Thursday, June 21, 2018

Catholic Hermit: Gratitude

Gratitude--I'm reminded to be ever grateful to God in all matters!

And I know it is not easy without reminders such as the young nursing student, Jean Patrick, from Haiti, now a U.S. citizen.  Jean Patrick has helped me three days this week--his only week off from coursework; and he also works every weekend at a nursing facility, and works part-time at the college helping other ESL students with their studies.  Even with that schedule, a hospital calls him hoping he can come in during his week between quarters, to do night shifts.

Jean Patrick's first name is "Evangelist".   He is filled with the Holy Spirit and filled with enthusiasm.  He marvels that people tend to remember him--such as a professor who saw him walking by and bought him lunch.  I pointed out to Jean Patrick that a student such as he is lifts up teachers who otherwise are used to most students not being as hard-working and joyful as he is.

People are drawn to Jean Patrick.

I mentioned to him the other day how he inspires me to smile more, even when in solitude.  Also, he and I love to work at whatever task is before us; but my attitude is not always in gratitude mode due to fairly heavy-duty, constant pain.  Today I became "grumpy" (I term it that--when I can tell I'm becoming tense from too much pain and some little aspect such as the Jean Patrick accidentally doing something that did not quite need to be done just then, causing my truck's tailgate to come off.  It would take both of us to put it back on--a bit heavy it is--and my back was already on high pain alert.

I told JP how my grandson had done it, also, and it can happen to anyone.  I also told him that my pain level is higher (we've been doing hard work here!), and that he can probably tell that I am struggling to not be grumpy.  With that, I was able to make an act of the will to return to praising God and being very grateful for all the blessings--especially that JP was helping me re-gravel the drive.

While it is easy, or so it seems, to be absorbed in negativity, there are actually a majority of positives throughout our days and nights.  When I consider how delightful are the employees at the gravel pit, and how our relationship has developed in the three days I've been driving to get yet another truck load of washed 5/8" chip gravel, or the two loads of pea gravel which JP and I off-loaded and dumped in the vegetable-orchard area for paths and such--well, what lovely people to encounter who work at the gravel pit!  And what a blessing to have the various types of gravel for the different aspects that make the property look so lovely.  

Jean Patrick is so pleased when I take his photo in front of the finished front drive, or by the path we excavated and buried soaker hose in a pipe under the path so water would not seep into the ground by the cellar door.  He is delighted with the box of Chicken Chimichangas that I purchased for him to take back to his apartment.  After a day of hard work, we were yet laughing as we loaded my truck (named Precious Blood) for a dump run.

The advice we read or hear about surrounding ourselves with positive people, is good advice.  Of course, it is not always possible.  Some people are simply not positive, not pleasant, not appreciative nor seeking to be joyful or grateful.

Yet I try to be one such person who others will find pleasant in our encounters, brief though they be.  As a consecrated Catholic hermit, I try to make myself more aware of my presence--and if the pain is rugged, I know to simply explain the problem--which helps the other to know that I am not intentionally being tense or grumpy.  But mostly verbalizing it, reminds me to make more effort, to pray and make an act of the will, to be pleasant and exude gratitude for God and those around me.

I'm sure my battle with rather heavy, constant pain (and horrible pain sieges without notice--periodically) will be always one of my greatest challenges to try to learn to be grateful and pleasant as humanly possible when the pain level rises.  I don't even know if I will succeed fully, but at least I try.  Gratitude is basic for one who loves God--for God has given me all good, and even the suffering He allowed nearly 34 years ago that has continued all these years and will until my soul departs this temporal body, had a good purpose.  God let me know why; but even so it is a challenge to remember to be ever grateful.

Thanks be to God!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Catholic Hermit: Discerning Temporal Battles

Been confronted with events and situations, including those of others, in which I am pondering what is the worth and value of some or most temporal battles.  Of course, I view this from my vocational standpoint as a consecrated Catholic hermit, espoused to Christ, and also as an imperfect human being in this pained body, in this temporal realm, yet a mystic with heart and soul intended for the mystical realm.

Had a raging spinal headache yesterday, on the heals of going into civilization to a knee specialist.  (Still dealing with the pain from the smackdown fall on concrete nearly two weeks ago.)  At the appointment, x-rays of the knee, specifically were taken, despite my mentioning the ER took x-rays of the leg from just above knee down.  Nothing broken; my pain is coming from within the knee as well as a nerve pain "hot spot" near a very large fully numb area on the leg.  

