"I've been struggling with anger about all of this!" a woman told me recently regarding the hurricanes and all that has curtailed in our area (Terrebonne Parish). "Do you have any words of wisdom" she asked.
I took a moment to open my heart to God to see if He should inspire me with something to share, and then words began to flow. I share some of them with you in case they may be a source of encouragement and inspiration as well.
Almighty God has been preparing us for some time now for all that we have been experiencing and will continue to experience. Do we "have ears to hear?" Are we heeding his words as Noah did, or are we being as the ones who didn't believe and just went on their way…and then the flood came.
God has been preparing us, not primarily in a material way, as with Noah and the ark, but in a spiritual way. Certainly He has been preparing us from the beginning… We can even recall John the Baptist, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord." And, throughout Jesus' public ministry He was proclaiming, "The Kingdom of God is at hand…repent, and hear the good news!"
But, this seems so long ago, and to be another time and place. So, God, knowing our human frailty, sends us messengers through the centuries to remind us.
In a special way our Lord has sent His Mother to us in these times to awaken in us the reality of what life is all about and what our purpose is here on earth. This time on earth is VERY SHORT in comparison to what we will experience for all eternity. It is but an anti-chamber, a time of preparation for our Heavenly homeland (hopefully, if we so choose).
But, how many are heading his call? If we look at just the approved private revelations: Lourdes, Fatima, Betania, and the many others… The message has been very similar.
The "Ark" that we are being called to enter into in these times, unlike for Noah, is a spiritual ark. We are being called to enter into the womb of His grace, the new garden wherein we again are invited to eat from the "tree of life"… We are called to enter into that "ark" where there is enmity between the woman and the serpent (Gen 3:15), and thus protection against the evil and darkness of this world. And, this ark that we are being called to enter into is the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This was the whole message of Fatima. Jesus tells us through Sr. Lucia, "I want my mother's Immaculate Heart placed beside my Sacred Heart!" And, why? He's repeating to us what He said when He was dying on the cross, "Behold your mother!" (Jn 19:27). God sent Mary to Fatima to promote consecration to her Immaculate Heart.
Jesus is calling us to this precisely because He is a jealous God, and He wants us to love Him with our "WHOLE heart, mind, soul and strength." He wants us to have Mary's disposition of openness in receiving His love and loving Him in return. As we are told in Revelation 12, the battle is between the Woman and the Dragon, between her offspring and his. It is between Satan and his cohort of those who say "non-servium" – "I will not serve God"; and "the Woman" – Mary, and her cohort, who say, "Fiat" – "Be it done unto me, oh Lord, according to Your holy will!"
Christ has already won the victory, but we here on earth are in the battle, which is ultimately within ourselves…a battle of whether we will say "yes" to God or not.
Our purpose here on earth is to choose where we want to spend our eternity, and to prepare ourselves for that place. The Church teaches that Mary, the first of us as creatures, is our model for saying, "yes" to God with our whole hearts and lives. Mary was fully surrendered in every area of her heart and life to God – her Heart was Immaculate, every room and nook and cranny was open to God's presence and grace. We on the other hand all have rooms in our hearts that are still closed off to God, where we might hold onto our way of seeing something, or our desire for something, etc. And, when we enter those rooms, we close ourselves off to the grace of the present moment. God in His wisdom, gradually throughout life, knocks on various rooms in our hearts that are not yet surrendered to Him. He does this by situations that happen each day.
He's knocking on rooms in each of our hearts even this day, it's just a matter of having ears to hear. If we find ourselves feeling insecure about something, that is a red flag that our Lord is knocking. He wants to come in and be our security ("Jesus I trust in You!).
We are all being stripped especially in these days. It seems the heat has been turned up because His second coming is getting closer, and our hearts are being prepared. All of us have had our own strippings during these recent hurricanes, to varying degrees. Some much more than others. But with such experiences, we are reminded how fragile life is and how little control we really do have of our lives.
May we all have the grace to see such sufferings and strippings as stepping stones to letting go and surrendering our lives more fully to our loving God; rather than stumbling blocks that have us fall into the grasp of the evil one's lies and accusations.
As for the woman in the beginning who was seeking wisdom because she was struggling with anger, aside from sharing the above with her, I also told her that it was important that she be real with God about her feelings… God was knocking at a room in her heart. He wanted her to invite Him into that anger. She told me she was angry with God and she knew she shouldn't be. I told her it wasn't wrong to feel angry with God, it is what we do with it that determines what's right or wrong. She needed to be honest with God about what she was feeling. This is what it means to invite Him into that room. She needed to be very open and vulnerable with God about her feelings, and only then would He be able to reveal to her His truth, His love and His healing, redeeming grace.
God is not a strict prudish God who calls us to repress our feelings and desires, no matter how wrong or disordered they may seem. Rather, He calls us to be very real, open and honest with Him about who we are…and from there a love relationship with Him will flourish.
May we all have the grace to call upon Mary as our spiritual Mother, and abandon our whole lives to her. For her Heart is truly the "Ark of the New Covenant." It is the refuge camp into which we are all invited, where there is protection against the sly and deceptive snares of the evil one.
It doesn't mean we won't suffer, but we will have the grace to suffer, the grace to live in the grace of the present moment. And, the best thing of all… Mary has already been assumed into Heaven, so when we enter into her Immaculate Heart, we enter into a part of paradise (the new garden) here on earth.
Her heart is like a womb that holds us and helps us to remain always in God's Kingdom here on earth. When we are in her Heart, we can see and experience all things from Heaven's perspective, in light of eternity, and thus, in all things there is "cause for rejoicing."