10.1.23: Heaven

As soon as I started to pray last Monday, fresh prayers began to arrive. It was all I could do to keep up with them, and at one point, to my horror, I thought I had accidentally erased a whole piece. Fortunately, I managed to find it in the end. Here is one of the prayers I received that day:

Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8; NLT). 

Heaven
Is being one with God –
From genesis
Before our birth,
Through trials and sorrows
Here on earth;
In loss and gain,
In joy and pain –
Forever one
In love.

Heaven
Is being one with God –
Let’s offer thanks,
Rejoice and pray,
And follow Jesus
Every day.
Let’s seek his face,
And share his grace –
Forever one
In God.

Heaven
Is being one with God –
Let’s praise his name
With every breath,
And walk with him
In life and death.
Then, safe ashore,
We will adore –
Forever one
With God.

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).

4.1.23: When I leave

This is the last of the four prayers I was given on New Year’s Eve. It brought me a sense of relief and comfort to grasp fully that every kind of physical, mental and emotional suffering comes to an end when we die.

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV).

Lord,

When I leave my body here,
I’ll also leave my pain,

And when I leave my mind for good,
I’ll leave my burdens, too.

When I leave my heart on earth,
I’ll leave my grief, as well,

But I won’t leave my soul behind, 
For it is one with you.

The person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him (1 Corinthians 6:17; NLT).

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever (Revelation 21:4; NLT). 

3.1.23: Acceptance

Today’s prayer is the third of four which all arrived together on New Year’s Eve.

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT).

This is how I am, Lord,
I accept it.
I want to do your will,
And not my own.

I want to follow you, Lord,
So I humbly bear my cross;
Like you, I offer thanks
For grief and pain.

This is how I am, Lord,
I embrace it.
I want to do your will,
And to endure.

I want to be like you, Lord,
So I’m walking in your steps:
Like you, I must face death
To rise again.

Those who die in the LORD will live; their bodies will rise again! (Isaiah 26:19; NLT).

28.12.22: Come, Jesus

Context: This prayer arrived on Christmas Day, and took two more days to write. Maybe I’m slowing down in my old age…

He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20; NLT). 

Come, Jesus, come –
Be born again in me,
And I in you.

I’ll do my best
To share your cross,
Your love for others, too.

The way is long,
The path is hard –
My efforts seem in vain,

But, Lord, despite
My fruitlessness, I long
To serve your name.

For you’re my Saviour
And my King,
My genesis and goal,

So come, Lord, come –
I offer you my heart, mind, strength
And soul.

You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength (Mark 12:30; NLT).


References

I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3; NLT).

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them (1 John 4:16; NLT).

The gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it (Matthew 7:14; NLT).


The Rosary Hospital

To my great pleasure, the rosaries posted before Christmas are gradually reaching their destinations, despite the postal strikes and challenging weather conditions.

Meanwhile, I remade my Fiat rosary with the inadequate knot. It came out much better the third time, so I have no regrets about starting again – it’s all good practice.

One exciting development (from a purely personal point of view), is that over the last few days I’ve become more confident about the strength of my joining knots, so I’ve stopped reinforcing them with superglue. It’s taken quite a while to reach this stage, but I’m pleased to be getting there. Purists don’t use glue when making rosaries – perhaps mine could be held together with faith!

If you would like more rosary news, or if you have any broken rosaries to donate, you are very welcome to contact me at “The Rosary Hospital”, on Facebook.

Lastly, here is the Fiat rosary I made today:

25.12.22: Christmas Day

Context: God often gives me a special prayer well in advance, ready to post on Christmas Day, but this year it didn’t happen. In fact, I had begun to think there would be no Christmas prayer at all this year. To begin with, I felt I should be able to write something appropriate, but I knew I couldn’t do this without inspiration, so eventually I placed the matter in God’s hands, and let it go.

Then, on the 21st of December, I received a long Christmas prayer, which was very difficult to put into words, to condense, and to edit. Eventually it took the form of a spoken exchange. The first section pictures Christ speaking to us, whilst the second pictures us responding to him.

