“….having been associated, as Mother and Minister, with the King of martyrs in the ineffable work of human Redemption, she is always associated, with a practically measureless power, in the distribution of the graces that derive from the Redemption…. And her kingdom is as vast as that of her Son and God, since nothing is excluded from her dominion.” – Pius XII, Radio message to Fatima, Bendito seia, May 13, 1946
I went on a silent retreat this weekend at the beautiful Bethany House. I had really needed it, to fill back up. The bickering and the fighting in the world, it can get you down. This was my trip to the mountain top to pray. It was very healing.
I have to say though, this post is not one I wanted to write. Whenever God shows me something, I always try to discern if it is just for me or if it is something I should share. I would prefer many times not to share, and I had decided that what happened this weekend in my prayer was one of those times it was just for me. But no sooner had I decided it, than God said, “SPEAK.” This is actually the word I got for the year from Jennifer Fulwiler’s word of the year generator. Lord Jesus, I feel like a lamenting Jeremiah. But, alas I will listen.
The reason I am so reluctant to write this is because it is a private revelation to me in private prayer. If the magisterium of the church came out tomorrow and stated what I have written is false, then the church would be correct, and I would be wrong and fooled. So know that as you discern what I write.
To start, I have to back up to May of 2018, because it is actually a sequence of things I have been shown in prayer. The only way I can describe what happens is like this; I will close my eyes in prayer, and in my minds eye I feel as though I am transported to another time and another place, though I am not really. Last May I had just written Saint Joseph terror of demons, a few weeks earlier, and I was at a Sunday morning Mass not really thinking about that. I came back from communion and the children’s choir was singing Gentle Woman. I had a direct line view of the statue of Saint Joseph. I looked at him, knelt down and closed my eyes to pray. I found myself in a place looking at a young man in maybe his 30’s, arms outstretched to the sky, surrounded in light. He was sobbing and crying and giving his all to God. He was totally surrendering. It was so overwhelming to me I also started to cry. It was actually breathtakingly beautiful. Then Mary said to me, “that is Joseph.” I really felt like I was witnessing the moment Joseph surrendered all he had to God. I opened my eyes after what was probably only a minute but felt longer, and I was back at Mass ready for the closing prayer.
Then a couple of weeks ago, probably in December, my friend Ashley and I decided to stay after daily Mass and pray a Rosary. Ashley’s baby is about 5 months old, and in order to give her a break I told her I would hold him while we said the Rosary. I stood up with him, and I did the mom sway back and forth, as I held him close to my chest. At a certain point during the Rosary he tucked his head in between my cheek and my neck, and dozed off to sleep. His fuzzy soft head nestled snugly. At the time, I was staring at another statue of Saint Joseph, holding the baby Jesus. I closed my eyes while praying. I again felt transported. This time I could see Mary holding the baby Jesus in her arms. His head tucked on her neck the same way my friend’s baby was on mine. It was hot. She had sweat on her brow. There was a dirt floor. But she was singing a lullaby to him. And it was so beautiful and so overwhelming because you could palpably feel the love. Again I teared up. I felt like I was being shown an intimate moment. I opened my eyes and continued the Rosary, thanking God for showing me the beauty.
So fast forward to this weekend. It was Friday night, the Vigil of the Presentation. We had a Priest give us a talk and some scripture to meditate on. But he also told us he wanted us to meditate on the word Intimate. He said God wanted to be intimate with us. We began prayer with this as our task. Before I closed my eyes I looked at the picture of Saint Joseph in front of me (pictured above). I closed my eyes, praying to the Lord asking him about intimacy with me. But that wasn’t what he showed me. And again, for the third time I felt transported. This time I was in the same home, with the same dirt floor. Mary was holding Jesus in her arms. But Joseph was there. He kissed Mary on the forehead, and held her and Jesus in his arms. He looked at them with such intense love it again made me cry. God was showing me an intimate moment between them. Now before anyone goes off the rails, I want to be clear; This was NOT SEXUAL. NOT AT ALL. She is Ever-Virgin. What transpired next is what I felt God tell me during this time;
Joseph is very aware of his role as Guardian and Protector of Mary and Jesus. He kissed her with affection and total knowledge of her grace, which was extended to him by God when Joseph said yes to God’s plan and listened to the angel. From the moment the angel addressed Mary as Full of Grace, she became the Mediatrix of Grace. She prayed for Joseph during the time that he wanted to divorce her. Mary desired for his perfection. Joseph was already a righteous man, built from his habits and his love for God. After his dream, he totally consented to the plan of God and he was full of grace from that moment forward. Restored to union; to Jesus through Mary Mediatrix of all Grace. We know from tradition that John the Baptist was cleansed from original sin when he leapt in Elizabeth’s womb. It is why scripture tells us, no one born of woman is greater than John. Her first acts as Mediatrix of all Grace were to extend grace to her earthly spouse and to a child in the womb. Her role, to bring all to union with her Son, starting with a child and a spouse. A spouse to whose authority she submitted. Joseph does not want her body, he knows the sanctity of her and it’s as if glancing at her with the child Jesus takes him into the whirlwind like Job. He cannot even speak of the immensity of it. So, in the quiet of his heart, he adores his foster Son. He loves his Mother, truly. It’s an intimacy most do not understand because most can’t get past the physical.
