Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Marian Promise Ends, Thus Begins the First Day of a New Life

My dear friends, God is soooo GOOD!

Today my life feels brand new.  It is the first day of a new type of living for me.  God has truly worked within me during these last 3 years of my Marian Promise, preparing the soil of my heart for something remarkable, although I still look up to Him and wonder what that gift may be.

I have needed every single day of these 3 years to be at the place which I am today, and it is only by the grace of God that I am even here.  Only in the last few months have I truly felt and acted upon that which I should have probably grasped from the beginning.  Today my heart is joyful, my personhood is whole, and I feel refined as a woman now, no longer a little girl (although from her I shall keep my childlike wonder).

Signal graces continue to abound, and this humors me because I have specifically asked Him (a year or more ago, in fact) to not give them to me, lest I misinterpret something and then act wrongly or be more prone to superstition as a result.  But Our Father continues to be exceedingly generous with His gifts, and apparently He's not worried like I was.  I can't wait to tell you about them.  :)

Yesterday was the final day of my Promise.  It was also the first weekday of my Summer vacation! I woke up and crossed the street to attend daily Mass with my friend Mary.  Incredibly, the SAME thing happened to me yesterday that happened when I attended daily Mass for the first time last Summer, after having just moved into this house.

Like the blog entry I wrote last summer, at the end of Mass, I received a beautiful pink rose.  It was sitting on my pew when I returned from receiving Communion.  Neither Mary nor I had seen anyone place it there.  My eyes searched the church for someone that would take the credit, but none of the elderly people did.  I could only look up to God and smile, wondering if Little Saint Therese was smiling down upon me, too.

So last night, as I prepared for today, I prayed for an extended period of time in my Prayer Room as Midnight approached.  This was the first time that I was ever so quiet internally, ready to hear God's voice.  In previous times when I have tried to be internally quiet, my own thinking voice has gotten in the way.

But last night there were no distractions.  Even Macy, who was keeping me company, had fallen fast asleep on her dog pillow.  It was just me and God...and the glow of the moon and stars, which cascaded through the window and onto the wooden floor on which I was kneeling.

I heard nothing.  But I felt Him looking at me.  And I felt His smile.  And I imagined His eyes, big and round and full of love and an eagerness to care for me.

And, after 20 minutes of silence, maybe it was my imagination that started to creep in.  But in my mind's eye, we were sitting at a table, back in Biblical times, His elbows on the table and His arms stretched out toward me, eager for this one-on-one conversation.

His eyes asked me what vocation I wanted, as if it was my choice, which I found incredibly surprising, but which--for Him--seemed natural to ask and offer me, given how much He loves me.  And while He showed me the merits and joys of religious life and explained that the solitude I experience now with Him could only be continued through that vocation, my heart still wished to love Him through the vocation of marriage -- and this warmed His eyes with an understanding joy, although I could also see within them pain, perhaps because He has liked having me for Himself or perhaps because He could see ahead of me, both the joys and sufferings which come from such a vocation.

But He was content, and--even more--He was pleased.  And I felt Him tell me that my vocation would find me; it would not need to be the other way around.  And we both looked out the doorway of the little house we were in, and an ordinary man was standing outside, unaware of our presence but peacefully waiting, although he knew not yet what for.

And Our Lord's eyes nudged me, as if to tell me that I should go and live this vocation with the ordinary man, myself always knowing that no one could replace the affection and love my heart has for Christ Himself.

And while I knew that my alone time with Jesus would soon be ending (for this is the nature of the vocation of family life), I decided to savor every last moment with Him while I could, while that wonderful man waited outside for me.  So I kept my meditation of looking at Him.

Eventually, I grew tired, left the Prayer Room, and went to my bed for sleep.  It was only 11:30 PM now, and--had I been stronger--I would have surely kept watch over this vigil and welcomed Midnight.  As I was falling asleep, I asked God to please wake me in 30 minutes if He wanted me to experience the first moment of my new life at Midnight.

I fell fast asleep almost instantaneously, until I was awoken by the sound of Macy, walking into the bedroom to sleep beside me.  Curious as to the time, I grabbed my cell phone...and was delighted to see that it was 12:01 AM.  Indeed, God had woken me.  :)

And then this morning came.  This was the long-awaited day (June 22, 2010) that I thought would never come!  When Macy woke me at 8 AM, I hopped out of bed, went instantly to my Prayer Room, and asked God what message He'd like to give me in the Bible.

But, incredibly, Macy did not follow me into the Prayer Room.  She stayed in my bedroom, as if she knew I was to have some quiet time alone with Him.

This week, I had placed out on my desk a different Bible, one that I have rarely read but had acquired many years ago.  Maybe I subconsciously did this because I wanted to be certain that any message that should appear to me would not be because of any creased pages in my current Bible.

Opening its pages randomly and quickly, my eyes immediately fell upon Deuteronomy Chapter 26, which my Bible had titled as, "Thanksgiving for the Harvest."  And this was a chapter I have recently encountered!

In this chapter, the words spoke of taking the "first fruits" of my harvest to the dwelling place of the Lord, where I should give Him praise and thanksgiving, announcing to others that God heard my cry for help and responded to it "with signs and wonders."

The chapter went on to explain that these first fruits of the harvest from my "third year" must be shared and "tithed" with others.  The last verses of the chapter explained:

"Today you are making this agreement with the Lord:
He is to be your God
And you are to walk in His ways and
Observe His statues, commandments and degrees
And to hearken His voice.

"And today the Lord is making this agreement with you:
You are to be a people peculiarly his own, as He promised you;
and, provided you keep all his commandments,
He will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory
Above all other nations He has made,
And you will be a people sacred to the Lord, your God, as He promised."

How beautiful that God presented me with verses from Scripture that had to do with harvesting after the planting, this being the imagery that has colored my last of these 3 years.

But that wouldn't be the only beautiful sign that happened to me today.

As I dressed and excitedly crossed the street to attend daily Mass, I was delighted to discover that today's Old Testament Reading was none other than the 19th Chapter of 2nd Kings, precisely where my beloved verse is, the 29th one...yes, the one that God has presented me with on countless occasions since March 2009.

Of all the Bible chapters for me to encounter on June 22, 2010, God chose the very one that was most relevant to my Promise!  As the lector read this long chapter to us, I was excited, feeling that this reading was speaking directly to me.

But, incredibly, the 29th verse was omitted from the reading.  Almost all of the verses from the chapter were included, but the 29th was not.  God's prophet Isaiah had been speaking to the people, telling them that God would protect them from harm.  The message was triumphant, as it spoke also of God's forgiveness.  The 29th verse was the only one where Isaiah was explaining to the people how to prepare the soil for a harvest in 3 years, and that this period of preparation was to be a sign of God's love for them.

God perked my ears by giving me this reading at daily Mass.  And He really made me notice the absence of my verse.  All this is a direct contrast and shift in message from a time of preparation to a full celebration of the harvest!

Thank you, God.