courageously share that with the whole world. Initially, I had expected the Holy Spirit to be like a map, clearly showing the starting point and the destination, but I came to realize that He is more like a compass pointing me in the right direction. I still have to decide each day how (and whether) I will follow that guidance. He works through me whenever I choose to let His power into my heart.
Come Holy Spirit, fill me with Your love and guide me along the right path. Give me the courage and strength to always act according to Your Holy inspiration. Amen.'
Someone asked a great man the secret of his success. He answered: “I had a friend who loved me and had faith in me. He made my life worthwhile.” Do you have a friend like that? You really need one!
Like the mighty wind on the first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit moves around the world inspiring people to lift their hearts in novenas of prayer for the grave needs which beset us. The scene is reminiscent of people rising from sleep late and rushing to catch up on what they have missed. It is a “gold rush” with a prize greater than any treasure in this world.
Yes, we need the Holy Spirit every day, not just when we have special needs, or the Feast of Pentecost or Confirmations come around. Although many treat Him like a monument of the past, He is always a movement of the present, breathing fresh air into the hearts of men and women around the world.
Our Lord Jesus had a lot to say about how essential the Holy Spirit is to our daily lives.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,” (John 14:16).
At any moment, we can call upon the Holy Spirit to come to our aid in every circumstance. My wife told me that one afternoon she felt exhausted and discouraged as she contemplated the mound of dirty clothes and the multitude of other tasks requiring her attention. As fatigue washed over her, she cried out, “Holy Spirit help me”. As soon as the words left her lips, she felt the power of God surge within her, delivering the vitality she needed to complete the chores.
Digging for Gold Mines
Sometimes, we are reluctant to request His help in trivial matters, thinking that the Holy Spirit concerns Himself only with great spiritual matters. But the truth is, every little bit of our lives is important to God, and the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to give us the strength to accomplish the will of God in everything. Our jobs, our studies, our hobbies and especially our relationships are important to the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit binds us together in His love and fills us with God’s wisdom. Building a relationship with the Holy Spirit is like digging a mine for gold that never runs out.
My friend’s wife had struggled for years with a dreadful condition affecting her scalp. She had tried a multitude of remedies, but nothing helped, and the condition was getting worse. Finally, he called upon the Holy Spirit for wisdom, and the good Lord revealed to him the names of herbs that could heal this condition. He jotted them down, researched them on the internet and spoke to a herbalist. When he used these herbs to make a solution to apply to her scalp, his wife was completely relieved of her debilitating condition after only a few days. When he shared it with friends and relations, they were also healed. This product became the source of his livelihood and he continues to prosper, helping many others because he tapped into the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Following the Inspirations
Saint Faustina knew that the shortest route for growth in holiness was to follow the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. She writes, “I am trying my best to be faithful, throughout the day, to the Holy Spirit and to fulfil His demands.”
The Holy Spirit is always available to guide us, remind us, help us and protect us. A few days ago, I urgently needed a document, but could not lay my hand on it. I searched in many places without success until I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal its location. As soon as I said this prayer, I saw a cupboard in my mind. I beheld the left side of the cupboard. Going straight to it, I found the document there.
The Word of God reminds us that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) and to “Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us,” (2Timothy 1:14). Our faith is the most important treasure God has given us. We guard it, and the many other blessings He has bestowed upon us, by freely sharing them under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit comes upon us, everything that belongs to Him becomes ours—His peace, His joy, His righteousness.
As we move towards the day of Pentecost this year, let us pray that we may grow in our friendship with the Holy Spirit all year round, that He may enliven us and strengthen us for each day’s challenges.
Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my
thoughts may all be holy.
Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too,
may be holy.
Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may
love only what is holy.
Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may
defend all that is holy.
Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may
always be holy.
We’re all familiar with the Gospel account of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet whilst Martha is burdened by the numerous tasks required to host an important visitor. This is made worse because she feels that Mary is contributing nothing, absolutely nothing, to this essential domestic work.
Like the loyal son in the parable of the Prodigal Son, Martha feels maligned, underappreciated and, to a certain extent, betrayed. Why should all of the work fall to her when she has a sister who is equally capable? Why can’t she have a turn to rest and listen to Jesus? It certainly doesn’t seem fair. And then, to top it all off, when she appeals to Jesus, she doesn’t get the answer she’s looking for. He doesn’t ask Mary to come to her aid. Instead, he seems to admonish her.
