Mary ~ Star of Evangelisation

‘Mary Star of Evangelisation’  is a beautiful line.

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Wrong Mary!

Please think of the right Mary next time when you say these words in Mass.

There was One Star of Evangelisation ~

She Evangelised her risen Lord to the apostles.

“Mary”

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Passing Time

Sometimes   ‘On earth as it is in Heaven.’   feels a bloody long way off.

When I was at Heythrop a dear lady friend asked if I had read Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair ~ it apparently mentioned my town. I swiftly brought myself a copy and never read it, I couldn’t for some reason begin it. Study pressure maybe. I then picked it up a few weeks back as I grew tired of falling short of my courses suggested reading list, I needed to enjoy reading again.

After the first few chapters I couldn’t say I enjoyed it, but I couldn’t put it down. Then frustratingly one night I went to read the next chapter and I couldn’t find it anywhere.  It was gone ~ not meant to be.  I looked everywhere, under the car seats, down the back of the bed, through all the book shelves, just in case maybe in my ‘on-automatic-pilot’ I put it back amongst all the many other books awaiting reading. In the end I gave up.  I resented buying another copy, so didn’t. It just wasn’t meant to be ~ so I returned to another partially read book, which I knew hadn’t fully penetrated the first time around.

However a few days ago I deep cleaned my room. I pulled the bed right out as deep as itself again, and there awaiting me was the elusive unread novel. I must have fallen asleep with it in my bed, it must have fallen down the back, and when I pulled the bed out to look for it on the previous occasion, it must have got caught under the base, and been pulled deeper still along-under the bed, only to be found weeks later.

The days have been too taken up lately by hospitals and sadnesses, and distractions like my course, which give me the impression that I am moving forwards, when actually they are just passing time. However today for the first time in an age, I had a much-needed day, where time for once felt timeless again. I spent it in my garden ~ just me ~ no other human being ~ no other agenda ~ just me.   I read all day long.

And I read and I read and I read.

What a book.

By the time I had got to the end of it, the mood I was left with infiltrated my own mood, as if they were strangely and intolerably glued together. The melancholy sat like mercury in my blood for the rest of the day and evening, and I thought about the passing of time.

There is a paragraph in Greene’s novel which makes reference to St Augustine on the passing of time

‘St Augustine asked where time came from. He said it came out of the future which didn’t exist yet, into the present that had no duration, and went into the past which had ceased to exist. I don’t know that we can understand time any better than a child.’

The courageous young man Stephen Sutton who recently moved the world with his astounding and beautiful outlook in the face of such a momentous journey says this about time

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Stephen raised millions for cancer research ~ he died just last week,  and appears to have transcended all time ~ unlike the sadness below;

Devastatingly within 6 weeks of each other, shockingly two young 40 something year-old mothers took their own lives in this little town. The shock waves filtered through the social network system, not in any undignified or exposing way, but in absolute grief that within a small community, such brokenness had not been found by the love that could bring salvation, that death alone appeared to bring these women.

Theres something so heartbreakingly sad about man needing to play a hand in controlling ‘time’.  It’s as if the very thing that we insist on measuring, in turn measures us.  I say let go of time.   ~   Maybe they thought they were.

Mass has been offered up for these mothers in our little church, by a kindly parishioner who knew them both. I pray that these women might take with them, to God, all the pain from all the people that ever think death might be a less painful option than life ~ including my own pain.  I don’t think what they did was selfish, as so many people think of suicide victims, for how does that equate.  I feel the deepest sadness for humanity, failing in its very eschatological purpose of loving where love was needed ~ too late.

And still after such devastation, we can keep on turning towards the Love ~ forever we must.

The one quote of St Augustine’s that for whatever reason planted itself in my head years earlier, and won’t leave is ~ ‘I have learned to love you too late, beauty at once so ancient and so new’ ~ I can not decide where there is more hope ~ too late carries something of hopelessness ~ whilst to have never loved is still, maybe, to be so full of hope. Then I think to have loved too late, is to have hope momentarily fulfilling itself ~ and that never to have loved, is not to know of hope’s anchoring and aspiring extents.