✝️ She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them (Luke 2:7; NLT). 

I was born in the shadow of want,
And lived in the shadow of fear.

I worked in the shadow of hate,
But knew that my Father was near.

I wept in the shadow of grief,
And prayed in the shadow of pain.

I walked in the shadow of death,
Then rose, to save all, and to reign.

The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15; NLT).


✝️ We all have sinned against you (Jeremiah 14:20; NLT). 

Though we dwell in the shadow of sin,
And grieve in the shadow of loss,

We pray, and give thanks, and rejoice,
For we follow your way of the cross.

Though we walk in the shadow of death,
We trust in your staff and your rod.

Lord, you are here, in earth’s darkness,
So we sing in the shadow of God.

Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 63:7; NLT).


Christmas greetings:

My very best wishes to every reader who visits this website. May God bless you. I pray for you all every day.

✝️  With love, and many thanks for your support, from Ruth xxxxxxx

13.12.22: Suffering #3

Sunrise over the sea, taken from my front door yesterday morning

Context: On Sunday evening I was reading about the Annunciation, and reflecting on how Mary freely chose to bear God’s Son. Then today’s question and answer dialogue came straight into my mind, all at once:

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38; KJV). 

I want your will to be done, not mine (Matthew 26:39; NLT).

Will you accept this illness?
Yes, I will, Lord.
Do you accept this pain?
Yes, Lord, I do.

Can you accept this trouble?
Yes, I can, Lord,
And I’ll embrace my cross with joy
For you.

Will you accept this burden?
Yes, Lord, freely.
Do you accept this grief?
Yes, Lord, I do.

 Can you accept this anguish?
Yes, Lord, gladly,
So I’ll give thanks, and bear my cross
For you.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18; NIV).


References 

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT).

I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church (Colossians 1:24; NLT). 

If we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT). 

Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:10; NLT). 

Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34; NLT).


Rosary-making news: The Rosary Hospital (with thanks to J.W.)

On Sunday I finally hit on the best way for me to make Fiat Rosaries successfully. These rosaries help the user to explore all four mysteries in one cycle of prayer. The story of how they began is available here: https://associationfiat.com, in several different languages.

The same evening, a friend offered to send me some broken rosaries, to my great delight. I’ve already received a box of similar materials from a shop in Walsingham, and am recycling their usable parts to make corded rosaries.

My husband commented dryly that I’m now running a “Rosary Hospital”, which felt instantly significant. As I don’t charge for what I make, recycling rosary parts helps to keep my costs down. If recipients want to, they can donate to the Community of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Making rosaries is a spiritual exercise, and a form of ministry which brings me great pleasure and purpose, though I still have much to learn. If the Rosary Hospital idea develops further, I’ll post about it here.

Meanwhile, here is yesterday’s non-Fiat rosary (making one each day is enough for my arthritic hands). It’s extra large, chunky and tactile, made especially for an elderly lady:

12.12.22: Suffering #2 (for B.B.)

Context: Today’s prayer continues my exploration of how God can use our willingly-embraced and gladly-offered suffering to help others. This thread started just a few days ago. Here is a link, in case you want to read that blog first: https://wp.me/p45bCr-cZE. I’m now numbering these linked prayers about suffering, as there is at least one more to come.

I am nothing but dust (Genesis 18:27; NIV).

I’m nothing but dust, Lord,
I’m nothing but sin;
I’m nothing but grief,
And I’m nothing, within.

Yet, Jesus, like you,
I am ready to sup:
To share in your anguish,
And drink from your cup.

So I offer my suffering,
Sickness, and pain:
May your will be done, Lord,
Again and again.

I offer my life,
And I offer my death:
May I share your sorrows,
Then enter your rest.

Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29; NLT).

God’s rest is there for people to enter (Hebrews 4:6; NLT).


References 

He became anguished and distressed (Matthew 26:37; NLT).

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Matthew 26:39; NLT). 

Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptised with my baptism of suffering” (Mark 10:39; NLT).