Now, I’m not going to lie, I’ve always sympathised with Martha. I mean, it’s good to enjoy the company of visitors but the work is not going to do itself.
I’m one of those A-Type personalities- the hardworking perfectionistic overachievers – and I’ve always struggled with this Gospel passage, especially now that I’m a busy wife and mum of six. Who wouldn’t love to spend all day at the feet of Jesus, basking in His presence, listening to His parables first-hand and soaking up His truth and wisdom? But, in reality, there are babies to feed, children to get to school, lunches to pack, clothes to wash, floors to clean and so on…ad infinitum.
However, if we look closely at what Jesus says, we learn that He is not reproaching Martha for her work, or even for choosing to work, but for something altogether different.
Saint Francis de Sales explains: “When our Lord reprimanded Saint Martha, He said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset over many things.” You see, if she had simply tended to their needs, she would not have been troubled. However, her resentment and preoccupation with perfection makes her hurried and agitated. This is why Our Lord reprimanded her.”
If she had simply tended to their needs… How simple that sounds, but when we feel engulfed by the needs of those around us, we may lose focus and forget to perform our duties with care and compassion. Martha was cautioned because she became unreasonable and anxious in her haste to complete this work. She became fixated on the work itself, and who should be engaged in it, rather than who and what it was for.
Mary has chosen the better part, not for merely sitting by the side of Jesus, but for accepting His peace which the world cannot give. Her inner tranquillity enabled her to judge that paying attention to what her guest is saying is a higher priority than hastening to bring him something he does not need at that moment. She knows that the work of service must still be done, but it can – and will – wait. This moment will never come again – a good thing for parents to remember with their children and spouses.
Had Martha performed her acts of service cheerfully and serenely, she could have enjoyed His company, in the midst of completing her tasks. Then, she too could have relaxed by His side, unaffected by the passions of frustration and jealousy.
So, how can we be more like Mary, so that we can seize these opportunities to sit at Jesus’ feet? Here are a few ways in which you can turn your inner-Martha into an inner-Mary:
1. Pray unceasingly
Begin your day the right way, in prayer. And continue to pray throughout day. Offer all your joys, works, and sufferings to Him in your Morning Offering. Attend Mass regularly, daily if you can. Pray the Rosary daily as a family. Recite the Angelus before Grace at lunch. Spend time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Mary delighted in Jesus’ presence, so we should do the same!
2. Admit your mistakes
Owning up to our mistakes and failures can be daunting, but recognising our own shortcomings and failures through a daily examination of conscience can be both informative and illuminating. We are flawed human beings and we’re going to make mistakes. We should not dwell on these mistakes, but simply acknowledge them, express sorrow for them and make reparation. The Sacrament of Penance is one of the most underappreciated and underutilised pathways to grace. Regular monthly Confessions are an excellent aid to both finding and maintaining our inner peace, by reconciling us with God, our neighbours and ourselve.
3. Avoid haste
This is easier said than done, as I well know, but, as Saint Francis de Sales explains: “Never is a task accomplished with impetuosity and haste done well.” The solution? Try to accept all of your tasks with peace. Complete them in a prioritized order and delegate what you can or must.
4. Ask for help
If you feel burdened by a task, or anxious about life in general, ask for help. There is no harm in asking for a hand, if you need one. You’d want your friends and family to approach you for support should they need it, so make sure you consider yourself in the same manner. Of course, pride may get in the way, but perhaps God has popped this task into your life to help foster the virtue of humility in you.
5. Trust in Him
God is infinite. He is infinitely merciful and generous. He cannot be outdone in generosity. Relinquish the cares and worries of this life, the burdens that weigh you down, the anxieties that prevent you from achieving anything. Let Him help you. Trust in His wisdom and mercy and you shall see that He will give you everything you need to endure the harder times. Jesus exhorts us to be like the innocent children who trust Him implicitly. They don’t worry about things that don’t concern them.
A little detachment is a good thing for all of us, especially our inner-Martha!
Dear Jesus, you are the strength of my life. Restore my soul and break the chains of anxiety and panic that bind me. Amen.'
I’m gonna follow Jesus,
All the days of my life,
Even through times of pain and strife,
I’m gonna follow Jesus
For I know that He alone,
Can deliver me from the bondage of sin,
So I’m gonna follow Him until the end,
Until the end of time
I shall not look to man for my strength,
To follow Him all the days of my life,
For they shall crumble like sand,
And fade from the face of the Earth
That’s why I say,
I’m gonna follow Jesus,
To the end,
To the end of time
I’m gonna follow Jesus,
All the days of my life,
Even through times of pain and strife,
I’m gonna follow Jesus.'
