“Jesus knows I have only one wish in this world – to love Him and Him alone.  For the rest He has carte blanche to do as He pleases in my regard.  I just leave myself in His loving hands, and so have no anxiety or care, but great peace of soul.  ‘Take O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my health and strength, my limbs and flesh, my blood and my very life.  Do with me just as You wish; I embrace all lovingly – sufferings, wounds, death – if only it will glorify You one tiny bit.'” – Fr.  William Doyle, SJ (d. 1917)

A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our blog readers. This post has been long in coming, but at last it is here! We had a lovely and beautiful Christmas here at Our Lady of Solitude, blessed as we were to have our beloved old friend, Fr. Fred Adamson, celebrate the Masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Enjoy the pics above taken on Christmas Eve.

No sooner did the Octave festivities end than a Duc In Altum retreat began (on January 2nd). We had five wonderful young ladies here spending time in silent retreat, discerning God’s Will for their life. We extend our special thanks to the ever-faithful Fr. Paul Sullivan who helped to lead the retreat. Throughout the retreat, Fr. Sullivan and I give short talks each day to the retreatants and he is available for spiritual direction. (If you are interested in learning more about these retreats, click here).

All the past Duc In Altums have been pulled off without a single glitch. This one, however, was a little different – at least it was for me (me being Sr. Mary Fidelis). Yes, this time there was something of a lil glitch – unexpected, unmistakable, and unforgettable.

In the evening of the first day of the retreat, the flu decided to make a little visit to yours truly. I tried to deny it: “Surely, I must have just eaten a bad chestnut.” But as the day progressed, it was undeniably the flu. God love all my Sisters who pulled together to be sure that everything ran smoothly in my absence – and a special cheer to Sr. John-Mark who gave the talks for me without much prep time at all!

But now to the point (which isn’t at all about the flu!): As I convalesced in my cell, praying for the retreatants and wishing the flu away, I picked up my favorite Fr. Willie Doyle book and opened to the quote with which I began this blog: “For the rest, He has carte blanche to do as He pleases in my regard.” Well, here I had before me – very much against my will – an opportunity to “just leave myself in His loving hands and have no anxiety but great peace of soul.” What a lesson!

Have you ever found yourself fighting against the inevitable, the unexpected, sickness, delay, disappointment, and the like? Fighting and saying: “But this isn’t how it was ‘supposed’ to be!” or “This wasn’t part of my plan!”.

Thinking on this, I was struck with a thought of the Little Drummer Boy. The Sisters and I enjoyed singing the Carol of the Drum this Christmas: “Pa rum pum pum pum…” And we also watched the old 60’s claymation version of the story. You know how the story runs: The little drummer boy experienced his poverty as he met the Newborn King. The Three Wise Men each had kingly gifts to give (kingly and prophetic!). But how could this poor little orphan greet this Babe without any gift to give (and with his heart full of anger because of his parents’ death). Then, he came up with idea (at this same time he began to soften and let go of the anger): “I’ll play my drum for Him. I’ll play my best for Him. Mary nodded. The ox and ass kept time. I played my best for Him. Then He smiled at me. Me and my drum. Pa rum pum pum pum.”

Throughout our lives, like it or not, there are many times when we come face to face with our own poverty. Does this not happen most frequently in the face of the inevitable, the unexpected, sickness, delay, disappointment and the like? Sometimes we face it in big ways with the unexpected death of a loved one or a serious illness. Other times we face it in much smaller ways with cancelled flights and nasty flus.

Well, here’s an idea: since most of us have no kingly gifts nor any drum to play, why don’t we try presenting to Him the very experience of our poverty in the face of the unexpected, the inevitable, grief, sickness, etc.

True enough, I’ve no gold, frankincense, or myrrh to offer the Lord today on the Feast of the Epiphany, but I do have the flu. And I can give Him my peaceful acceptance of it.  I can give to Him my embracing of the cross (big or small). I can give it to Him ‘carte blanche’. I can give it to Him without fighting or kicking against the goad or even wishing it away one moment before He wills. “Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum… me and my flu – da doot doot doot do!”  Now here’s the clincher…when we do this, in due time the flu (or whatever we are offering from our poverty) passes away – but the love of the offering, well, it is endures…pa rum pum pum pum!

The Feast of the Epiphany is a celebration held very close to the hearts of all PCPA’s. Like the Magi, we too are called to adore this Babe of Bethlehem, hidden in the Most Blessed Sacrament. So let us adore Him with our whole hearts, with our poor hearts, with our hearts that belong entirely to Him!

“Live for the day, as you say – but let it be a generous day.  Have you ever tried giving God one day in which you refused Him NOTHING, a day of absolute generosity?” – Fr.  Doyle