What a momentous and AMAZING few weeks. Years. Life.
Three Saturdays ago I did my first ever confession at Westminster Cathedral, which you can read about here I Confess. By complete accident, (else miracle) my confessional moment was the 7th year anniversary of my Daddy’s death to the hour. And then after my confession (whilst in Grace) in the lady chapel, the Archbishop and his clergy in their beautiful red and gold gowns accidentally, else quite miraculously blessed me with a fly past procession. After my arduous and long journey to get here, it was all really rather God Blessed and special.
Two Saturday’s ago the very same Archbishop prayed an intimate Mass for 30 students, at my university. He gave a beautifully poignant and very special homily, which is still resonating today. I received from him an ever special blessing. He lovingly and carefully traced a cross on my forehead, and lay his hand upon my shoulder and gently squeezed it. I felt truly held and blessed. We all then personally met him over lunch, which was so special for me. I talked of my forthcoming reception into full communion with Rome, and he said he would remember me in his prayers. The reverence which emanates from us all is so important, because what others receive (as I did) from the often unrealised due care and mindfulness of others, can be such a blessing, a treasure to behold, both for the immediate moment, else for the rest of our lives. The impact we have upon others, unbeknownst to us, can be so truly profound.
Last Saturday was Pentecost Eve, the 26th May 2012. In a modest and simple, though perfectly personal and long-awaited beautiful Mass (in our very special and holy, humble little church) I was officially received (FINALLY) into full communion with Rome. Surrounded by my very special loving church family, two dearest friends, and my children. Now every year at Pentecost I will celebrate my reception, as well as the treasure of God bestowed Love.
So much Love. God so present.
I have a bright and Loving nature, and have had to learn much humility in my seemingly un-selfconcious personal confidence. It has always puzzled me how anyone could ever be anything other than confident, in being themselves. (Even when we get things wrong). (Even in our shyness and awkwardness). If we are truly us, with an all loving, ever truthful, genuine heart, as created and intended by God, with all our humanity and fallibility and lovableness, how can we ever cease to be anything but confident in our being fully His creation. Albeit with learning great humility in our flawedness and our questioning.
Having said that, although confident in who I am, I still get very nervous and quite shy when I am the focus of attention, especially in front of many. During my reception Mass, I had to sit right at the very front of the church, where as usually I sit right at the very back. It is quite a different perspective. I was a little worried that my deeply charged emotions might release themselves, and over-spill uncontrollably before everyone. Those closest know that I don’t feel things by half. On occasions I cry when I am sad, I rejoice when I am happy, I also cry when I am happy and rejoice in a melancholy way at life’s glorious sadness’.
Thankfully two of my precious little children were altar servers and they were watching the every expression on my face, and as my priests words held me glassy-eyed, their presence held me quietly together. Whilst throughout the whole Mass I held tightly in the cusp of my hands (in deepest prayer) my precious rosary, from which I will never be parted.
My parish priest delivered his homily face to face with me, through a microphone, (all but a few feet away). He acknowledged with compassion and inspiration the distance I have travelled. ‘Magdalene have great faith that tonight is not some tidy end to the mess of life. The great film of your journey of faith will never get to the credits because it is only just beginning and it will never end. And God has so much in store for you as he has for all of us. Please God we shall believe that and wait expectantly for the gifts of His love for from Christ’s breast flow fountains of living water.’ His genuine thoughtful care, sensitivity and joy at receiving me in, touched me and moved me deeply. I shall never forget the genuine look of reverence in his eyes.
It has been quite a pilgrimage for us all. A journey which has been heart-wrenching in every dimension that I know. But one for us all, where learning to Love unreservedly as God Loves, will ever conquer and transcend this fallible, temporal, restrictive, frustrating, beautiful world and unite us all together, transcendent in Him.
I truly know, that we all must learn to Love unconditionally, courageously and unrestrained with an open heart as God does. To Love those whom at times are difficult to like. To Love those who inspire us, and whose paths and lives intersect and are threaded throughout our own. Those whom we dearly Love, whom God chooses to use as a conduit to reach out to us, and not by denying each other ourselves in the name of seeking higher spiritual graces, but by transcending in kindness and Love together. I believe that the Love we realise on earth shapes us. And That God bestowed Love is no accident or mistake, and not to be rejected, but to be treasured and protected and nurtured and celebrated, as a witness and example, of God on earth, as in Heaven.
I chose my dear old man friend Eddie as my sponsor, he is so very special to me. Eddie from the beginning of time has held me under his wing with such Love. He understands the balance between male and female. He knows true Love unconditional, with no shame and with true dignity. He so shines Christs’ light, and knows the way home to God, to which we All so truly belong. Ed and his lovely wife gave me a white rosary with a crucifix like the one John Paul II used to carry. It had been blessed by John Paul II himself. I have a special affection for pope John Paul who inspires me still, with his journey from that of an actor, to such a deeply prayerful man in practice. I should like to read more about his life, now complete.
For me the special day began with a miracle so bold. A darling friend from Heythrop had given me a package to open on my special morning. I awoke with the sun pouring into my special little sanctuary room, knowing full well that our bidding prayers were going to include prayers for all my friends at Heythrop. And as I lay there I wondered about the gifts. Levitating in that perfectly tensioned state of absolute anticipation before the sheer childish delight of unwrapping. The time felt so right for opening the gifts which had sat there faithfully for a week. When I opened them my heart almost stopped. God jumped right out the box at me. A collection of six top spiritual reads, and a perfectly beautiful marble angel, identical (albeit a larger size) to the one that I had given to a dearest Loved one, at an earlier date. A person whose blessing I so needed.
After Mass, I also received The Sacred Heart of Jesus book from my other darling friend who is so full of Grace. This friend is a very special lady. She is truly the closest in nature to my vision of Mother Mary, that I have ever seen in a woman. This dear friend having had breast cancer seven years ago, has just been diagnosed with incurable bone cancer, she is my age and has three children at school with mine. When my first husband left me, and I collapsed from behind my happy mask into a flood of tears one day (amidst our babies and a pile of baby toys), her and her husband came and sat on the floor with me and hugged and held me. And they did not judge my husband, instead they comforted and supported me, and reassured me that he was a good man at heart, who maybe just needed some time. Wonderful Catholic friends. We are witnesses to each others pilgrimage. To see her smiling and read her happy inscription in my book was so humbling. So blessed that she was well enough to witness and enjoy my reception.
As a gift from the parish I was presented by my priest, with a rather special little book on Mary Magdalene, a book which presented itself to him after he prayed, whilst wandering around St Paul’s bookshop wondering which book to buy. Magdalene is my confirmation name. For she is the saint that has truly been my example of ever enduring, requited, God Blessed eternal Love.
After the wine reception I finally floated back to my little sanctuary. I was feeling so full of Love and so truly blessed by the Holy Spirit, and the loving kindness of my church family. I fell into deepest most peaceful sleep, smiling to myself. Today for the first time ever, all my many spiritual Holy Communions, truly enhanced and intensified the reality of my First Eucharistic Communion with Christ. And as I awoke the following morning, the deep interior warmth and same smile was fixed and shining outwardly upon my face. Honeymoon.
The first day of the rest of my pilgrimage. The Holy Spirit came down upon me. The earth moved, and so it appears did some of the mountains.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:22-24
I believe and trust in Love bestowed by God. And now every possible single day for the rest of my life, my Prayer, Spiritual Communion and the Eucharist, will hold and unite Me and my Beloved . . . as One. In eternal, prayerful, beautiful, truthful, Holy Communion. Forever.
Thanks be to God. Amen †