Today began like most other days – I awoke with the resignation that there were, as usual, many more things on my to-do list than hours and energy with which to complete them.
And then I remembered that today is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – one of my most favorite feasts of all time.
In the relative stillness of my heart, I boldly asked for extra grace from Mama Mary today because, hey, I obviously need it, and hey also, she doesn’t have anything better to do, amIrite?
Wouldn’t you know it – the most grace – and joy! – came from doing a few pretty minor things that the Holy Spirit whispered onto my ‘to-do’ list … things that weren’t necessarily my idea but His.
Finding joy in listening to what God asks and actually obeying His wishes? I know. What a concept.
But as I have likely proved via ample evidence a la this blog specifically and random musings on social media in general, I’m a bit slow on the uptake. Things just don’t quite sink into this stubborn head of mine … until they do.
Whisper #1: Be with Me.
Even though I wasn’t dressed in my Sunday best, I’d actually changed out of my pajamas, brushed my hair, and my face was clean-ish … and the littlest offspring had honest-to-goodness shoes on their literal feet … so I decided we would all go to daily Mass. If the only thing we did was go to Mass today, surely that would be something, right?
As is my custom during the proclamation of the Gospel, I closed my eyes and held an impossibly wriggly child, hoping His Word would somehow seep into the marrow of my being, healing and soothing and resurrecting each of my dry bones.
Sure enough, as Father read these words, tears welled up in my eyes:
“And Mary said:
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.'”
In a special way, today I heard these words as if they applied specifically to me:
My soul proclaims and rejoices.
He has looked with favor upon me, His lowly servant.
He has done great things for me.
Holy is His Name – I praise Him.
It was impossible to ignore the personal, practical application of the text, even as I unsuccessfully wrestled the 3-year-old boy who has, of late, been uncharacteristically clingy.
The proclamation continued:
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”
Underneath the currents of the literal meaning of these words, I also heard:
He has shown mercy to me.
He shows mercy to my children.
He lifts me up.
He fills me up.
He comes to help me.
He remembers the promises He has made to me.
He remembers the promises He has made to my children.
Tears of joy.
The lesson from Whisper 1? I love you, Heather. I always have. I will never forsake or abandon you. I give you myself. Forever.
This experience, coupled with the graces received by receiving Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, propelled me into …
Whisper #2: Celebrate Life.
I reasoned that I had to go to the store anyway, so why not pick up a few extra things to drop off for a friend’s birthday? After all, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate this Feast than by celebrating her life, especially as ridiculous scheduling and sickness and life has kept me from seeing her IRL as often as I’d like.
Whisper #3: ___________.
I’m not gonna go into too many details about this whisper because it’s still in-process. I did what I felt the Spirit was asking, but I don’t think the eagle has landed, so to speak. Suffice to say – maybe someone will feel encouraged and uplifted today because I took a moment to consider her needs as more important than my silly, superficial to-do list.
Lessons from whispers 2 & 3, respectively? Be His hands and feet. However and whenever He calls.
The rest is really just silliness – every single bit of it. The very best to-do list is the one that is crafted by the Holy Spirit. Hands down and chin up.
God bless y’all.