About Mary Adrienne

I began blogging at Walking With My Brother.net in 2013 and sharing there my spiritual journey, past and present, poems and prayers. It was my hope that this blog might touch and encourage others to know how very much God loves us -- warts and all -- and wants to be part of our lives. My walk has taken me other directions over this time ... away from blogging for long periods and back again ... but never away from our Lord and our walk together.

The light of this holy night

Scattered desire
Life on hold
Only one passion
Only You, precious Lord.

Suspended desire
Detached from care
Patient, peaceful rest,
Faithful in prayer.

Lone contemplation
Separate, at rest,
Filled full with Your grace,
Grateful and blessed.

Blood pours from Your wounds.
Tumult rages unspent.
Obscuring Your face
Hoards filled with dissent.

Come Holy Spirit.
Fill us with Your breath
Lead us to life everlasting
Only in death.

In death of our pride
In death our ego
Knowing the source of our good
As we confidently go.

Knowing to whom we belong
For whom we were made
Whose love conquers fear
Whose table is laid.

Come Holy Spirit
Fill us with Your light
Lead us through the darkness
Of this holy night.

A place of our own

If there’s one thing amiss here in this house, if there’s one little spot I have longed for — it’s that one obvious place where I can go to be with You. Just a corner of calm, where I am away from — at least off to the side of — the bustle of other daily activity.

We’ll find it soon, You and I, won’t we, Father.

But even beyond our place, Father, I believe and pray that You will help us begin to make — of both the community in which we live and the community where we worship — spaces in which we can feel a integral part. Places where our presence is a blessing and our absence is noticed — even missed by some. A home filled with family — Your children — that You choose just for us in this time of our lives — to love and by whom, through whom, You will love us.

That’s my prayer this day, Father.

Our Father, who art in heaven

Our Father,
Who art in Heaven — knower of all things, keeper of all things;
Hallowed be Thy name — Holy and Righteous is Thy name, who loves each of us so very much;
Thy kingdom come — that place of love and beauty and peace and truth;
Thy will be done — for You are perfect love in whom, through whom, all things are ordered;
On earth as it is in heaven — if only Your will were true throughout the earth, but if not throughout the earth, Holy Father, then by Your grace, make this true in me and in my heart, true for all those You’ve given me to love;
Give us this day our daily bread — allow me through Your grace, Holy Father, the sufficiency to fulfill my need for You and for Your continual instruction, guidance, and direction, for what else could I need, Father, when I have You;
And forgive us our trespasses — forgive me all those times I have spoken in ways that hurt You, Father, or time when I have harbored thoughts of others that were uncharitable, that cut off the flow of Your love through me to them, for those times when I am lazy, too lazy to take time to spend with You, or those times when I have placed a higher priority on earthly activity at the expense of spending time in Your warm and healing embrace;
As we forgive those who trespass against us — help me forgive all those whose words or actions have harmed me or who have turned away from me, withholding their affection;
And lead us not into temptation — guide our steps away from those earthly distractions, directions, and discourses that carry us away from You;
But deliver us from evil — deliver me from all the evil that is overtaking our world, Father. Purify me through Your grace, and wash away all my sin; make in me a temple worthy of Your presence, worthy of being Your resting place — a home even — here on earth; make me a place holy and worthy of carrying You, Your Word, to those other ones You place along my path, as I find my way to that holy place, where I rest only in You.
Amen.
Thank You, Father, for this time.

More worthy of You

Oh Lord, You are drawing me more and more deeply
into the mysteries of the Holy Rosary and
into praying for our world.
I pray that my prayers are pleasing to You and
through them that I am drawn
more deeply into relationship with You,
more worthy of You,
more formed by You,
more conformed to You,
more pleasing to You,
more worthy of You.
In Christ’s name I pray to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit
are One God for ever and ever.
Amen.

The passion of our time.

When I heard of the Supreme Court’s decision adding sexual orientation and gender identity to protected classes under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, my first reaction was: All humans deserve the opportunity to seek employment free from discrimination.