In Orhan Pamuk’s The museum of Innocence it states ‘If we can learn to stop thinking of our lives as a line corresponding to Aristotle’s time, treasuring our time instead for its deeper moments, each in turn, then waiting no longer seems such a strange and laughable obsession’

Today in the garden, my innocent pure little 12 week old gentle lamb puppy, who plays, and cuddles, and loves unconditionally, ran up the path with a big young thrush in her mouth.  She is quiet, and as quick as lightning.  She had killed it in her instinct, in her game, in her innocence.  And in my tummy I wanted to retch ~ and all I could do was hold it up in protection ~ and cry and cry and cry for its new life taken so prematurely ~ poor darling ~ and for my puppies pureness somehow tarnished.  After holding its softest body up in the air for what felt like an age of not knowing quite how else to protect it, I laid the dead thrush high up in the greenery on the ancient wall and in sadness wept to God, who despite the horror which His creatures continually do, keeps on loving us anyway. And then I felt angry with Him, for He made His creatures this way.  And then I thought how noble humans could be, the ones who could never hurt a soul.  And then I remembered how we hurt others so easily with our ways all the while.

All we can do is keep on turning towards the Love.

Tonight in the sanctuary whilst reflecting, I had a vision of time in layers rather than linear, happy layers, sad layers, expectant layers, fruitful layers, hopeful and hopeless layers ~ layer upon layer upon layer ~ interleaved ~ and then like a dandelion seed-head I momentarily blew it all right away.  All death ~ all life ~ all Heaven and all hell ~ all beginnings and all endings ~ all matter and all spirit ~ And for a split second ~ nothing was left ~ but Love.

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Milagros

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This week I received my beautiful Praying Mary Magdalene.

It is a Sterling Silver Milagros ~ from the South Americas.  I have never seen a Mary Magdalene one before.  Milagros are small mass-produced little votive’s, often in the shape of hands and feet, and are used as a vehicle of  prayer.  A couple of years ago I went to a brilliant exhibition where I witnessed these milagros pinned on to imitations of the Saints vestments and garments.  They were offered up in prayer, in the hope that the Saint would intercede in miracle for the intentions of the faithful.  This same exhibition hosted many tin roof tiles, often taken from the homes of the poor (by themselves), and painted with the scenes of the story depicting the miracles that had taken place.  These scenes were painted in gratitude for the Saints intercession.

My milagros came on Saturday ~ it is beautiful ~ it is Mary Magdalene in prayer ~ and I Love her.  I wore her to the vigil Mass.  We prayed and offered up Mass together.  I have prayed with Mary Magdalene ever since the bizarrely spiritual encounter beneath her painting at the Brompton Oratory, which left me feeling deeply understood.  And yet after the shock encounter I had to walk away ~ as I felt that had I stood there any longer I would have been visibly exposed.  And I have meditated upon the Gospels many times with her since.

She shares the intimately secret movements of my heart ~  and she has accompanied me in the most surprising of ways ~ a way which I could never have imagined or expected at the outset of my journey.  And it is my hope that knowing the secret movements of my heart that she will somehow intercede for me, which seems the strangest thing to ask for, because I feel so close to Christ ~ to ask anyone to intercede feels ridiculous ~ however it appears to be an intimately Sisterly exchange, that she will help me ~ and that I will help her † And that both of us in doing so, will be doing so for our beloved †

In deepest sisterhood and faith I wear her on a chain around my neck.

‘Milagros (also known as an ex-voto or dijes or promesas) are religious folk charms that are traditionally used for healing purposes and as votive offerings in Mexico, the southern United States, other areas of Latin America, and parts of the Iberian peninsula. They are frequently attached to altars, shrines, and sacred objects found in places of worship, and they are often purchased in churches and cathedrals, or from street vendors.

Milagros come in a variety of shapes and dimensions and are fabricated from many different materials, depending on local customs. For example, they might be nearly flat or fully three-dimensional; and they can be constructed from gold, silver, tin, lead, wood, bone, or wax. In Spanish, the word milagro literally means miracle or surprise.

The use of milagros is a folk custom in parts of North, Central, and South America traceable to ancient Iberians who inhabited the coastal regions of Spain.  The use of milagros accompanied the Spanish as they arrived in Central and South America. Although the custom is not as prevalent as it once was, the use of milagros or ex-votos continues to be a part of folk culture throughout rural areas of Spain—particularly Andalusia, Catalonia, and Majorca.

As part of a religious ritual or an act of devotion, milagros can be offered to a symbol of a saint as a reminder of a petitioner’s particular need, or in gratitude for a prayer answered. They are used to assist in focusing attention towards a specific ailment, based on the type of charm used. Milagro symbolism is not universal; a milagro of a body part, such as a leg, might be used as part of a prayer or vow for the improvement of a leg; or it might refer to a concept such as travel. Similarly, a heart might represent ideas as diverse as a heart condition, a romance, or any number of other interpretations. Milagros are also carried for protection and good luck.