“In the morning, O LORD, you will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” Psalm 5:3
In his ministry, Jesus was on the move teaching, healing and delivering people. Jesus was not sitting around meditating all day but going about doing the Father’s Will. Jesus is fully human and fully Divine. Being fully human, Jesus, like us, needed to rest and be refreshed. What did he do when he needed to rest?
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35
In the morning just before daylight fully blooms, I love sitting at my kitchen table just looking out the window at the stillness of the morning. There is something about the early dawn that beckons me to enter into a quiet time with God. God is speaking to me all day long but it is really in the quiet of the morning that I can better listen to His voice. His voice comes to me in his Written Word and in the silence of my heart. It is a time to be refreshed and renewed.
Like Jesus we all need to go apart from our to-do-lists and our agenda for the day, and spend a little time with the Master. When we do take this time, our to-do-lists and our agenda for the day seems to run smoother with less frustration.
We are all busy and we might think we have no time to sit and be quiet before Our Lord. No one was ever busier than Jesus. He had a mission and sometimes He changed His direction in order to help someone in need. His ministry flowed from an intense pray time with the Father.
Sometimes I get busy and I do not take time for quiet pray. On those days, I have less peace and I am more impatient with myself and others. Even if it requires that I rise a little bit early to enter into this quiet time, I come away always refreshed and more peaceful. I am better able to handle the challenges of the day.
Dear God, help me to enter into a time of quiet each day with Jesus. Let me hear your voice every morning in the silence of my heart. Refresh me with your word and renew my spirit that I may zealously do everything for your glory. Amen.'
My best friend Alice shared an experience that changed my life and started me on an amazing spiritual journey.
Ever since we met as children, I had been awed by her gentleness and kindness. She never willingly hurt anyone. Even when she was wrongly accused, she never justified herself but took all the blame upon herself. I often wondered how she was able to be so gracious, so one day I asked her. She simply replied, “I picture the sacred heart of Jesus in my heart. Whenever I am tempted to say or do anything wrong, I feel that Jesus will suffer and that is how I am able to keep away from sin.”
She then turned back to me and asked, “Agnes, don’t you know that Jesus longs to dwell in your heart?” I yearned to share this image of Jesus inside me too, so I decided to pray about it. From that day, every evening I went upstairs and asked Jesus to share an image of His sacred heart with me. One night, I had a dream about Veronica wiping the face of Jesus and receiving His image on her veil! I finally realized that wiping the wounds of Jesus would imprint the picture of Jesus on my heart.
Now my thoughts turned to finding ways I could wipe His wounds. I got another child-like idea. Every evening I would go for a walk with Jesus. I imagined myself as a little child, accompanying Mary during His sorrowful Passion. From the time I was very little, I could walk up to Him, without the soldiers stopping me, then look up into the face of Jesus.
As I walked along, I would slowly recall the negative ways I had reacted to adversity. Then, I would picture Jesus gazing back at me, encouraging me to do better. Each day I would divulge my present sorrows to Jesus, cleansing away the tarnish that had hindered my soul from discerning Him clearly. It became really delightful. In my prayer, I began to envisage my dear ones accompanying me on this daily journey, so they, also, could be purified by the precious blood that fell from His wounds. As we approached the scene of His crucifixion, Jesus reminded me to imitate Him, by forgiving all those who had injured me. Until I let go of my grievances, I was not able to follow Him any further.
As I stood by His cross, clinging to Mary’s hand, Jesus showed me how much He suffered whenever anyone fell into a mortal sin. Every time we lend a helping hand to lovingly assist those who have fallen away from Christ, it comforts the sacred heart of Jesus! Each day I spent accompanying Jesus and Mary along the way of the cross revealed more about the mystery of salvation.
This Lenten season, I encourage you to walk with Jesus, just like a little child. May this journey help you compare your sorrows with the sufferings He bore and share the load with Him. By recalling previous setbacks, we may realize we are still carrying unnecessary burdens for no reason at all! Let us invite Our Lord to polish off the tarnish from our hearts so we may shine with purity. His radiant love will then glow in our hearts and reveal the presence of Christ to all around us.'