Yet, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of USCCB lays out the concern.

I am deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of ‘sex’ in our nation’s civil rights law. This is an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life.

By erasing the beautiful differences and complementary relationship between man and woman, we ignore the glory of God’s creation and harm the human family, the first building block of society. Our sex, whether we are male or female, is part of God’s plan for creation and for our lives. As Pope Francis has taught with such sensitivity, to live in the truth with God’s intended gifts in our lives requires that we receive our bodily and sexual identity with gratitude from our Creator. No one can find true happiness by pursuing a path that is contrary to God’s plan. (emphasis added)

Every human person is made in the image and likeness of God and, without exception, must be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect. Protecting our neighbors from unjust discrimination does not require redefining human nature.

We pray that the Church, with the help of Mary, the Mother of God, will be able to continue her mission to bring Jesus Christ to every man and woman.

So (early warning) what follows is my way-too-long struggle to sort all this, as I talk with Our Lord.

——————

“During these times…”

I’m so tired of hearing this phrase, Holy Lord. I hear it drone out from both the sincere and the sanctimonious to initiate some monologue on masks or medicine or malevolence.

And yet, today, right now, in this time and place, You are offering us a way to sooth some of the pain and suffering of Your Son. You’re offering us an opportunity to share Your love and to find new ways that include all of Your people in Your grace.

All of us

All of us
We fallen,
We sin-filled,
Even we aspiring saints.
The ignored, the ignorant,
The neglected, the negligent,
The elite and the alone;
The famished and the fed;
The despised and the despicable.
All of us are Your beloved children, Holy Lord.

But, not all of us know You or Your love.

We, the privileged

We, who know You — we, who have been baptized into Your truth — we are the privileged ones of this world.

Through no fault or action of our own, You chose us. Just as we didn’t choose our parents or the country of our birth, or our station in life, we didn’t choose to know You, Holy Father, or Your Son. We were chosen. You found us right where we were and and called us to You.

This is true privilege.
This is the real job opportunity.
For in You is the freedom and love
That passes all our understanding.

Too often, we forget that You’re the source of everything good in our lives. We believe that our good fortune is something we’ve earned, something we deserve, maybe — through some right of birth or heritage or even our own hard work.

But, no. These are all gifts of Your grace. You decided where we were born and when. And You selected our parents. You gave us the talents to succeed in our work and the strength to awake each day to embrace our lives. And You have given us the times in which we live.

In these times

Your gift in this time for those of us who know and love You is the blessing of sharing Christ with others, those less privileged, those needing—longing, possibly—to know You and to love You, too. Our gift is the opportunity to be an active part of Christ’s body — Your hands and heart — here on earth.

It’s that simple…and that profound.

What does this mean in action in this situation, Father? What does this look like on the holy ground of Your love?

Down here amongst Your unruly children?

Surely, we must share Your love through the way we live our lives. But what if we are asked to act—or made to act publicly—in ways that defy — or even defile — Your love for us, ways foreign to Your teaching?

We learn early that we are to hate the sins, love the sinners. But in this time we are being told that in order to love the sinners, we must approve of — love, even — their sin.

How does a religious school, for example, allow into its midst individuals, who, gleefully, often vociferously, reject one of Your most basic, Your most foundational gifts — the beautiful gift of who they are as beloved male and female children of God, who they are as Your beloved creations?

How does the religious institution function within the dichotomy of You and Not You? God and not God? How do we ease the friction, act with mercy, heal the wounded, protect the innocent, help You to call the willing?

Where is the opportunity in this, Holy Father? Where—what—is Your gift that You seek to have us give?

Your Word in action

Sister Marilyn taught 2nd grade at my daughter’s Catholic school years ago. For decades she faithfully helped to prepare young Catholic girls and boys for their first communion. Our family was not Catholic at the time. I spoke with Sister once about how excluded my daughter felt from the first communion ceremony that eventually followed for all her classmates.

