My Writer's Journey
"The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify."
- John 15:26b, 27a -
- John 15:26b, 27a -
"I have not been faithful, my dear angel. I did not heed the Lord when He summoned. I had all sorts of excuses, amidst my hectic schedule of packing, unpacking, travels, and jet lag."
My angel sighed. He was not surprised. He'd seen me fail, time and again. I admired his patience and understanding.
"The only thing He asked of you was to open your ears so you may hear and then write as the words come to you."
I knew what he meant. He'd been nagging me to write about the Word of Inspiration.
"Blog for the week about receiving the word of God like a fertile soil and becoming His instrument of inspiration for others. Be childlike in countenance, trusting and believing in the Father's promises and all your dreams from Him will come true. Just cut and paste from your spiritual journal."
The Parable of the Sower had been a recurring reading lately and had flooded my thoughts and journal entries.
“The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep, his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field. Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
I have learned that when the Lord gives the Word of Inspiration sometimes, the enemy comes and adulterates it. Sometimes I adulterate it. Yet God continues to use me anyway.
"Why?" I had asked my angel.
"If Jesus waits for the perfect instrument to bear His message, He'll not find anyone to use."
He's right, and I thought about my manuscript. I had not heard from the agent. It can only mean one thing.
The manuscript is problematic.
Doubt had assailed me. Perhaps I had been deluding myself. It's all a figment of my imagination—all His words of inspirations, His promises.
"Then toss it," my angel challenged me.
I sensed my angel's satisfaction. "That must be your sole motive in writing: to do the will of the Lord and you shall be purified in the fire of His love. He will also purify your message."
So I took my pen and wrote: "Blessed are You o Lord who is so lenient with our imperfection and impurities, for you allow your Word of Inspiration to grow within my creative recesses along with the weeds of my own. Even as I write flawed stories, You infiltrate it with Your Divine work, so it touches my soul and changes me."
In my mind, I heard the Lord speak.
"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
"I know Your word is powerful, Lord," I replied. Whatever You say through me will pierce the hardest of hearts, even those of stones and prickly thorns. You will send the needed rain to drench the soil, the hoe to plow the field and make fertile the land. But oftentimes I'm confused how and when to speak."
My angel took my hand and led me to a particular day in history, a chapter in the Book of Life.
"On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it. But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
“Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word, and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.”
"It's amazing how even for those who hear God's word and bear fruit, they vary in productivity," I told my angel.
"Because their attitudes vary when they receive the Word of Inspiration."
I turned to the Lord and said, "I want to bear fruit a hundred fold my Lord and not just sixty or thirtyfold. I want to give as much as You've given. Increase Your fruits in me my Lord that I may feed many who hunger for Your word. Let me be a huge channel of Your blessings Lord for You are a generous God and You need generous souls to use as Your channel. I am not generous, but I know I can be transformed by Your grace, into Your image and likeness."
Again the Lord spoke through His Word:
“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple– amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward.”
I cried at the words that consoled my doubting soul and said to God, "You have set before me The Work. Slowly You want me to look at it in a detached manner, detached from me. No longer must I view it as my work but the work You have set for me. You can do with it as You please. If You don't want it to be published, let it be. If You want it to be shred to pieces, let it be. If You want it to be buried forever in my hard drive, let it be. It is Your work in me; You can do with it as You please. Sometimes, pride would push me. But the reading for today also gives me a promise. If this is truly Your work, o Lord, no human being can prevent it from being published, not even me. You have promised that whoever will help will be blessed tremendously. Send out Your helper my Lord. If it is not this person, then please direct me to someone else. Please do not let me knock and knock at the door of someone who refuses to open it. Persistence seems to be Your message. So I guess if this is not the time, then lead me at least to the editor. Let me ask out there, and make a shout out. Help me discern."
"You pray and ask for God's will but tend to manipulate and pressure Him to do your bidding," my angel said and caught me by surprise. "For even before He could answer and make His will known, you have already turned your back and set out to do your will and even believe it to be God's will. O such hastiness and rashness, such lack of prudence. Although sometimes it's from your own zeal and passion to carry out the inspiration that would make you do this."
I shrank in shame as I listened to his words.
"Yet the Lord had been forgiving because He knows that you act out on what you thought was His inspiration," my angel added. "But don't be obstinate and stubborn otherwise, He'd allow you to carry out your will, and you'll witness the cross of your making. And when that happens, don't come around angry and complain to the Lord for being unhelpful and unfaithful to His promises."
"Have I been like that, my Lord? Have I been impetuous and assuming? Oh, Father may You forgive Your daughter. Obstinate and stubborn indeed I am. Let me know Your will, and I will carry it. I guess I should not move unless I know for certain that You want me to move. Help me find confirmation from my prayer partner, my husband. You have always used him to make Your will known in the past. Let Your will be known through him."
"My sheep hear my voice," says the Lord, I know them, and they follow me."
"Speak Lord for Your servant is listening. Here I am Lord. I have come to do Your will."
"Wait for the Lord to fulfill His promise," my angel said.
"I will, my Lord. I will wait before I make my move. Temerity is my new vocabulary for today because that's what I have been: imprudent, presumptuous and acting out of haste and rashness. I know Mother Teresa had felt that way when she was still discerning Your call for her. It's difficult to know Your timing. I've also read Sr. Faustina's diary. It's the same thing. I fall in this pendulum of doubt and presumption. I find it hard to rest in the center of the pendulum, where Your will resides. I keep on swinging to and fro and missing Your perfect timing. Why is it so my Lord?"