As it ended up, I did not see the specialist but rather a physician's assistant, rather young, and the visit became problematic when I mentioned the low dose pain medication I'm on and have been for several years.  The PA had a most false notion and expressed it; and I kept my tongue as I was not prepared for the ignorance yet again, of research.  No lived experience with higher level intractable pain for years, and not much medical experience, and the equivalent of a Master's degree, if that.  And obviously she had not read the abstracts of research in which what she was convinced, is simply not supported by various studies and deals with a different sample group.

But it was upsetting, for she had assumed wrongly of me, and it happens often these days when it comes to medical practitioners not necessarily knowing the meds nor the side effects, or have false ideas about, especially, pain medications.  I had not gone there for that; I am concerned about my knee, as it is interfering with my efforts to keep on here, trying to finish, as well as to determine if there is something longer term with my leg.

Later in the day, as the spinal headache increased to the point that I could not physically function by the time I returned to Te Deum Hermitage, I checked email and an area site in which people mostly post items to sell.  This time, on that site, someone had posted photos of another person's car which was parked partly sideways in a handicap parking space and taking up part of another space.  People in the store knew which customer, and others notified the deputy who arrived but after the customer had left, finished with his shopping.

But the comments continued on the site, with people becoming increasingly rude, nasty, vindictive, and impassioned in negative and forceful thoughts.  One person pointed out that this is not who we should be, and to keep it in perspective.  Was a mistake with a parking space, odd though the car was parked, and the proper authorities were contacted and would talk with the man and perhaps give a warning ticket or a ticket with fine requiring payment.

Yet the people commenting then attacked the person who was trying to bring the nasty tenor of the comments to a recognition point--to remind that it was getting out of hand and unreasonably mean-spirited.  I rarely comment on such matters, but I supported the person trying to bring people to seek the high road, and of course as a Catholic hermit, I included mention of handling matters as Christ would, but through example, perhaps subtle teaching without causing irritation to those who are not prone to Christianity nor religion at all.

This was a distraction from the sickening headache, and also allowed my soul to ponder love and kindness, and being supportive of the other who was being attacked for doing right, for speaking up, pointing out the wrongs of public shaming to such a negative degree (or at all, as I mentioned we never know why someone makes a mistake, nor how one will react to such public shaming over making a mistake in parking in an odd way in a handicap spot and another spot.)  

One or two major attackers then attacked me, of which I simply responded with kindness and sound reason, still supporting a charitable approach and one of understanding, as well as defending the person who had the initial courage to try to put a stop to the "devilry"--as it was coming to that if not already had.

I suppose had I not been so ill with the spinal headache that I was seeking any diversion to help cope, I'd not have responded at all.  There have been numerous such postings on that site, where people then get carried away in negatively attacking and public shaming someone who's made an error.  It is like the chickens who try to peck to death one among the flock who is at disadvantage.

By morning, the moderator had thankfully removed the entire posting and all the many, increasingly vicious comments and inter-commenter attacks, as well.  It was mentioned that the person who parked like that is himself elderly and going through a very rough time recently.  Yet, some of the commenters continued on, not caring, and declaring public shaming the way to approach those who do wrong in their midst.

Well, there are many battles in this temporal realm that are not worth fighting.  Today I prayed for the one woman, handicapped herself, who had an impassioned vengeance and took it on as her duty and obsession to confront and attack and report anyone who parked his or her vehicle in a handicap spot if they did not have a placard or license plate designating them as handicapped.  She did it no matter where she'd be, and if she could verbally assault the person, in person, she felt it even more successful to stop this heinous problem.

So she was and is focused on this as her life's work.  I wondered about her own suffering to carry such a vengeful sense within her in trying to right the wrongs of the many who park in handicap spots, out of the thousands who do not do so.  What good is all that fire and fury within, to her health?  She views it as a terrible wrong for someone to want to go shopping or otherwise, and not be able to park close, causing inconvenience and she expressed--also can be life or death for the person if trying to pick up prescriptions from a pharmacy.  So in her passion, this her mission, is of high importance.

I thought about the several times I've tried to explain the facts of pain medications as well as the misconceptions and falsehoods.  While perhaps in a handful--most likely less than that!--I have made some sense to them, but most often if there is education to be gained on the topic, it has come through the other or others having some terrible ailment or someone close to them, and thus they learn for themselves about the difference between those who take pain medications who do not have pain or who desire a high and become addicted, and those who are responsible but genuinely benefit for the very qualities for which the medication has proven to be beneficial for a very long time.