In addition to religious and ritual applications, milagros are often found as components in necklaces, earrings and other jewellery.

They correspond almost exactly to the tamata used in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.’

On my first ever recent quiet time retreat to Walsingham, I ventured into the charming little railway station ~ Russian Orthodox Church ~ and there I saw the only gift that depicted Saint Mary Magdalene (a postcard).   I brought it.  I find it such a frustration that in most of the repository shops from here to Rome, there are never any devotional items for sale which depict Saint Mary Magdalene.  Why not?   She and Our Lady walked everywhere with the Lord ~ They were closest companions.

Whilst there, I lit a candle with Christ ~ and I touched my hand on his heart and I prayed my prayer.  (When I pray at Mass, it is as if I hold my own heart in my cupped hands, and I offer it, and all it contains, up to Jesus) ~ And as if tangibly received and magnified, it was as if invisibly but radiantly he took it, and my heart shone out through his hands ~ and in through my camera lens ~ and back out to me, where in miracle light it visibly revealed His response upon the screen ~ as if to say . . . .

‘I am with you ~ I am holding your Love and My Love  ~  and Love is all that is needed  for prayer to be answered.’

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And there as bright as anything reflected that Love ~ and in it my deepest prayers.

Maybe I will share my beautiful Walsingham time with you in another post.

It was beautiful.

But just for now I want to savour it.

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Inspiration

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Franciscan Inspiration

As a child I had a great Love for nature, wildlife, animals and pets. I came from a non-faith background even though I was culturally/fashionably christened C of E. We never went to church except for weddings and christening, and as children we never went to funerals either.   However as a child I had a profound sense of spirituality, of feeling alive when alone, in the woods, else with nature ~ a feeling that appeared to be filled with ‘magic’ and wonder, that appeared to be so much less ‘magic’ in the presence of others who often had their own agenda.

On my 7th and then 8th birthday my aunt and uncle brought me two different little bibles (they must have forgotten the gift the year before) and this as a child was my introduction to Jesus (other than school hymns in assembly). The man in the beautiful pictures within the books cradled the lambs, and was painted in beautiful countryside and mountain side settings by a river, I so loved these pictures, and knew them to be so full of goodness. These pictures held and captured the nice feelings that I felt when in a similar countryside settings, and were the same feelings evoked much later too, which I  called my One to Ones with the universe ~ and these special feelings were what my Christian friend at a much later time (when I was an adult) called her encounters with God.  This Christian God, and the personal relationship which she had with Jesus and Christianity was all new to me.

As I got older the sense of enchantment and the spiritual presence of my ‘One to Ones’ when out on my solitary walks (and so too when wandering around London) just grew even stronger.   And yet in another kind of way, more frustratingly isolating, as I had no understanding or comprehension of formal faith, and at the time no friends who seemingly felt what I felt ~ the same Love ~ from the same experiences that made me feel such joy, happiness, freedom, elevation, wonder.   This was until I discovered my Christians friends.

As I got older I ‘saw’ and observed snippets of information about St Francis of Assisi. I knew little about him theologically or in religious terms, but his image was one of prayer, nature, kindness, Love and freedom, that I understood in the very depths of my being, inherently from a small child.  My grandparents all lived simple, humble, loving lives and this appeared similar with St Francis.

It was upon having children when that ‘magic’ became a very different magic, and then living life as a busy mother, the spiritual feelings of ‘magic’ that I had discovered pre motherhood lessened, and a different kind of wonder for a while prevailed. I am using the impoverished word ‘magic’ because in my secular upbringing that was the only word that could describe the something extraordinary which I felt, that my brothers and sisters and friends, never articulated or seemingly felt.

Part way through my journey of bearing my five children, the same Christian friend brought for my birthday The Circle of Days book by Reeve Lindbergh. It is The Circle of Days from Canticle of the Sun, written by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1225. On reading it I was staggered that St Francis talked of Sister Moon and Brother Sun, he talked of death as if a friend. Ever since I was a young woman I have written poetry and often in a similar vein to that of St Francis in relationship to the beautiful world around me. I had a great understanding of the moon as female, and the sun as male, and it frustrated me when I saw them depicted other. I have discovered a deep sense of the interconnectedness and relationship between the tides and the planets, the earths inhabitants, and creation, and of the invisible dimension which in some small way I can sense ~ and on occasions I can in some way make manifest through my writing ~ but not make tangible.

