Pope Francis’ Prayer Intentions for October, 2016

Posted October 1, 2016 by pussywillowpress
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Blessed October!

Here are our Holy Father’s prayer intentions
for this month dedicated to the Holy Rosary
as found here :


Universal: Journalists
That journalists, in carrying out their work,
may always be motivated by respect for truth
and a strong sense of ethics.

Evangelization: World Mission Day
That World Mission Day
may renew within all Christian communities
the joy of the Gospel
and the responsibility to announce it.

May God bless your prayer!

St. Lucy

Posted December 13, 2015 by pussywillowpress
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I started writing on the wrong readings for Draw Near
(lost track of the fact that it’s a Sunday!),
but what came was too good to trash, so I thought I’d post it here!

Readings specific for St. Lucy:
2 Corinthians 10:17-11:2 (I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ)
Psalm 31: 3-4, 6, 8, 16-17 “Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit”
+ Matthew 25:1-13 (Parable of the wise and foolish virgins)

The Bridegroom comes!

His bride
must be awake,
and swift of foot,
her lamp alight

(not dallying
with denizens
of night)

that she might
enter in
enraptured by
His joy!

They Shall Lift Up Deadly Serpents

Posted December 2, 2015 by pussywillowpress
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Blessed Tuesday!

When I checked this passage in the interlinear Greek

These signs will accompany those who believe:
in My Name they will drive out demons,
they will speak fresh languages.
They will pick up deadly serpents
~Mark 16:17-18

…the word usually translated “pick up” jumped out at me–
the Greek is “lift up”.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
that those who believe in Him may not perish,
but may have life everlasting.
~John 3:14-15


Jesus is referring to Numbers 21:4-9,
when the people God had freed from slavery in Egypt
complained again,
and He permitted fiery serpents to invade the camp
and bite them so that many died.
When the people begged Moses
to ask God to take the serpents away,
God told Moses to make a serpent of bronze and mount it on a pole
so that anyone bitten by a serpent
could look at the bronze serpent and be saved.
He did not take the serpents away!

Now, in the interests of full disclosure,
when Jesus says “lifted up”,
He’s using different Greek words in these two passages,
so the parallel isn’t exact,
but that just allows for a broader range of implications.

The word used when He compares Himself to the bronze serpent
means “to exalt”,
whereas the one referring to believers
carries the implication of “to take away,”
and by Hebraism, “to expiate sin”!

God didn’t take away the serpents in the desert
because the more deadly serpents of rebellion
were still lodged in their hearts.
The physical serpents were needed
to keep the spiritual serpents at bay
(note that all the complaining the Israelites did on that journey
ended with the bronze serpent).

Now that Jesus has been exalted
on the Cross
believers take away deadly serpents
physically and spiritually!

It’s called repentance and conversion–
regretting sin
by a change of heart
and rejecting it
by a change of life.

Then we don’t need
the physical serpents

Living In The Upper Room

Posted November 12, 2015 by pussywillowpress
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We should always look to God as in ourselves,
no matter in what manner we meditate upon Him,
so as to accustom ourselves to dwell in His divine presence.
For when we behold Him within our souls,
all our powers and faculties,
and even our senses,
are recollected within us.
If we look at God apart from ourselves
we are easily distracted by exterior objects.
~St. Margaret Mary

That makes intuitive sense…
but it’s always felt as though finding God within
meant looking down,
below, in my body,
which didn’t quite sit right…

I’m sure that could spark a fruitful meditation on humility…
but in the meantime, Archbishop Ullathorne and the Glorious Mysteries
gave me another tack:

The Glorious Mysteries are about rising
–rising from the dead, rising to Heaven–
and Archbishop Ullathorne (following many others before him)
contrasts our lower (animal) nature
with our higher, grace-infused, nature,
in which we are “already seated with Christ at God’s right hand”
(see Ephesians 2:6).
From thence, He lets fall into my lower nature
the flames of love of the Holy Spirit,
that my lower nature might be lifted up too,
as was the Blessed Virgin Mary.

This superior part of the soul
reminds me of the upper room
the Shunammite woman built for the prophet Elisha
so he would have a place to stay when he passed through
(and where he raised her son from the dead, see 2 Kings 4:8ff),


and of the Upper Room
where Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist,
and where the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles
who had prayed there for nine days.


It’s a place to build within my soul;
a place above;
a place for God to dwell;
a place to meet Him, to welcome Him,
to abide with Him,
to receive His Life;
a place of power.

Its foundation is in Heaven,
not on earth.