I'm not going to win the battle; and I don't think it is my mission nor even much a part of the teaching or witnessing I'm to be doing in my life.  For one thing, the more one tries to present facts and research, a medical practitioner might all the more decide to dig in and be convinced of errant facts.  They aren't used to patients knowing the meds, the side effects, nor the research.  But patients often do know--particularly those who have lived with some affliction for some decades and who keep up with potential treatments and new medications in trial and development phases--as well as follow up with side effects that often cause more problems than the simple and older medications.

In trying to finish this place, I've been thrust more into the temporal world especially back when I had money enough to hire those with contractor "licenses".  I found out that many people in the area have these licenses or have business cards printed out stating they do.  But most of them were not as they purported; or other problems would develop such as the major hassle with the bad kitchen cabinets being sold knowingly, and battling two years to get the wrong righted.

That was a battle that needed to be fought simply because it was a major wrong that an employee did, and also the cost of the cabinets, for faulty ones, was reducing my finances in ways not supportive of truth nor justice.

Yet I did not like the battle. I did not want to fight it, I was wearied of the ordeal.  That is the way of it in this phase of five years--and how I am now discerning the battle with medical practitioners who will cause more harm if I don't research anything they suggest prescribing, or if I let them be convinced of some wrong notion of pain medication--if, and only if, their ignorance is going to adversely affect my medical care, such as the other day.  So if my knee is not better in a month, then they will do an MRI.  Why not one now, and be done with it either way?

I'm really not interested in temporal battles.  Not even most medical ones involving tenaciously held misconceptions.  I don't have any temporal "cause" that I am called to right the wrongs.  My purpose is to glorify God, and my motto is to "just adore Him."  He has given me my heavenly name, over two decades ago.  If I think about it, and the meaning, I am reminded of my path; and it is not the temporal sledge.  

It seems as if all the more, though, there are obstacles in my efforts to finish the place.  One such obstacle was an error I made in not factoring in the width of the risers that will go on top of the stair treads, to the back.  So I ripped 13 treads down 7/8", and thankfully kept the scraps to each tread.  I needed to trim off 3/16" from the scrap 1" pieces I'd cut off, sand and finish the wood with wood conditioner and several coats of clear Varathane.  Now I am one-by-one gluing and clamping those cut pieces back to each stair tread.

Mea culpa!

But in other ways, the obstacles are coming from odd situations such as the unexpected fall at a store that would be the last anyone would think would have a negligence obstacle, causing a customer injury. In all my years, I've never had any incident at any store or business.  This was as if it came out of nowhere.

Well, I have an inner reason why that happened and the other obstacles especially in the past couple of months, seemingly forces trying to prevent me from finishing, selling, and entering into yet a new phase of my Catholic hermit existence.  But I might write about this in some future blog post.  I'm dealing with it within, mystically, and I've written to my spiritual father for his input and prayers, as well.

But as for discerning temporal battles, I'm at a point in which there would be few if even one or two, that I would find worth battling.  I'm just at that point in my vocation and spiritual life, that there is not much worth battling in comparison to the efforts in the spiritual witness and the spiritual battles that come along for me and for others.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Catholic Hermit: Thankful for Any Progression

Being laid up all weekend with added pain from injury (last weekend) has provided more enforced time and space to ponder God's will and the amazing timing and occurrences that come unexpectedly in our daily lives.

All is in God's purview, all is in God's domain and will.  Even if some aspects "smell" of dark forces trying to discourage and disrupt, even God has allowed those for His good will and purposes.

My vocation as a consecrated Catholic hermit seems all the more in the background as far as the temporal aspects of this unique vocation.  When I notice that the posts regarding "how" to become a Catholic hermit continue to be the most often read of my blog, I am thankful to be of assistance to others. 

But what I've personally come to grasp in my over 17 years since profession of vows and living out daily the life in this vocation, is that the "how's" of the vocation and the temporal structure of the vocation pale in comparison to the living out--the pouring out--of one's body, mind, heart and soul through, with, and in the Body and Blood of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the greatest aspect of being a consecrated Catholic hermit as in any vocation and as in being alive on this earth is that of being a tremendous lover of His Real Presence:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

A rule of life, one's vows, and fulfilling each aspect of what the Church states regarding what is a Catholic hermit and what is expected in defining aspects of being a hermit within the consecrated life of the Catholic Church can be tangible and necessary guides and requirements for a successful, eremitical vocation.  Yet what matters ultimately is God's call and answering and living out that call, again, as a devoted (even if imperfect) follower of Christ and a tremendous lover of the Most Holy Trinity.