"Because your time does not coincide with My time. When I say `now,' it can span from the beginning to the end. My time is different from yours. Mine is all embracing and all encompassing. Yours is a mere snippet of a nanosecond of Mine."
"So that's why You are also lenient with us because You understand that we are confused most of the time because of this discrepancy in understanding time," I said in great wonder.
"You are truly good and forgiving LORD, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you. I'm so happy that You speak to me in the silence of my heart and I understand Your message encoded in Your Words and readings for the day."
From afar, I heard my brother St. Paul say, "The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will."
"Thank You for revealing these things to me," I whispered.
The image of my Lord appeared in my mind and said, "Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the kingdom."
"You keep on repeating this verse like You want to imprint it in my soul," I said. "Am I one of Your little ones, my Lord? I've seen how You called Your little ones—St. Therese, Sr. Faustina, and Mother Teresa from among Your people. Each faithfully responded when You called them. To each, You've given Your grace to become Your instrument of love, mercy, and charity. LOVE. MERCY. CHARITY."
"Now You're telling me to proclaim Your Immense Love, Unfathomable Mercy, and Unending Charity to all. That we become these to all, we the little ones."
"And there are many souls You are calling to be Your little ones. I for one know I am called to be Your dear little one. I've seen You manifest Your will. When I held Your hand and allowed You to lead me, I felt secure and at peace even amidst the chaos. But when I acted on my own and ran around and gone astray, I lost You and was in great distress, like a little child who lost her parent amidst the crowd."
"This is a great mystery, and You've revealed it to me. I don't know which ones You want me to reveal to others and which ones I must keep to myself. I’m still groping like a little one, but I know You will lead me. All You ask is my complete trust and surrender, and I shall know."
"For one, I know You want me to write about how not all inspirations come from You. Some are sown by the enemy. Yet You allow it to happen that both weeds and wheat should inhabit my work so that I will remain humble. Everything that is good comes from You, and everything that is not is my own or sown by the enemy. Because I’m human, my work is not perfect. Not everything that I write is perfect and true, yet You allow it because if You take out the weed, the wheat might also be taken out. Human and imperfect that I am, I will always have both weed and wheat. If You stop using me because of my human imperfection, You cannot use me at all. I would be useless to You. But You tolerate my imperfection and use me nevertheless even when I dabble with Your message. You allow me to express it freely in my own way. You allow my creativity to meddle with Your truth. That is Your clemency and charity at work. Your tolerance for our imperfection is immense. You allow Your perfect message to be uttered by imperfect messengers."
"Help me to continue to hide in the shadow of Your wings as Your little one. I read the testimonies of the big eagles, of inspirational writers who still found their life dissatisfying after all their success in writing. I want to write as Your little one, like St. Therese, hidden from the sight of men. I will complete all three books. More and more I desire to write it only to fulfill Your will and less and less to be known and become popular as an author. I’m happy and contented with my simple life as a little one my Lord. I find my greatest fulfillment and happiness when I hear You each day."
In my mind, I see the Lord smile at me with great love in His eyes, "Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
My eyes stung with tears. "I’m truly blessed, my Lord. I don't know how it happened that You should choose me, a most unworthy and imperfect instrument to write Your message of love, mercy, and charity. Even though I’m a crooked pencil, You’re still able to make use of me to proclaim Your Word. Blessed are You o Lord God of all. Purify me in the furnace of Your love, so I don't adulterate Your message. My pride, self-will, vanity, and vainglory taint Your message, and the enemy uses these to mar Your perfect truth. May I not destroy Your work o Lord. Do not allow it. Do not allow me to mislead people. Silence me when not prompted and summoned because I should know by now that nothing that comes from me could be good unless You make it. It was a hard lesson to learn. Help me remain silent when not summoned. This runs counter against common rules for writing and publishing. No longer will I act with impetuousness. I shall wait for Your prompting. And when You call, let me heed in obedience."
"Lord, one thing that I noticed in Your little ones is the promptness with which they desire to heed Your call. St. Therese of Lisieux had to beg the pope to allow her to enter Carmel. Mother Teresa of Calcutta had to do the same when she started the Missionaries of Charity. Your servants tend to act in haste and zeal to do Your will and encounter hindrances along the way. I guess it’s part of the purification process. Or maybe You just want to test our will to see how much are we willing to work to fulfill it; how much are we willing to sacrifice and suffer to make it happen. In the end, when You’re satisfied with our commitment, You remove all blocks and pour forth Your blessings. It's the same way that You've manifested Your power against Pharaoh when he refused to make Your will happen and Moses in persistence and commitment, continued to prod and knock and speak until Your will would be done."
"Everything is a great mystery. Yet You reassure me that You will reveal it to me, Your little one. And I will come to understand how You unfold Your will and make it happen with our surrender, cooperation, and commitment."
Three things I need, according to one of the big eagles in the writing industry, Paulo Coelho (from the Warrior of Light): training, experience, and inspiration.
For some, training is not enough. They are wanting in inspiration. But for me, inspiration is not enough. I have need of training and experience.
The body is for training; the mind is for experience and spirit is for inspiration.
Training the body makes it strong and will grow the muscle it needs to do the work.
The experience makes the mind confident of the task at hand so it may tread paths that cowards will not dare pursue.
The inspiration is of the spirit and breathes life into the work, so it achieves what it wants to achieve, leaves the soul a different man and breeds more inspiration.
I turned to my angel and said, "I shall pursue The Work so, with training, experience, and inspiration, I shall bear God's fruit a hundredfold."
My angel rested as he saw my determination to fulfill the Lord's will.
My soul, too, found peace.
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