O LORD, I give my life to you (Psalm 25:1; NLT). 

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; NIV). 

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (John 16:33; NLT).

I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church (Colossians 1:24; NLT). 

Since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering (Romans 8:17; NLT). 

Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies (2 Corinthians 4:10; NLT). 

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18; NIV).


Rosary-making news:

On Saturday I made a requested five-decade rosary for my priest, which for some reason proved very difficult, though I managed in the end. Today I’ve made one and a half rosaries, and am starting to feel more confident about my method, as it slowly evolves:

5.12.22: In everyone

Context: I’m still very weary after having covid, and am hardly writing at all. So I’m glad to be able to dip into my store-house, and share this prayer with you. It came to me last September:

There is one Lord …who is over all and in all and living through all (Ephesians 4:5-6; NLT). 

Lord,

You’re in everyone and everything –
All I see, hear, taste, smell and touch.

You give all I receive,
And you take away everything I lose.

You share all my sensations,
Including pain, fatigue and suffering.

You share all my emotions,
Including joy, fear and sorrow.

Please help me to learn from all I experience,
Both “good” and “bad”.

I dedicate myself to you, and to your service,
Just as I am.

May I take up my cross each day,
And follow your example.

May everything I think, say and do
Express your love.

I ask all this in your holy name.
✝️ Amen.

I will do whatever you ask in my name (John 14:13; NIV).

3.12.22: As I wake

Context: As I wake, eyes still closed, I’m in my familiar, warm, dimly-lit inner space, looking down at the dark, still surface of my unconscious mind, repeating, “I love you, Lord; I love you.” 

The face of the deep begins to stir, creating ripples which spread out from the centre until they are lost from my sight in the surrounding darkness. Then I hear myself saying aloud, “Let it be done to me according to thy word”. After this, I lie in silence, amazed and awed.

Eventually, I pick up my iPad, and start to write down what happened. I have a sense that something is coming: a change, a gain, a loss? What might it be? I feel a ripple of apprehension and excitement, which persists throughout the day.


References 

Darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:2; NLT). 

An angel of the Lord came from time to time and stirred up the water (John 5:4; NLT). 

I love you, Lord; you are my strength (Psalm 18:1; NLT). 

Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word (Luke 1:38; KJV). 

Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29; NIV). 

Then Jesus told the centurion, “Go. As you have believed, let it be done for you” (Matthew 8:13; CSB). 

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10; RSV).

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT).

23.11.22: Covid

Context: I have very long experience of living with chronic illness and fatigue, but it’s interesting to observe how wearing it is to have Covid on top of this. Although I tested negative for the first time last Sunday, my symptoms continue, and the virus certainly isn’t giving up its grip yet.

I’m vividly aware that all around the world hundreds of thousands have died of their infection, whilst countless others are suffering, or have been left disabled. My only coping technique is to say, “Yes”, to God at every moment, and to keep on whispering, “Thank you, Jesus.”

It’s impossible to predict the outcome of this illness for each individual, including me, so all I can do is to put my trust God, who brings good from everything, no matter what happens:

I love you, LORD; you are my strength (Psalm 18:1; NLT). 

I love you
As I wake again
To yet another
Day of pain.
Don’t leave me here
To live in vain,
I pray.

I love you,
And I seek your face.
I long to know
Your warm embrace,
Receive your kiss,
And share your grace –
One day.

I love you,
And I choose your will,
With thanks
For every good and ill.
Lord, help me, please,
For you are still
My Way.

Jesus told him, “I am the way” (John 14:6; NLT).


References 

Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless (Philippians 2:16; NLT). 

The LORD will work out his plans for my life – for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me (Psalm 138:8; NLT).

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek (Psalm 27:8; NIV). 

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace (Titus 1:4; NLT). 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16; NIV). 

All of you share in God’s grace with me (Philippians 1:7; NIV). 

I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT). 

I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things (Isaiah 45:7; NLT). 

When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn (Psalm 142:3; NLT). 

Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left (Isaiah 30:21; NLT).