The floods of water may reach high
but him they shall not reach
~Psalm 32:6

Though its waters rage and foam,
though the mountains be shaken by its waves,
the Lord of Hosts is with us
The God of Jacob is our stronghold
~Psalm 46:4


The passions flood the lower part of the house;
their waters rage and foam.
But when I discipline myself to stay in the “upper room”,
in the superior part of my nature,
with Jesus,
I don’t get swept away.

The Mighty Lord is with me,
he God of Jacob is my stronghold!

It sure doesn’t take much
to get sucked in.

A Knocking…

Posted November 11, 2015 by pussywillowpress
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Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
If any man listens to My Voice
and opens the door to Me,
I will come in to him
and will sup with him,
and he with Me
~Revelation 3:20

Spiritual Communion
is simply answering
the Divine Lover’s
insistent knock
at the door of my heart,
that He might come in and dine
with me
as He so ardently desires.

A Prayer of Spiritual Communion
I believe You, O Jesus, are in the Most Holy Sacrament!
I love You and desire You.
Come into my heart; I embrace You.
O never leave me!
May the burning and most sweet power of Your love,
O Lord Jesus Christ,
I beseech You,
absorb my mind,
that I may die through love of Your love,
who was graciously pleased to die
through love of my love. Amen.
~ St. Francis of Assisi

Hedged About With Thorns

Posted November 10, 2015 by pussywillowpress
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As I’ve studied verses in an interlinear translation,
I’ve been struck by the Hebrew word “shamar”, usually translated as “keep”,
as in “I will keep Your statutes” (Psalm 119:8)
or “Keep me as the apple of Your eye” (Psalm 17:8).

According to Strongs concordance,
the sense of “shamar” is “to hedge about as with thorns”
(sort of like natural barbed wire, only more formidable)
–rather more visceral than the English!


Then I read this:

Adorable Heart of Jesus,
sanctuary of the love that led God to make Himself man,
to sacrifice His life for our salvation,
and to make of His body the food of our souls:
in gratitude for that infinite charity,
I give You my heart,
and with it all that I possess in this world,
all that I am, all that I shall do,
all that I shall suffer.
But, my God, may this heart, I implore You,
be no longer unworthy of You;
make it like unto Yourself;
surround it with Your thorns
and close its entrance to all ill-regulated affections
set there Your cross,
make it feel its worth,
make it willing to love it.
Kindle it with Your divine flame.
May it burn for Your glory;
may it be all Yours,
when You have done what You will with it.
You are its consolation in its troubles,
the remedy of its ills,
its strength and refuge in temptation,
its hope during life,
its haven in death.
I ask You, O Heart so loving,
the same favor for my companions. Amen.
~Madame Elizabeth,
(Élisabeth Philippine Marie Hélène de France),
sister of Louis XVI


A shock of recognition ran through my soul.

How often the plea is made in Sacred Scripture for God to “keep” us,
and for us to keep His commandments
–which is the same thing!–
and here they are, brought together
in the divine conflagration of Jesus’ Passion,
represented by His Heart, encircled by thorns,
aflame with caritas.

So that’s why God made the ground bring forth thorns
in response to Original Sin! (Genesis 3:18)

Thorns on my Head (Jesus, Colossians 1:18) guard my mind;
thorns around my heart guard my will.

With these two fortresses intact,
I’m impregnable.

Mistaken Identity

Posted October 31, 2015 by pussywillowpress
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All too often, we’re afraid of God.

A lady recently remarked that when she actually registered
what she was saying in the Our Father,
“Thy will be done”,
she was scared to say it for a year!

I identify.

I mean, what if He takes me up on it?
What if His will is something perfectly dreadful–
like letting me suffer?

But then I thought about it.

Who is the accuser? (Revelation 12:9-10)
Who wants our condemnation?
Who wants our destruction? (I Peter 5:8)
Who interprets everything in the worst possible light? (Job 1:9-11, 2:4-5)

It’s not our Heavenly Father!


He’s the One saying proudly,
“Have you seen My servant?!”
(Job 1:8, 2:3),
not letting the devil get away
with his smear campaign,
but showing up his lies
by our victory over him.

It’s the devil’s will
(and our own!)
that’s the really frightful one!

When we’re afraid of God,
what we’re doing
is putting the divine Name
on the devil–
which is exactly what he’s always wanted!
(Isaiah 14:13-14)

The more clearly I see,
the more I flee to,
cling to,
the will of God
as my last hope of salvation.

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