HIDDEN AND UNKNOWN OUT OF LOVE
The time in which we are living amid the horrific outbreak of coronavirus that has shaken the foundation of the earth and shaken homes and hearts. There is natural fear and concern amid the countless dead. We are glued to our TV’s and phones as we watch thousands in China, Italy, Spain, America and around the globe become sick and succumb to death. We are united in this suffering and emergency response. Our mortality is right before our eyes and, like the scenes of a movie, there is an inventory being taken.
Like many of you, I am adapting to a new normal of isolation and all out confinement to “flatten the curve” and it has become a radical time of preparation for provisions like water, food and medical supplies for homes and hospitals as all business is shut down. Together, we are feeling this pinch of confinement and our “flesh” is annoyed, feeling like teenagers that have been grounded unjustly. Our social posts are a cross between comedy and complaint, fear and horror. Food lines now exist in the United States because of the urged “social distancing” and people are going out in public with protective masks and gloves. The landscape is barely recognizable and it feels like something out of a science fiction movie or a war zone. Here in California, the Governor has issued radical orders to keep everyone isolated as the number of infected and dead climb. This is happening in New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Chicago, Louisiana and other states around the U.S and world.
Life as we have known it on airplanes, public transportation, traveling for work, hosting in-person business meetings, sweating it out at the gym, casual trips to the mall and the movies, bars etc. are totally off the table. Catholic Mass and other church services have been shut down to the public in an unprecedented way all over the world. There is no hugging, touching, kissing. No human contact. People and families everywhere are at home armed with our computers and smartphones as our only link to the outside world with the exception of hikes and some outdoor self-distanced activities. In Italy and popping up in densely populated areas, people are out on balconies singing with or to each other. These musical gestures of love and solidarity are captured on video and go viral. If you have a family in your home you have noise, family meals, home school and conversation all in the four walls of your home. If you are alone, you don’t.
Either way – all of this has become a place of total confinement.
When things became amplified, my family and I began praying twice daily by phone from LA to Boston. I’m the furthest away and I live alone. We decided to do this as an urgent call to prayer to protect our family from sickness and to keep our hearts at peace amid the escalating developments. My two cousins are on the front lines in the medical field and we are urgently and faithfully praying for their safety as well as safety for each and every family member. We pray the Divine Mercy chaplet at 3pm ET and the Rosary at 8pm ET and God is doing a lot through this prayer time. First of all, why have we waited so long to link up and cover ourselves together in prayer more intentionally in this way? God shows me there is great power to cover an entire household – believers and unbelievers – no just in a time of corona but ALL the time. I’m convicted. I pray a lot in my private life and live my life of faith very publicly in work and ministry, but I’ve been remiss in leading my family in a consistent and connected way. What have we been waiting for? What have I been waiting for?
Each day has been really profound and even if I want to end with the formal prayer (to get on with my confinement) – the Spirit of God is overwhelmingly present and wanting us to marinate in His presence. God has been revealing people in the family to pray for as well as priests and other loved ones. Today, however, the Lord was speaking to me about confinement.
The word and vision that manifested during prayer time was so profound that I am stepping out to share this with you for your own discernment. I was able to see in a profound way the One who knew confinement better than us. The Lord permitted me to see the infant Jesus confined in the womb of Mary. I heard Him say, “I am the God of confinement.” I first began to see the Lord in Our Lady’s womb, His tiny body – the Son of God – pushed in the small space of her womb – GOD. – God of the Universe who made the whole earth by his breath and hands, the One who HOLDS the world in His hands made himself so little to come to us. He CONFINED himself out of love and made himself small, little, tiny, hidden – squished inside a woman’s womb- a Love that cannot be contained became contained – confined – inside a human body and was the most unknown and concealed for nine months. Then he was CONFINED and hidden for 30 years of his life. A nobody to anyone but Mary and Joseph. Hidden in the simplicity of the domestic life of work and duty, prayer and love. CONFINED to love them. CONFINED to prepare for His mission. CONFINED for the salvation of all of humanity. CONFINED that we might be totally set free. A self-offering of holy confinement.
Then the vision switched to the Cross on which Jesus hung and I saw the physical confinement of His broken, whipped body and His nailed hands and feet pierced on the Cross. I saw the confinement of his lungs – the lungs and very breath of Jesus Christ – CONFINED and pushed to a breathless, agonizing and suffocating state. The sins of humanity that confined and Crucified Him. I heard the Lord in my heart with an exhortation: that His very body is being broken and confined AGAIN right now on the earth – we complain about our milk, eggs, hand sanitizer , various needs having to “do” or “undo” life at this moment. He spoke to me in my heart, “I am the God of confinement. I am the one who is dying again on the earth – in the Chinese, in the Italians – with their lungs being pierced in the confinement of a death – alone and cast way. I am dying again on this earth. Look at me! Look to me! Do not look at your bank accounts, do not look at your refrigerators. I am the God of confinement. Suffer a little with me and know how much God loves you, that I who AM WHO AM would confine myself out of my love for you – to condescend unto the earth to be born a man, suffer and die. This Lent, understand my coming, my confinement and my agonizing death. Look at those dying around you and make reparation for your complaint against confinement. Offer it up for these and your own sins.”
I then saw the confinement of the tiny white host of the most precious Eucharist. That the same smallness of confinement of Christ’s body remains always with us in utter confinement and hiddenness in the tiny white host- so much so that many do not know and understand that Jesus is the True Food come down from Heaven – the true food that remains with us. Hidden in the tabernacle, held in the hands of the priest and now confined away from us, the laity in this time. Again, “I am the God of confinement.”
Each day in prayer God is instructing in profound new ways and today on top of this, God is urging us to use this untimely confinement to know that He is limitless in what He is able to do, it’s the paradox of His coming. The one who was CONFINED is also LIMITLESS. In the same way we should understand that for our own lives, that we have access by virtue of His confinement to do greater things as he said in the Gospel and to use our voices to proclaim His Gospel to a world that is in dire need of Truth and Love. Do not let your confinement limit you to the couch, naps, counting your stockpile of food and feeling like this is an unbelievable staycation. God needs you to move for Him in the middle of this. He needs you to pray with your family, to proclaim the Gospel to those who are weak or afraid. He needs you to call people back who have been complacent and keeping themselves away from God and the sacraments.
You may feel powerless in this confinement and may not understand how you will work, eat, make money etc. You are concerned about whether you will be ill or safe and free from the deadly virus. Lean into the God who is the Confined Jesus and ask Him to manifest for you in this hidden time. The way He dwelt among Joseph and Mary, He dwells with you now and ministers unto you. The God who came to be confined, suffer and die, didn’t die in vain. He did so at great cost, freely for you and for me. (John 10:10).
Tap people on the shoulder and speak out the Gospel. God has made the whole earth supple right now. That’s the other word I keep receiving is that their is a suppleness – people who didn’t have ears to hear, will now hear. People who didn’t have eyes to see will now see. Like today’s Gospel of the blind man washing his eyes with mud. This confinement is for all of us a time to wash our eyes with the mud that makes no sense right now. In the obedience of this confinement experience – we wash in a mud that makes no sense to come straight out of quarantine with new vision, the eyes of Christ, a look of love that can transform the world. Our hiddenness right now is a mighty preparation for new and greater things. As Jesus was hidden for 30 years in the domestic life with Joseph and Mary, we too are in the womb of the domestic church preparing to do the greater things that He declared we would do. Now is the time, now is the hour. Be not afraid. Your confinement will be liberation for many. Your confinement united to His will will release a new power over the earth. Unite to Him that you will be in His Will for the glory of God.
Praying for you+