Sister corrected me, ‘Oh no, we don’t exclude anyone or leave any one out. Everyone is welcome to be part of the church and to participate in the beauty of what we believe.’

And there’s the nut of it, isn’t it, Father? The Church universal. The body of Christ. Living, yet unchanged and unchangeable. Broken, yet complete. Sacrificed, given away, that our souls might be sanctified through our faith in You and in Your Son.

You’ve created us to be free. You allow us to choose in what and in whom we believe. As Christians, we believe in You, Holy Father and in Your Son, Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit — that beautiful breath of love shared by Father and Son.

But so many others don’t know You or believe in Your Son. Too many have not even been introduced.

How, Father?

How do we embrace these others, Father, who reject our faith and insist that it must change in order to conform to their devices and desires.

How do we share Your love with those who have no faith and who hope only in themselves?

How do we share Christ with them, who demand that we deny You and love them first?

How do we — under the force of law — share the truth of Your love that You have shared with us?

How can we do anything good, anything pleasing to You, without speaking with love and affection to these others — these hopeless, hapless creatures whom You love?

How do we do all this, How do we do any of this except through Your grace, full of faith in You, knowing that Your hand is at work in this, as it is in all things?

You never said it would be easy

Indeed, You showed us the terrible pain of Your Son’s passion and told us to ‘follow Him.’

Even Mary and Joseph, when directed by Caesar Augustus, submitted to an arduous journey to Bethlehem in order to participate in a government-required census. Our Holy Mother was pregnant. She and Joseph were poor. But You chose that time for them to leave their home and family who loved them to carry Your Word-made-flesh to this distant place. And once they arrived, they weren’t welcomed or made comfortable. They weren’t treated lovingly. Indeed, there was no room for them — or for You.

But there, in that mean, inhospitable and humble place, is where You and Your love broke into our world.

You chose Mary and Joseph to carry Your light of hope first to the world’s poor and lowly. You even provided a bright light to guide the way of the world’s wise and kingly. They traveled their own difficult and dangerous journeys to Your Son, Jesus Christ, coming from far-away lands — from places that did not know You; from traditions foreign to Your Word. And yet, they came bearing their own gifts with which to honor and adore You.

Just as You sent the light to guide those foreigners to You so long ago, You are, even now, preparing us in this time to be the light of Your love to those who don’t yet know You. Those whom You are calling to Yourself. Those others in our midst.

And just as Sister Marilyn taught us year’s ago, You don’t exclude anyone from the beauty of Your truth. Nonetheless, like Mary, we each have to consent to Your will. When called by You, each of us has to say our own grace-filled, faith-filled ‘Yes’ to You and to Your Son.

Just say ‘Yes’

Now in this time of turmoil, my child, be My Light by how you live your life. Give witness to the truth of My love. Then, share the gift of love that I share with you. I’ll show You how.

To share and uplift other believers? Yes.

To make room for You, Lord—God’s own Word-made-flesh? Yes.

To be love for all those others among us—the least, the lost and the hopeless, the revolting, the reviled, and the wretched? Yes.

To include in our work and in our lives these other ones—forgotten for too long, ignored too fully? Yes.

For how else might they come to know Me?

Must we strengthen our resolve? Yes.
Understand Your Word better? Yes.
Prepare to share Your love with those who hate us and You? Yes.
Learn to be holy not just in our homes and our protected enclaves, but in public for all to see — to be Your light in our world’s darkness? Yes.

Are we ready?

As others scream and slur,
As they deface and disparage You,
As they have and surely will again,
Will we run away, like Peter and the others,
Will we deny You, again and again?
As they seize and distort our speech,
As they defame Your gifts,

Are we prepared? I pray so.

Will we turn our other cheek, Father,
The one of love offered,
Only to be rejected and scorned,
As You were? As Your Son was?

As others point at us with their accusations and allegations;
As they brutalize our hearts with their hatred,
And fill our world with their idols,
Are we prepared, even so, to include them in our lives,
But not give them our souls,
All for Your love of them?