As somebody that has both had a powerful conversion and a life-long love of nature, I have come to have a warmth and affectionate love for St Francis, as someone with whom I can identify. He is often portrayed as a romantic soul, whose strength, determination and non-conformist ways had people often concerned for his wellbeing. It left him ostracized from his town, and led him upon a difficult but joyous journey.   His refusal to deny the Love between him and St Clare inspires me so much, and his pure audacity in the square and then again in Rome speaks to me of someone who is inspired by God alone ~ and on mission for God.

Then one day after I converted, I went on an S.V.P retreat. By default because of another priest’s sickness we had a beautiful elderly wise Franciscan friar lead the retreat.  Fr Austin took us on three talks, each talk a spiritual journey in its own right. He was a gentle, humble beautiful soul.  He talked about sin being only a small part of the incarnation, for before there was Original sin there was Original Grace.  He gave us the metaphor of a giant white board and in the tiniest corner he described writing the word sin barely visible, such a small part of the message, the whole of the white board being left pure white and unblemished after the sin was atoned for.  He said that because Jesus came for sinners, wherever you find a sinner, it is an entitlement to Jesus Christ. Thank God.  Wherever there is helplessness, there is God waiting.  He described God like a helpless baby clinging to the human breast.

He talked about purgatory being like a box of tissues to take away with us, until we have regained our self-respect and can come back to the fold, tissue less.  He said to refuse to be forgiven is to sin against the Holy Spirit.  Jesus never pointed the finger at anyone, he never looked for someone to blame, and what a waste of time it would be for us to do so. He said like us Jesus made mistakes, he said Jesus choosing Judas was not a good move, but that each mistake made is a lesson whereby we learn not to make that same mistake again.   He said Jesus had no chance of survival on this road, because when people don’t go quietly they are removed, so Jesus was removed.  But not before he had freed us from fear, for fear can stop us being fully alive.

Fr Austin said that God did not send Jesus to be killed, but man killed Him by sin.  He also said that Jesus did not ‘only’ die and then rise, but that Jesus is at once dead and risen, and that by His self-giving and resurrection, death has been emptied of its power. We see this when we are desperately grieving the imminent death of somebody we love, and yet when our loved one (who is ill) has accepted their imminent death; by their very acceptance they become the comforters of us in our grief.  It is then something that in the world of translation becomes evidence in Love.  A new kind of humanness, an otherness. Grace. We came into existence without our consent; we can only go back with our consent; we do this by the way we live.  This is grace.

Grace is Love.

I spoke to him on my own for a short while about all the different inspirations and ways and how they inspire and differ.  Apparently St Dominic and St Francis were friends, he said that different orders have different structures, and they often view God from a different viewpoint.  The Order of Preachers (Dominicans) looks from the point of view that God is Truth.  The Franciscans look from the point of view that God is Love.  This resounds with me.  For me God is Love . . .  and spirit and truth.

I have always lived by an acute truth, so I have often in contradiction wondered whereby that truth was ever distorted, and then Fr Austin hit the nail on the proverbial head.  He said providing you are honest you may not be right but you wont be wrong, he said if you genuinely walk up the road to reach your destination the wrong way, and you believed you were heading the right way, even if it were wrong, you were doing what you genuinely believed to be right.  He said conversion was then turning the right way.  The way of honesty and truth equals the way of conversion.

He said God doesn’t make copies, there was no blueprint, we are all unique, every life is unique never lived before, never to be lived again.  Apartheid means different – apart, we are all infinitely different, and we are to celebrate, respect and enjoy those differences. Every aspect of otherness must be a reflection of the supreme otherness of God.  Every single person has a part of God in them, don’t let it lay dormant.

He talked about having this eternal empty space within each of our beings that our nature constantly tries to fill up with vocations, work, study, activity and the like, but this space is infinite, it can never be filled, only the spirit will come upon us and fill us full.  And when the spirit has filled us full, then we are to bring others to God, not by being a signpost, but by being a living example of the beloved of Abba.  St Francis said ‘goodness is Godness.  Whenever you find goodness and celebration; enjoy it.  Whenever you see goodness is broken; mend it.  Whenever you see goodness is missing; bring it.’

He told us he did not believe, else agree with people when they tell us ‘Not to follow our hearts desire’ because they fear our selfishness.  Instead he told us with great humility and authority to go into the deepest depths of our heart and try to locate our hearts desire, and to centre our life around this, for this be the transplant that our hearts desperately need.  To live life with this transplanted heart is to feel like the sunshine, the brightest white light, warming right through us.  I go into the deepest depth of my heart and there it is . . . . Love . . . . in spirit and truth.