Day flows into night and night into day, and the life of a consecrated Catholic hermit as directed by His Real Presence unfolds.  The consecrated Catholic hermit lives out to the best of desire, will, and God-given ability--the hermit life as lover of the Beloved.

To Him be the glory and the power forever and ever!  It is love of Christ no matter all else that provides temporal and spiritual progression for a consecrated Catholic hermit...or anyone no matter the vocation or not one, for that matter.

God bless His Real Presence in us!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Catholic Hermit: Faith and Affliction

Been a rough week and especially another couple of days in the affliction aspect of temporal existence.  Thus on this Sunday morning in ordinary time, the Living Word of God provides truth as well as encouragement--if I can but absorb and hold fast to faith in the unseen reality.

From 2 Corinthians 4 comes this excerpt that especially strengthens: 

Therefore, we are not discouraged;
rather, although our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For this momentary light affliction
is producing for us an eternal weight of glory
beyond all comparison,
as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen;
for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.
For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent,
should be destroyed,
we have a building from God,
a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.

The one word that tripped my mind, first, is "light".  Light affliction is rather an irony, as I tested putting weight on my left leg while up for a timed two minutes plus perhaps another 30 seconds enough to get too and from sleeping bag to kitchen and back, fill my St. Joseph mug with water, microwave green tea for 1 minute, 50 seconds, during which time I filled a water bottle.  Pain still in left leg, particularly knee.

After being down since Friday late morning, and the pain yesterday at throbbing and piercing level in the knee, I'm wondering about the "momentary light affliction" that St. Paul considers for our temporal body existence that he also says will produce an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.

I suppose, truly, in the full spectrum of temporal bodies and the afflictions we are allowed and which occur in the natural progression of life circumstances and are mortal bodies which decline moment by moment, mostly imperceptibly over time, other than when we have an acute injury.  Yet it is best to try to consider and absorb the reality of fullness of life both temporal and mystical--the eternal spiritual realm ongoing from alpha to omega, even now, in this present moment.

In that reality, anything we experience while in our temporal bodies is comparatively "momentary" and whatever affliction "light".

Our affliction, basically, is of our souls, spirits, minds, and emotions being tied to a physical body in this temporal life.  The fact that this "affliction"--light or otherwise in our perceptions--is producing for us glory beyond all what will keep us from discouragement if we can but hold onto this numinous reality while we suffer light or heavy affliction or any affliction of any type of any circumstance.

That we are not discouraged is a bold statement and bold step.  I admit that my faith in the presence of additional physical pain is not strong enough.  Yes, I do believe that I will rise with Christ as I believe in Christ and know there is a resurrection from the dead, and that He Who raised Christ will raise me to have a place with Him in eternity.

The problem I face especially now with not wanting to invite more pain for my already pain-loaded body, is that being laid up with the knee pain does complicate matters.  There is no one here but the Lord and my angel and whatever ethereal holy ones are around me in this small room as I lay on the floor.  My money has run lower than ever in my adult life, by far, and it is not even my own money but lent money.  I am quite close to finishing this earthly dwelling with the hope of selling; but until my knee decides to heal or else not and my somehow getting to a knee orthopedic specialist, makes it more the challenge to not be discouraged.

We have the human dilemma of faith involved, and of knowing in the mind and heart and soul that Paul is so right--this is but temporary time in our bodies, and the affliction momentary and light in comparison to glory in eternity.  Yet somehow the temporal aspect of pain can rivet the attention to the temporal seemingly quite easily and effectively.

The antidote to the dilemma is, of course, to look to the unseen, not the seen.  To pray and communicate with the Lord even if it seems one-sided (such as I had to face the one-sided nature of a temporal friendship's comdmunication trends for a long while), is part of learning to see the unseen, to know with assurance without touching nor viewing nor hearing anything at all.

Faith, it is called.  Sometimes "blind" is added to the word "faith."  Blind addresses the unseen quality of faith in Christ.  We do have His Living Words, and that is a major gift to us.  And no matter our vocation in life, all that is written and preached through the Living Word of God applies to any and all souls.  

The result is a lifting up and out of the temporal body in a partiality that is quite refreshing and necessary, as faith raises thoughts and emotions and spirit to a realistic hope that is known yet not achieved--not yet.  