I pressed God further about this. I said, “Joseph became full of grace?” Jesus answered me and said, “do you not think my home, where I would be raised, would not be surrounded in pure virtue? All good comes from God alone, all grace from God flows through my mother. The Almighty calls you to participate in your divinization. My mother is the greatest example of this.”
I asked further about Joseph, and the fact that who I saw was young, not the old man often depicted. And this is what I wrote from that conversation. Joseph was young. It was not sexual because once one has tasted the immensity of union with God, everything else pales in comparison. It’s like when Aquinas called his work “straw”, all else falls away in nothingness and is not needed. Men, in their limitations, constructed Joseph to be old, not because he was, but because they could not comprehend, nor did they KNOW the magnanimity of God, of union with God. It is a mystery that can make an intellectual giant like Aquinas stop writing because of the nothingness of his writing in comparison. Not many achieve this gaze of love, so we can only relate through our limited physical desires and we denigrate the holy ones who overcame them by the grace of God, placing on them limitations that God Himself has removed. Once you’re infused with the gaze of love the desire becomes God alone and all pure virtue flows through you. Joseph attained this because of her openness and his habitual virtue. The original Hebrew word for woman could be translated as “to be open”. We know too that the Hebrew word for womb came to be known as mercy. Mary was open, open to mercy Himself. Mary was open to receiving God, and as such is a Mediatrix of Grace and the conduit for her earthly spouse to attain that unity with God her son. Joseph adored at the tabernacle that held the King. They are the model of the Domestic Church and it is in the Domestic Church, when it is properly ordered that true love resides, and faith hope and charity should be lived. The sacramental life starts in your homes.
I cried at how little I had understood spousal love. At how much I have tried to control my husband. And how much of my femininity I had lost in trying to control things instead of letting God do what God does. In that time between the angel appearing to Mary and the angel appearing to Joseph, we do not see Mary yelling at Joseph trying to convince him of it. She wasn’t lamenting that she is super holy and he just isn’t as spiritually far a long as she is. What we see is Mary accepting God’s plan, and trusting it. And in doing this, Mary let God be God, and she became a conduit of Joseph’s sanctification.
I have spoken to you before about the man hating spirit, but there is also a woman hating spirit. This woman hating spirit was born of abuse of women over centuries I believe. But in it’s seeming effort to elevate women, it actually denigrates them by denying all that is feminine. Children and the womb are looked at with disdain. Authority gets stolen. I realized that for far too long I had bought into what the culture has become and I did not breathe life into myself and all that I am created to be as the daughter of a King. I try to control too much. It is precisely when we try to control someone that the fighting begins. It is like running into battle alone, when God says, “be still, I will fight for you.” If we breathe love and life into another person, and PRAY for them and wait, God will do the work. Sometimes he does it on them, and sometimes it’s you that needs it. This is why we need to totally surrender.
God longs for us to have the communion that Mary, Joseph and Jesus did. It extends to the communion of Saints. It looks like a Mystical Body that is glorious and healthy. I knew in an instant that my mission on this earth is to pour love into my spouse. And also to pray more ardently for our Priests, who bring us the Eucharist. This is the fruit of my prayer with Mary. To love others more, to pray for them more, so that her Son can bring more people to Salvation. This year I drew Saint Faustina as my Saint for the year, with the intention of growing in deeper union with God. I think Faustina has been speaking with Mary, the Saint of mercy and the Mother of Mercy, both drawing me to closer union with my Lord and Savior. Praise be to God.