By knowing and living this way we are called to be the beloved of Abba by grace.  We are assured that through being One with Him in His humanity, that we may share in His Divinity. After this retreat I felt my deep Love of St Francis grow in maturity ~ and his Gospel revelation of a God that is Love, is the same inherent way that I see God ~ God  is Love and Spirit ~ and this alone will ever hold me close to the Franciscan way. As a teenager living in London I used to feed the homeless in Cardboard City under Waterloo Bridge.  Franciscan poverty is something which also I can identify with, having lived for a while in N1 and been witness to, and taken food to those in poverty, it is a wealth to the Spirit ~ Franciscans can see a wealth in  poverty ~ thus they turn the secular way of thinking upon its head, just as Jesus did.

The Carmelites and more importantly The Mystics

The first time that I ever walked down Kensington Church Street in London, I was brought sharply and startlingly to attention.  It was Saturday 1st October.  A large banner with the famous sepia tone photo of St Thérese of Lisieux looked down upon me from a huge church.  A lady whom I can only presume was not English, was almost hugging a Jesus shrine outside the church doorway, deeply in prayer.  The day is Saint Thérese of Lisieux Feast day.

Just the day before, I had spiritual direction and we chatted about the writings of St Thérese, and of how it was just remarkable that these writings (written inside the obscurity of the enclosed Carmelite Order) ever allowed her to become more widely discovered, and lead to her becoming a Saint.  That they should be so widely known today is no less than amazing.

So the fact that I had just happened to have ordered her book online, and I just happened to have had a conversation about her writings.  And the fact that the very next day, the first ever time I happen ‘to happen’ upon ‘Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church’, of all days, just happens to be the Saints special Feast day, is all pretty numinous.  So timing once again led to a numinous experience which left me with that feeling that coincidences are somehow not so coincidental.  On my way back past the church after my day’s study, I was drawn in.  I told Saint Thérese my deepest prayers and lit a candle.  I needed all the heavenly Love I could get just then.

Not long afterwards I was to do my first ever confession before being received into the Catholic Church, I went in to Westminster Cathedral in greatest trepidation and fear, and there on the wall as if waiting in comfort for me was the beautiful sculptured plaque of St Therese of Lisieux.

I had just finished reading St Thérese of Lisieux’ autobiography The Story of a Soul, having previously read the book written by Sister Genevieve My Sister Saint Thérese. Little flower seems a somewhat delicate and insipid name for someone who although physically very poorly at times, I have discovered actually had such a great strength of character.  Little ox might have been more fitting.

Close to the end of the book (in the last few pages) page 161, I read this paragraph, “Swept by an ecstatic joy, I cried: ‘Jesus, my love!  At last I have found my vocation.  My vocation is to love!  I have found my place in the bosom of the Church and it is you, Lord, who has given it me.  In the heart of the Church who is my Mother, I will be love.  So I shall be everything and so my dreams will be fulfilled!’”

‘My vocation is to Love’……… is the last line from one of my 2010 poems

I am a vessel overflowing with your promise, I will pour the wine for many.My vocation is to Love.’

One other line from the Carmelites Autobiography of Saint Thérese of Lisieux The Story of a Soul, that felt as if it had been taken direct, absolute and pure from my own soul was on Page 153: ‘Above all I imitate Mary Magdalene, for her amazing-or rather her loving-audacity which won the heart of Jesus captivates mine.’ Mary Magdalene is someone that I have an absolutely unshakeable devotion towards. Her closeness, perfected Love, and devotion to Jesus Christ was/is the most esoteric key to unlocking my faith from the secular world, and her proximity to Christ, I am absolutely sure in my resolution, is the answer in bringing the contemporary world closer to Jesus Christ.

The Carmelites with their contemplation led me deeper still on my spiritual quest and it is thanks to them that I discovered in a deeper way the likes of St Therese of Avila whose birthday is just before mine, and whose book the interior castle had moved me years before when I was just observing Christianity quietly from the fringes, when the stirrings of a new faith were still just beginning to arouse and reveal acknowledgment with my own intellect. I need to go back and read that book again now with greater insight and understanding now that my journey has progressed somewhat.  Somebody once read some of my work and said how it reminded them very much of some of St John of the Cross’ poetry. I had never heard of him and so they brought me a copy of some of his work, and the staggering identification of what he had in detail experienced, and the comparison of what I had felt – recalled – and identified of my own painfully difficult journey was most inspiring and comforting.

The Carmelite mystics and the Dominican mystics taught me that the body in profound meditation, prayer and worship is a spiritual flight of deepest Love to unite us with our creator, and is only possible because of the reality of our humanity and spirit. St Teresa of Ávila and St John of the cross, St Francis and St Dominic in their physical and spiritual devotion and worship reveal their own Truths, all were graced with ecstatic Love.