But I so appreciate this reminder of what is real and what can trip me, reduce me, stir fear with temporal stirring stick.  In my case, it does not even have to be anything definitively conclusive, such as an aneurism or paralysis.  Just a hard-smack impact on concrete is enough to afflict the body to a higher level of pain than the pain already taken to roost in this body for nearly 34 years.  Doubling pain medication yesterday did not put a stop to the pulsating knee pain.  It took hours of waiting which seemed not at all momentary.  But here again, now when I consider it in respect to eternity--yes, it is momentary and light affliction.

More importantly, consider the weight of glory being produced eternally--beyond all comparison.

What is now, here, in this temporal--I can really do nothing to alter the current circumstance of the left knee.  I must simply remain down other than brief trial experiments in getting something to drink or using the restroom.  I've wondered if there are forces of darkness allowed to disrupt the flow of finishing this earthly dwelling place so that I can depart it?  This is a serious consideration, for the first nearly four years here, there was much negative interference from dark side of spiritual realm.  

Faith holds true and fast against the forces of darkness.  So I will continue on in this present moment and ensuing moments, with not being discouraged.  Practice focusing on what is unseen--which requires not mortal logic to achieve in reality.  See with inner sight the unseen, which is seeable in the light of inner light of inner faith.  Our inner selves are being renewed while our outer selves diminish.  Fear not, have faith.  Once again, dare enter into the mystical; don't cling to the temporal.  Keep to and think on things above, as Jesus tells us in sundry ways.

God bless His Real Presence in us!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Catholic Hermit: Fulfill Your Ministry

From 2 Timothy: 4 ~

"But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances;
put up with hardship;
perform the work of an evangelist;
fulfill your ministry."

 This pained, consecrated, Catholic hermit has been wondering about it's ministry lately.  Just this morning wrote a letter with numbed right hand (numbness comes and goes as hand is past-due for surgery--drill whip injury a couple years ago) to the spiritual father.  I penned my concern that I have not, am not, fulfilling my potential in and for the Lord, am not witnessing to Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Mary, Joseph and angels and various and multitudinous saints who have so kindly and graciously, previously, graced me with so much love and support--truly too much to begin to describe.

But I lack discipline currently and probably for some time.  I'm rather done-in with added pain since the hard fall on a store's concrete floor, a week ago today.  I tried to push through the pain after being down a couple days, and even in those two days at least picked strawberries and dealt with a couple of coons.  Got quarts of berries to little roadside table by mailbox--as I thought mobility a good thing after a fall.  ER doctor said no broken bones from the x-rays taken, so I had confidence in trying to keep a goin'.  

However, it has been a slow go and not much.  Yesterday morning I had three hours before much-needed, forecast showers were to come.  And the grass very much needed to be mowed.  Hiring someone is problematic if they'd show up and definitely with the extremely high charges for labor here.  So I pushed through knee pain to mow.  I admit I'm adept at distracting myself from goodly levels of constant pain for nearly 34 years now.

But after mowing the yard, my body decided to quit being upright.  This morning I pushed through to go out and limber with picking but two quarts of strawberries as the coons had taken most.  Last night was unable to get up to handle what it takes to capture the invasive, rabies-ridden creatures that are way over-populated in this area.  Even such little standing and walking as two quarts of berries has proven too much for the knee.  It has been pulsating with pain for a few hours now, and the knee not stressed but propped under the usual pillows my body requires in order to take added stress off the ever-painful back.

 So today's Scripture reading from 2 Timothy 4 particularly "touches a nerve."  For one thing, it is all I can do to not be emotional with the level of pain.  For another, fending off despair due to the pain and inability to get up and even stand to clean upstairs' bath tile and seal it--cannot manage that little bit of physical distraction from the pulsating knee pain.

"But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances...." 

I'm refraining from emailing to a couple of friends to vent about the added pain issues.  I decided the other day that it is pointless to do so.  The situation is one-sided as a form of friendship for one person to be more the writer and sharer of thoughts and feelings be it of pain and aspects of the spiritual life, or if it were sharing what progress being made in manual labor.  So I decided to revisit some self-discipline and mirror the length and type of what writing is put forth from the other.

This is a long-time friend who has great self-discipline and is extremely self-possessed.  While I have inquired as to the health of her sister and even such simple questions as what projects she is working on (is quite generous in gifting others with home-made, creative gifts--most often my queries go unanswered, but there are more questions asked of me.