Am I prepared? I pray so.

Loving heart to heart

The killing of George Floyd, the righteous anger, the protests against allowing whatever caused this awful murder to stand, the dark forces of opportunistic riots and looting, the hatred and loathing — it all makes me so sad, Father.

Where are You in all this?

How did we get here? What now? What can we do? What can I do?

You’ve placed several suggestions along my way in the last few days:

o Find ways to bridge the divide, to walk with others, to listen, and to help them carry their crosses;

o Erase the margins separating us from those other ones that You love, Holy Father;

o Stand in awe of their strength, not in judgement of the burdens they carry;

o Focus not on how awful things are, but on how I can help make things better for just one other of these other ones;

o Learn to feel a deepening sense of gratitude for the gifts and graces You’ve already given us — by way of our birth, of our country, of our neighborhood, of our circumstance — gifts we did not earn or deserve, and through this;

o Strengthen our conviction to share these gifts to help others where they are right now…where we are right now;

And what about all the government programs created to help people less fortunate, families in need, the homeless, the addicted, those living in alone and in fear, those living without hope?

Help me to remember that government can never be the whole solution. Well-intended social aid is both a demonstration and a reminder of the generous spirit of this country, an example of what we want to stand for as a nation.

But the exchange, too often, tarnishes the mutual love of a gift freely given and graciously received. Maybe not always, but too often — and almost by its nature — such public aid preempts heart touching heart. The personal charity that blesses both the giver and recipient, too often, goes missing. And in our increasingly secularized world, aid programs erect a barriers between giver and recipient. Instead of love offered, love returned, love passed on to others, we are left with a cold, dehumanizing transaction where the dignity of the recipient is stripped, the giver feels extorted and coerced, and the life-giving breath of God’s grace is choked out.

Without Your participation, Holy Lord, evil enters and upends the beauty of our intent. More and more fingers of corruption and agents of self-dealing insinuate themselves, stealing the essence of the gifts and passing on only foul, despoiled remnants of Your original love.

And the demons dance with glee. As they sew chaos and confusion on our streets, disdain and division into the hearts of Your innocent, unsuspecting ones, they delight in our impotence and misunderstanding.

We need You, Holy Father. I pray that You send Your firm, but gentle touch to heal us, Your steady hand to guide us. Send us, I pray, the healing light of Your love. Make it shine so brightly in our world that evil quivers in submission, releases its hold on us, and yields way to Your hegemony. Oh Lord of all things, unite us into one body, one love, in and through Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lived and died that we might live in the fullness of Your glory.

In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.

Meditation before the Blessed Sacrament – Help heal our wounded love

Have you nothing to annoy you? My child, tell Me your annoyances, with every detail. Who has pained you? Who has wounded your self-love? Who has treated you contemptuously? Tell Me all, and then say that you forgive and forget; and I will give you My blessing.

I have a close friend, Holy Lord. You know her. You love her and long for her to be Your own, just as I do.

She and I disagree on so much—on how we view most of the world’s issues. She doesn’t believe in Your Son’s divinity. When I’ve tried to share my faith with her, she so strongly rejects my words — even going so far as to tell me not to talk “that way” — that I have since tried to avoid any direct mention of You or Your work in my life.

That happened a while ago, Father. But, I don’t know that I’m any better at describing You now. People who already believe understand. But, talking about You — trying to capture in words Your beauty and majesty — requires a whole different language…loftier concepts, better words, more precise images…or maybe that’s all wrong. Maybe, the key is in what I do, more than in what I say or how I say it. In any case, the solution so far is for us to speak of other things.

During this time of Covid 19 and self-quarantining, our conversations have seemed both more needed and more strained. She describes herself as stressed over these circumstances. I can hear her stress in her voice. Brittle, high pitched, hard-edged, frustrated.

I get it. I think all of us feel some of this, although I feel almost guilty at how reassured and consoled I have felt by Your constant Presence with me through it all. I’ve mostly felt energized and rejuvenated by this solitary retreat.