The Dominicans

Having experienced moments that I could identify with some of the mystics, and having felt incredibly inspired by them, I looked up St Catherine of Sienna and St Rose of Lima, both of these Saints had been sending me ‘spiritual friendship requests’ by way of inspiration :O) inspiration that I almost continued to ignore. I brought St Catherine of Sienna’s book, which I began, but mostly remains unread upon my bookshelf still to this day. Her birthday is a few days before my own. One day when I am ready I will read her work.

These women have led me to more closely observe the Dominicans ~ whom I Love because of their learnedness, for their precision and care taken over their preaching, and their homiletic skills which inspire me so very much. They point me towards great theological writers like St Thomas of Aquinas ~ whom although I have yet to discover, I very much have warmed to some of the sound bites of his words that I have happened upon. The Dominican spirituality is integral to God who is Truth, and has me bound by such fascination for one reason alone;

I discovered that the Dominicans have a deeper Love and devotion for Mary Magdalene. From the very beginnings of the Dominican Order Mary Magdalene has been recognised for her special place as True friend of Christ.  She is patron saint and protectress of The Order of Preachers, and because I have spent the deepest time in prayer and meditation with Mary Magdalene, and because I feel what it is that I feel about Mary Magdalene being the closest companion to Christ, perfected in Love, taught directly by our Lord, I feel a special connection to the Dominicans. I know the fact that they hold her in such high regard stems from the Absolute Truth, Truth that I know in my soul needs to be made manifest to others.

The Dominicans say of Mary Magdalene;

‘It is a joyous thought to realise that the whole Dominican Order has from the time of its foundation, sung during Easter Week the Victimae Paschali laudes, which expresses the mission entrusted to it: “Speak, Mary, Declaring/ What you saw, wayfaring/ The tomb of Christ, who is /living/ The glory of Jesus’s resurrection/ Bright angels attesting/ The shroud and napkin resting/… Christ indeed from death is risen, our new life obtaining/ Have mercy, victor King, ever reigning/ Amen.
Alleliuah”.’

“And all who heard her were in admiration at her beauty, her eloquence, and the sweetness of her message…and no wonder, that the mouth which had pressed such pious and beautiful kisses on the Savior’s feet should breathe forth the perfume of the word of God more profusely than others could.” (Blessed Jacobus de Voragine O.P. The Golden Legend, Readings on the Saints, William Granger Ryan translator, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991, 1:376-77).

Saint Mary Magdalene

Because of meditating upon the Gospels, and upon the encounters between Mary Magdalene and Christ, in prayer I came to a far greater understanding of the significant scenes to which we all bare witness. These meditations ~ this prayer ~ and these insights ~ which are so clear for anyone to see (once the splinters and planks have been removed)  inspired  The Way of Love Charism.

I feel inspired to live out the Charism of Mary Magdalene, and to bring her Love of Christ to other people. I am fully aware of the traditions that have inspired my journey and I find it immensely frustrating that there are Marian traditions that are focused upon the Virgin Mary, and yet Saint Mary whom sealed the first covenant in pure oil of nard at the foot of the temple, and whom sat at our Lords feet in both formation and Love, who walked everywhere with the Lord and his mother, whose ritual foot washing Jesus then blessed the disciples with at the last supper, the beloved whom Jesus chose to first appear to, Mary whom was the apostle to the apostles, a woman of such integrity, courage, evangelization, and perfect Love ~ has not as of yet a formal tradition for her devotees, in which her Sisters and Brothers can follow, in order to become like her, the closest Beloved of Christ.

The time has come for Catholic parishes and dioceses and everyone else besides, to embrace St Mary of Magdala, and afford the contemporary woman and man a pathway back to the Original Traditional Way of Love.

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Chrism

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The Chrism Mass is so important to me, for it is the One Mass that instantly transports me back to the heart of the Gospel ~ in the deepest of meditations.   And it has done so ever since the first ever time that I ever experienced it.   The blessing of the Holy Oils passed on from year to year, from generation to generation, is a ritual ~ and a blessing ~ and a grace that only the blindest of parishioners could fail to see ~ in such staggering awe and wonder.

The first ever time that I was blessed enough to witness this Mass, I was graced by seeing right back to ancient times ~ to my first ever conscious experience of anointing in the Gospels. This Mass is so very special to me ~ for beyond it I see the original anointing of Mary Magdalene at the foot of the Temple.  When she anoints her Lords feet in Love, inspired to do so by the Holy Spirit, then proceeds to dry them upon her hair ~ Our Lords feet by the very nature of their touch (Love), proceeds to anoint her head ~ her brow.