I realized this is a relationship that has gone lopsided--in fact, one-sided for the most part.  Thus, while St. Paul to Timothy is advising for ultimately spiritual progress and good, being self-possessed (as in most virtues) can be learned by beginning with some temporal basics of practiced self-possession.  I'm better off writing of that which some anonymous readers might find of benefit in one way or another (even if to judge that my spirituality and hermit life is woefully weak for a consecrated Catholic hermit) than to keep writing of such as sufferings or whatever else in one-on-one communication that one-sided to a futile degree.

I apologized to the friend and mentioned, again, that I must practice the discipline that I admire in the long-time friend.  I did have a response--that venting can be very helpful, though.  Yes, and I said I should learn to tell it to God, to vent to Him Who Is All and Who Is Love, from me who is nothing.

So last night I had my first practice in an email self-possession.

This morning, though, I have written through the pulsating pain in other format, and now this blog post could go terribly off-kilter in the area of human pain and suffering, if not for the focus needing to be on being self-possessed in all circumstances, as well as to:

"...put up with hardship."

I doubled my pain med of which I've not done in a long time.  In fact, I've been trying to lessen them without good results.  After nigh on 34 years of constant pain that is worse as I age, my old brain is not generating enough endorphins nor dopamine.  Yet all the more I must learn to put up with hardship!  Suffering is part of my mission in life, for the sake of souls and for God's sake--as an offering of essentially "unto blood"--as my very life a sacrifice for, with, and in Christ crucified to ensure our salvation.

But this from St. Paul--"perform the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry"....  I must pray and ask the Lord for a reminder and recap:  What is my ministry?

If assiduous prayer and penance and praise of God is that to which a consecrated Catholic hermit must attend as his or her ministry, then how is my witness being spread or evangelized, to others?  Maybe a good question, also, is:  What is an evangelist?  And, is the work of consecrated Catholic hermits from as far back as first century, to be that of evangelists?

The primary definition of an evangelist is one who seeks to convert others to the Christian faith, particularly through public speaking.  A secondary definition refers to the four authors of the written Gospels:  Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  

I suppose this latter form of evangelism, through writing, more fits this Catholic hermit's mode and no doubt would that of most hermits, as we are to be "hidden from the eyes of men.."  Our communications primarily are to be with the Most Holy Trinity:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Yet as ministry, and fulfilling it, any Christian is to be involved in evangelism, of hoping to and helping convert others to Christ and the Christian faith.

So what I write takes on a different importance, or should.  The purpose is being focused by the call to fulfill my ministry--which is rooted in discerning and focusing on my God-given mission, or His purpose, for my life.

If I write about pain or any hardship, the point should be how to endure it; and then to reflect upon Christ and relating the pain or hardship or glory or grace to temporal existence and Christ's drawing me into His Love increasingly as well as pointing me to the mystical existence of union and ultimate union through, with, and in Him in Heaven for all eternity.

For right now, in this present moment, the second pain med has not interrupted the pulsating knee pain.  Veritably, only God can interrupt that pain, stop it from pulsating, and so I know I must not keep standing on the leg nor walking on it, at least for now. It was worth the experiment to see if more pain medication could shift the trajectory.

While I have no idea how I will manage here, when I will be able to rise and do more tasks needed to finish or if Monday I will need to painfully drive myself to a larger hospital's ER to get an MRI, or wait the weeks it can take to get into an orthopedic knee specialist.  Or perhaps by Monday or tomorrow or tonight the knee will respond to full rest and allow me to slowly plod onward with tile cleaning and sealing and the other tasks physically required here that are in on the to-do list in order to sell and be out from under financially and physically.

Through it all, the Lord is indeed answering my prayers (and responding to my admission that at minimum I am not feeling as if I have been fulfilling my God-given life purpose, my ministry as St. Paul writes, and have not been in self-possession enough to endure all hardships in all circumstances.

In this present moment God has given me, He has provided the pulsating knee pain and the body's major aversion to trying to get up to stand or walk on it.  He has not allowed pain meds to mask it.  He has gifted me with realizing the off-kilter, lop-sided, one-sided correspondence, and to consider anew what it is to do the work of an evangelist and to fulfill my  ministry within the vocation of a consecrated Catholic hermit.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  We all have these considerations to ponder, no matter our vocations, if we are followers of Christ Jesus.  And to put up with hardship is a tangible enough challenge to grasp, grip, and grapple with.  It is the suffering--even the present moment pulsating knee pain that is disrupting the needed efforts to get on to the next place in my temporal life that can be a vehicle for the more spiritual and mystical aspects of my work as Christian evangelist and in my ministry within vehicle of the Catholic hermit vocation.