I long to ease her fears with my faith. I long to tell her that there’s something larger, stronger, higher out there — You, Holy Lord — who is in control and who loves her and who wants to help carry her burdens and ease her fears. But it seems as though even my joy — maybe especially my joy — upbraids her emotions even more deeply.

There must be better words — more patient, more kind, more comforting — than I seem to have for her. I’m sorry, Father. You’ve given me so much. I wish I could find a way to share it all with her.

Still, You’re in charge. So, I lift it up and leave it all in Your care…again and again.

When she abruptly hung up on our most recent conversation, I texted her to express my regret for our differences that have walled whole parts of ourselves off from one another. Since then, we’ve texted some. But we’ve not spoken. Baby steps, I guess. Ones we’ve taken on the same road traveled too many times before.

I texted her about planting my Mary Garden and sent her pictures. She loves to grow beautiful flowers and to paint and create beautiful things. I don’t know if she’ll ever engage in a real conversation with me about ‘why a Mary Garden?’ or what it means to me or why I planted it in May or why I prayed for Your blessing of it in my Rosary prayers. But, it is there for her to experience.

I pray that Your spirit moves in her and touches her heart. I don’t know what else to do, Father.

As to forgiving and forgetting, as You ask above of me? I’m not angry. I feel bad that she feels bad. I don’t know how to fix it. It feels as though my continuing to try to talk only exacerbates the situation.

So, forgive me, Father, and help me to wait in patience. And with this prayer help me to move to forget the pain of knowing there must be something more I could do, could have done, should say, should have said.

Thy will be done, Holy Lord, in Your time. Until then, I pray for Your mercy on her, and on me. I pray that You heal her wounds and me of mine, and that You save her from the snares of the Devil, as You save me each day. I pray that You free her, as You’ve freed me, from all that weighs her down and binds her from reaching her arms out wide and embracing the freedom of living her life in and through You.

And I pray that through Your grace and if it is Your will, I may recognize the opportunities You offer me in the future to tell her about Your work in my life.

As a post script, Father, and during this time of immense sadness for the pain and woundedness of our world and especially that of the family of George Floyd, I pray for Your mercy on all of us. I pray for Your healing and comfort for wounds inflicted throughout our time, both intended and untended. I pray that You save and protect all of us from the wickedness and the snares of the Devil. And I pray that You free us of our chains that we might live free of slavery to any will but Yours, oh heavenly Lord.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen.

Meditation for the Blessed Sacrament – Satan and All His Works

Confide to Me your failures; I will show you the cause. Whom do you wish to see interested in your work? I am the Master of all hearts, My child, and I lead them gently where I please. I will place about you those who are necessary to you; never fear!

I have come to You often with deep concern and a deepening sense of failure and guilt for my step-daughter and her son. They struggle so and there seems so little anyone has been able to do to help.

You placed on my way last week a new book about the “world’s most popular exorcist,” Fr. Gabrielle Amorth, who passed away in 2016. It’s called “The Devil Is Afraid Of Me.

I’ve long feared for the souls of several people close to me. I have been tormented by the glee the Devil must take in so nearly capturing their unwitting hearts.

I’ve prayed. You know, Father. We’ve talked often about them. But it hasn’t felt … what? …efficacious? It feels as though my prayers — so often, my whining sense of impotence — aren’t enough, that somehow more is needed. More focus. More heart, maybe. More holy. More intense? There was this sense that what I am praying for is so weighty, so immense that there just needs to be something more, something better that I should sacrifice on their behalf.

After reading about Fr. Amorth, I feel You’ve offered me, if not the answer, then at least an answer.

What Fr. Amorth counseled for a lay person like me, who was trying to help save a soul of a loved one is simple: A strong faith. Period.

Joy of joys. I have that. I want to have it, anyway. I want to have complete faith in Your goodness and Your almighty power. Show me how. Strengthen my faith, Holy Lord.