We use oils today for only the most grace-imbued of occasions ~ The Sacraments ~ The sealing of a covenant.  Two thousand years ago this covenant ~ the spiritual marrying of the bride to the temple ~ is the revelation that Mary Magdalene has been chosen by God for the most intimately special of calls.    At this sacramental moment in the Gospel, tears of repentance, release, reconciliation, healing and pure Love flow, just as in the Sacrament of Reconciliation today ~ when all the sins of her humanity are forgiven and restored to innocence.  Thus the Covenant between her and Christ is sealed in absolute pureness ~  a pureness that is made manifest in the anointing of pure nard.

This Sacred ritual is the Covenant of the Trinity ~ Bestowed by God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit ~ between divinity and humanity ~ between male and female ~ Interdependent.  It is the greatest commandment and covenant of all ~ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  ~ This is the very beginnings of Church. Without this lovingly bestowed and sealed Covenant Mary would never have become the beloved companion of Christ ~ she would never have borne such intimate witness ~ and she would never have become the bearer of such beautiful and life-giving news.   Her Charism springs forth from the Original Oils of Chrism ~ from the greatest prayer.  And so this very Mass ~ the greatest prayer of All ~ where the Chrism Oils are blessed ~ continues in Sacredness to this very day.

And that is why every year when I am denied, and forced to miss witness to the Chrism Mass against my will ~  I die.

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Daughter of Man

I brought a puppy.  Her pedigree name is Halo Agnus Bo.  She is a little lamb of God.

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We are going to call her Agnus Bo ~ with Bo being the name which we will use to call her in affection, and so to command.  Agnus means lamb in Latin.  She looks like a little lamb and came at Eastertide.  She has the softest hypoallergenic fleece.  She is a poodle.  I have never particularly liked poodles with all their puffs and bobbles and pompousness ~ but then I saw the natural ones, just allowed to grow as God intended them to grow ~ and there was something so beautiful and gentle and lamblike, and tender about them.  And so I watched them for a while on and off, from a safe distance ~ and the distance grew closer. They were all out of my price league, and then one night whilst flicking around the internet I came across a poodle family in Norwich, Julien of Norwich land.  And the very next day me and my two littlest girls went to see the pup ~ and we fell in Love.  She was less than half the price of all the others I had spied online, and this was a blessing ~ and the fact that she came from Mystic lands :O)

Agnus Bo is small and cream, but has athletic proportions to her shape ~ unlike the Bichon/Poodle cross puppies who were available from one of the children’s school friends, whose legs are too short.  Poodles are intelligent as they were used as French fishing dogs, and they are also used for hunting truffles, but Pre France they were a German breed.  They are supposed to be easy to train.  We wait and see.   

Why did I get a dog at this precarious time in my life?   Well, I lost Jadey in the new year, my 16-year-old rescue mutt.  Papa seemed lonely ~ although with hindsight although he missed Jadey I think he was learning to be happy being the only dog.  I wanted my last born to know what it is to feel the joy and Love of getting your own puppy as a child.  I knew that experience, and it was the best ~ and I wanted my children to know it too, to have a puppy to Love and to be Loved by.  The twins play so perfectly with each other at times, and so perfectly and securely without each other too ~ this is the blessing of being a loving twin constantly having a playmate of the same age, and feeling such security in that mutual Love, that you have that secure love even when apart.  Eliza wanted her own play mate ~ and so I indulged her, but mostly I indulged myself, because I wanted a little soul mate ~ and having lost my faithful Jadey in the new year, I wanted a dog that this time I could pick up and hug.  And I wanted a pooch too that could cuddle me with unconditional Love in those lonely moments, when the soul is needing to feel close to another soul.

You see priests and brothers and sisters have their brothers and sisters, their families, their vocations, their parishioners and parishes,  they have each other, and their community, and a paid job, and a car, and a secure home and bills paid, and their own chapel to worship in whenever they please ~ and access to the wider diocesan network, privileges beyond what I have.  They often have instant respect and grace bestowed upon them because of their intimacy with their parishioners, or just because of their status ~ just because they are what they are.  And when life at times is personally lonely, they can draw upon their wealth of privileges, and those privileges can often make life easier, or help to counteract the things they have to go without.  They are rewarded with Love.  And when it all gets a little too much ~ they are blessed with retreat.