Every Christian has purpose, mission, evangelistic ministry to grasp, grip, and grapple with in order to produce whatever God wills in our lives.  Sometimes we have to be made lame in order to walk in the path or paths He chooses in any given phase of present moments.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Catholic Hermit: Wait for Christ's Mercy

From I Jude 17:21-23:

Build yourselves up in your most holy faith;
pray in the Holy Spirit.
Keep yourselves in the love of God
and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ
that leads to eternal life.
On those who waver, have mercy;
save others by snatching them out of the fire;
on others have mercy with fear,
abhorring even the outer garment stained by the flesh.

The other day this first reading from Mass Scriptures struck me as being packed concisely with wisdom.  Each line holds major tenets and advisements for body and soul, temporal and spiritual.

I'm here on my sleeping bag on the floor, stiff and sore from a hard fall in a store.  Happened Saturday late afternoon and was in ER getting body x-rayed until released in evening--no broken bones on what was x-rayed!  Praise God! 

But that does not free me for much mobility as the entire body smacked concrete after foot caught on an errant, loopy hose in garden section.  Of course, I did not see it.  I was in fast-pace mode after picking up some plumbing supplies and a potted dahlia to help brighten the front porch of the hermitage, readying it for selling.  So my body propelled with force and smacked the cement. 

Was quite a spectacle with customers gasping and gathering around, clerk calling for crisis management over store intercom:  Customer down in Lawn and Garden!

Mercy.  Yes, that is the word I'm holding today from the apostle Jude's first letter:  Wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As soon as I splatted on the concrete and thought my leg was broken (not, thankfully, but plenty sore as is remainder of this old Catholic hermit's body--bones, tendons, muscles, soft tissue), I realized I'd made an crucial error that morning. 

Having made great progress on the upstairs bathroom plumbing and other finishing work, I had set a mental time-goal that I might finish the hermitage in three weeks!

When will I learn?  Every time I set a time-related goal, something happens to slow me in the work efforts.  Stay in the Order of the Present Moment.  Do not leap forward with plans connected with time frames.  Just keep myself in the love of God and wait for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It leads to eternal life--not the time-frame of finishing some project minor or major, or starting or ending some life event, job, vacation, relationship, or otherwise.

Even now, I have no idea how long I will be "stoved up".  When the shock wore off and adrenalin dropped to more normal level, it is a matter of WAITING to heal and feel up to manual labor again.  Gotta wait for awhile to see if left shoulder affected.  After such impacts, soft tissue injuries can take awhile to see if they will simmer down or be an on-going problem.

Don't I know from the right shoulder surgeries as well as the low back of which years ago an accident changed the course of my earthly existence.  However, with this, I think the stiffness, pain, and aches will be temporary.  At least I hope and pray so.

My cousin happened to call yesterday and asked when I think I will finish the house. I said I must not ever project and explained why.  God does not will it!  I am to learn to remain strictly with and in the Order of the Present Moment, down to the detail of time-limits and time-goals.

Build myself up in the faith; pray in the Holy Spirit.

Now, that is something to ponder.  Pray in the Holy Spirit.  I honestly have no idea if I am "doing" that, but I guess I must assume so considering the Paraclete came yet again on Pentecost in celebratory and mystical commemoration of the reality of His being bequeathed us centuries ago, upon the will and action of the Father and the Son.

Just last week we celebrated Trinity Sunday, after all, and my smackdown in the store was on the vigil of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi--Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus upon whose mercy I wait.  So all the right reminders are about me, and Jude's contribution to the Living Word of God do have reality and actual, lived meaning.

As to mercy, I am to have mercy on those who waver.  Yes, I can do that.  But to save them and snatch them from the fire?  It surely must be through prayer at this point, that yes, I can pray for their salvation.  I have a relative or two in mind--one in particular who is unhealthy and affecting her ill, teenage daughter's progression in healing from a dire medical crisis.  And another has totally turned from God, saying not a believer but of course I do not know deep down in the person's soul. 

But I will have mercy and hope to help save them from the fire, by the grace of God.  There is always hope in Christ, in waiting for His mercy, in remaining in God's love, in praying in the Holy Spirit.

So I pray.  That is my hope in fulfilling the advice from Jude.  Well, it is written with import and impact more than seemingly advice.  It is truth, power, might, and necessity for us Christians--and especially perhaps for a consecrated Catholic hermit.

