“Lord, You will open my lips and my mouth will proclaim Your praise” (Ps. 51:17)

The Lady Altar, from where the Blessed Virgin smiles graciously upon all those who come to pay homage to Her Son.

It’s very tempting on this final day of the year 2018 to look back at what has passed, and so I am writing one of those rare ‘editorial’ posts, which are fairly uncommon here on this website.

When I think back upon what has meant the most to me over this past year, the answer is an easy one; the little visits I have paid to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament at my parish Church, where – thankfully – the doors remain unlocked during the day. Such was the case earlier this afternoon, once I had finished work.

I slipped into the stillness and silence of this beautiful old Church and spent some time with the Master, just He and I. We had the illumination of the sanctuary lamp and the twinkling of some votive candles, while the last of the daylight filtered in through the stained glass of the windows, although that light was beginning to fade. Other than this, there was only silence and the whispering of my prayers.

Before speaking with the Lord, I approached His Mother, which is my habit; She prepares the way for me, as it were, and so I tell Her all my needs at the Lady Altar, from where She gazes upon all the souls who come to Her Son. She is always so very kind and gracious, listening patiently, correcting me, pointing me anew toward Her Son, and moving His Heart with Her petitions on my behalf. Then, I went across and knelt before the Tabernacle.

Kneeling there, I poured out my heart to the Lord, telling Him about this past year and all it has contained – my hopes, concerns, troubles and problems, desires, and numerous failures in His service – and then casting all of it into the fire of His love, to be consumed there like the straw it is. This year has been a difficult one, with a particular trial which began at the start of Lent and which remains with me even now; I had two brief respites from it – once, immediately after a Novena to the Holy Spirit earlier in the year, and again on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, also briefly. If the Lord is happy to leave me with this, then so be it; He has His reasons for doing so. I perceive some of the lessons it is teaching me and I perceive how much more is asked of me in the bearing of this trial, but I cannot perceive the Lord’s fuller plan, as that is for Him alone. And so, I simply leave it all in His hands and I trust in Him.

My little visits, made frequently, are the brightly sparkling gemstones scattered along the path of this year, and lighting the way. For every one of them, with all the many graces they have brought, I am deeply humbled and thankful to the Lord and His Mother. 

To anyone reading this, I can say only this – go often before the Lord in the Tabernacle, as frequently as you can, even if only for a few moments. To do so, is a foretaste of Heaven itself and they are the most beautiful and peaceful moments on earth.

Dear Lord, I leave this past year in Your pierced Hands and consign it to Your mercy; and I beg of You every grace You have planned for me in the year to come.

And my dearest heavenly Mother, I beg You never to leave me, nor to let me leave You. Lead me always to the Lord.