But to be a lay person of deepest faith, with a personal vocation to Love ~ but with celibacy imposed upon us ~ without the same security’s and privileges, and blessings ~ and without the support of a formal structure or relationship is excruciatingly difficult, and painful, and lonely.  My Co-habitatio either propositions me, or in angry rejection denies me almost any verbal interaction ~ other than an absolute necessary exchange.  He is a good man ~ but the situation has changed his treatment towards me over time, and my talk of divorce has disintegrated any communications there might have otherwise been.  He is very angry inside, and at times quietly emotionally negative, and ungenerous, and at times shows spite towards me.  Because he lives with my denying him, and in physical intimacy I do.  The intimately physical separation became everyday practical physical and emotional separation and that has made the often unkindness impossible to live with.  But I can not afford to move.  I can not pay bills, or rent or anything.  I have to be free for children’s sickness, school runs, school holidays etc.  I have looked for little local flats, so that I still could be close to my children, but they all cost money which I do not have.

Living rural I was put in a compromising situation, and so I had to buy myself my own car ~ as my other car was on finance in R’s name ~ and should we row, and should I exit the home upon rowing, the first thing R did was to take my keys away, and give me the older heavier caravelle whose petrol I could ill afford.  The beach hut was in my name only ~ as I brought it when I sold my own home to move here.  So I sold it and traded in the caravelle and added cash to it, and I brought myself my first ever nice car purely in my name.  I did my homework ~ it is tax-free and economical – 60 + miles to the gallon, and I pray serves me well.  It will never happen again, this was a once in a lifetime purchase, never again will I be in the position to buy a newish car from a VW main dealer. At least now I don’t have to forever rely upon very expensive rail travel to travel any distance, when I can fill up more economically with a tank full of diesel.  It has the most amazing number plate FX13XMA  (F) Father (X) kiss (13) (X) kiss (MA) Mags     13 was my fathers lucky number  (a bakers dozen) + my maiden name ~ 13 is the Marian day of worship each month.  MA is also Mary or Mags or Marie (my middle name)      :O)

Already the heartbreaking grief of having to sell my beach hut is easing (it felt connected to my wider family – happy previous family days – and especially to my Daddy who died). It was so difficult letting go of it.  I walked past it yesterday and they have gutted it ~ and changed it ~ and bastardised the once beautiful little vintage hut.  It just doesn’t feel like the same Spirit is there anymore ~ They even changed the name :O(

There is nowhere to go now in the daytime to escape the moodiness and northness of this once loving and warmly lit home.  I took my Dads oystering shoes from the beach hut and put them under my false car boot floor, so that something of his once physical presence continues to bless me.  I pray that somewhere to live eventually drops out of the sky ~ no money ~ no job ~ no prospects ~ no security ~ a partly school run mum, whose children need to live still in the security of their Daddy’s home, he works from home.  I pray to live in a peace filled home one day again.  A centre parks style log cabin would suit me well.  I pray for R to be strong and loving and find hope and kindness and peace again.  He is such a good man.  He doesn’t deserve any of this.  He deserves to be happy and content, and blessed with Love.

God only you can sort this one All out.

Yesterday “tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree” came on the radio, I havent heard that song in donkeys years.  It was a vinyl record my Dad used to play, and instantly he was right here with me ~ in a deeper way ~ a much needed physical spiritual hug.

I am currently reading Nelson Mandela

The cell is an ideal place to get to know yourself, to search realistically and regularly the process of your own mind and feelings.  In judging our progress as individuals we tend to focus on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education… but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being: honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within the reach of every soul – are the foundations of one’s spiritual life… At least if nothing else, the cell gives you the opportunity to look daily into your entire conduct to overcome the bad and develop whatever is good in you.  Regular meditation, say of about fifteen minutes a day before you turn in, can be very fruitful in this regard.  You may find it difficult at first to pinpoint the negative factors in your life, but the tenth attempt may reap rich rewards.  Never forget that a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying.”

“One issue that deeply worried me in prison was the false image that I unwittingly projected to the outside world; of being regarded as a saint. I never was one, even on the basis of an earthly definition of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying”

My Mum sent me this today ~ it will hopefully inspire me ~ that I should keep on trying regardless.

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Little Miracle

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My Divine Office II was perfectly faulty ~ upon opening her I noticed that a few of the pages had edges folded back on themselves.

Upon investigation I could see quite plainly that they were sealed.  The paper cutting machine had failed to do its job in precisely cutting the paper ~ several of the pages were unseperated at the edges.

I carefully cut the pages with the scissors in order to free them ~ and once they were free I preceeded to unfold them.

Perfectly imperfect.

Above is today’s little miracle bestowed upon me.

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