Fr. Amorth directed emphatically that laity should not be dabblers (my word, not his) in exorcism or in any kind of occult. He suggested, though, that praying a Rosary of Liberation can be a fruitful enterprise. I was unfamiliar with this prayer. Apparently, so too are many others, Father, as acknowledging and understanding Satan and his forces has fallen out of favor over the centuries.

“Prayers are efficacious, if they are done with faith, humility, and charity (therefore without any material interest,)” says Marcello Stanzione speaking about Fr. Amorth. “Praying for one another is a recommendation that comes to us from God. Each one can do it in conformity with the faith that he derives from his baptism — that is, the priesthood of his baptism; and it is even more efficacious with the ministerial priesthood. These are cases of private prayer that have nothing to do with the sacramental of exorcism. But they are prayers that bear much fruit.”

I’ve so far only prayed one such Rosary of Liberation, but I during my first experience with it, I was gradually filled with a joyful certainty and confidence in its strength and benefit.

What a beautiful sacrifice of love. How could it go unnoticed, Father?

And, if it is Your will that the snares and entanglements of their lives be loosened and eventually that they be freed, then I know with certainty, that in Your mercy and through Your healing and saving grace, they will indeed be really and truly freed.

Little did I realize that, in this new grace, I too would be liberated from the debilitating sense that somehow I needed to do more than have complete faith in You to act when and however You know is best.

Meditation before the Blessed Sacrament – My Lord and My God

And have you no thoughts of zeal for Me? Are you not anxious to do a little good for the souls of your friends, for those whom you love, and who, perhaps, forget Me? Tell Me who interests you, what motives urge you, what means you wish to take.

Holy Father, Your presence never leaves me. Help me, I pray, that I never leave You, never separate from Your life-renewing spirit. I love You, my loving Father, and do not find in any other circumstance the peace we share here together.

Yet, when life intervenes and calls me to action, worldly responsibilities and distractions can take me from You. I’m sorry. Don’t let go of me, Holy Lord. I need You and I love You. Even when I am doing Your will, I can, it seems, lose sight of You. This human brain and heart seem only ever able to focus on one thing at a time.

Yet, I pray that all things in my life should be ordered by Your will. You first, Father, and only then, all else.

So, if I have one prayer for myself today, Father, it is this: Forgive me. Have mercy on my weaknesses. Cleanse my sin-filled heart. Show me Your Way. Teach me to love You and others as myself. Mold me to be Your own. Make me worthy of Your love that I might one day say with confidence: My Lord and My God, to You only do I commend my life and my spirit.

Meditation before the Blessed Sacrament – a garden for Mary

I read a piece recently on the six things every good Catholic household needs. I’ve also been reacquainting myself with our garden, Father — Yours and mine — after a too-long hiatus (a subject for another day). And, it’s May — Mary’s month. You’ve brought all these frayed ends together, Father, in a lovely plan for Our Lady.

Our fifth meditation is timely:

Have you no plans to interest you? Tell Me all about them. Do they concern your vocation? What do you think of? What would you like? Are you planning some pleasure for your mother, for your family, for your guardian? What do you wish to do for them?

During our worldwide retreat into ourselves by Your grace, You have given me the enthusiasm and the time and the resources I need to build a Marian garden. You’ve offered just the right place for it, too. It’s perfect along a heavily shaded and mercilessly ignored side of our house. It’s private, cool, and protected by an umbrella of trees.

And most of the basics — brick for the floor, a pedestal to hold Our Lady’s statue, even a metal bench — are already just laying around the yard waiting for their purpose to be better defined.

Add a simple trellis and some shade plantings, (especially meaningful for Marian devotion — bleeding hearts, lilies of the valley, Lenten rose), some crushed rock for the boggy path (that has needed help for some time), maybe some little LED lights. It’ll be lovely, Father! Thank You! Even the existing trailing ivy, which has to continually be removed from attaching itself to our foundation, can be trained to climb the trellis and find its new holy purpose.

What a wonderful project for this special month. Please bless my efforts, Holy Lord, and make it a beautiful and holy space. Amen