Oddly, in the store when splayed on the concrete floor, the crisis manager who was called was concerned but also thinking managerial style.  By instinct, I held up the crucifix I wear, and said, "I am a Christian; I am not a type of person to malinger nor deceive."  Now, that must have come from the Holy Spirit--words I'd not logically come up with under the shock of the unexpected hard fall.

I must trust that since the Holy Spirit has been given, and I have accepted and desire to be in the Holy Spirit as in His Real Presence--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--that my praying is done in the Holy Spirit.  Remaining in God's love and waiting on Christ's mercy--yes, that is my desire and hope, and in faith, it is so.

May it always be so.

As for my having mercy--with fear--on those who are abhorrent by their sins, yes, I will be merciful with a wariness, a fulsome fear that I not touch nor take in the stain of their outer garments, tainted by sin of their flesh.  Of course, I'd better beg the Lord and my fellow humans to offer me mercy with fear lest I taint them with my sins and vices, of which I nor anyone is without sins of some sort or other.

That is why it is best and even safest, to build up our faith, remain in the love of God, wait for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, and pray in the Holy Spirit--leading to eternal life.

And praise God--thankful for His Real Presence in us!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Catholic Hermit: Trinity Sunday in Process

Here it is, Trinity Sunday, and thankfully this old hermit's body is fatigued from pain and recent manual labor.  Being slowed down is a blessing on the Lord's Day in which one is to "rest".  

Yes, there are different aspects of what it means to "rest".  I appreciate the facet of resting in the Lord's love, remaining in His Love.  It is akin to being in peace within His Sacred Heart, or to rest in the adoration and praise of God.

Currently, I must keep working around Te Deum hermitage.  When the pain sieges hit, such as a week ago was in the midst of one, it is the Lord's day of rest, without options.  In fact, on a bed of extreme suffering, one is resting with the Christ on His Cross.  (For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.  These lines from the Divine Mercy litany come to mind.)

First thing this morning I had to dispatch a raccoon.  The reality made me ponder all the more the life of hermits of yore, and how I would love it if my prayers were answered that the raccoons would remain off property and not be menacing!  I assume some hermits had to deal with wild life challenges--those who were not gifted with being able to tame the animals or cause them to obey commands with but a word or two.

Then I had to set about setting up more soaker hoses.  We've not had rain in quite awhile, and all is becoming dry at a time in which spring growth causes plants and trees to thirst.  Plus, striving to get the property in top condition will help as I must soon finish and sell.

And that will occur whether or not I finish, for the funds will run out before long.  Or, I will be plucked from this earth or not allowed to finish by some bodily mishap. These aspects of our being a "puff of smoke" (refer to James 5 and a previous post on the topic) are ever part of our human existences.

The couple from the parish arrived with His Real Presence, and we mentioned Trinity Sunday.  I recalled a recipe handed down by my grandmother, of a cake called Whitsunday Cake.  The woman (of the couple) asked what kind of cake would that be?  I said, "White!"  We laughed.  I've not had the leisure or functioning kitchen since I've been in this hermitage, to even consider making the cake in order to help celebrate Trinity Sunday. My grandmother was Protestant; I think they referred to Trinity Sunday as White Sunday, perhaps?  WhitSunday?  Or is this from the Anglicans?

Regardless, I'm trying to appreciate the liturgical day and the Three-in-One of the Most Holy Trinity!  Yet amidst mending some soaker hoses, weeding, and next hoping to have the physical energy to go to the upstairs bathroom to finish two tile pieces, once I've figured if their placement is the best option, and rehang the vanity light fixture, I also might get the air compressor hose and trim nail gun set to install some wood trim in that bathroom.

With apologies to the Lord for such manual labor, of course He knows my predicament here as much as He knows my days of suffering and inability to be mobile, then, are times of resting in His Love even if as on a cross, I would prefer to not suffer so.

Perhaps soon, this puff of smoke nothing consecrated Catholic hermit will have the manual labor back to a point of some moderation, and there will be a delightful adjusting of the day's ebb and flow to include far more spiritual reading.  Yet, it is amazing what with some focus, a soul can do with reading the daily Mass Scriptures upon early waking, and to ponder them off and on all day while at the manual labor--especially gardening tasks or other more meditative type physical work in which the mind is not required to focus on being careful with power tools or measurements or the how-to of the efforts.

I sense the Lord quite close, as well as beloved ancestors, and the angels and saints as I continue on, working at beautifying and completing a place on this earth in which someone will hopefully enjoy and not be bothered with the manual labor that I've been engaged with for five years--in between pain sieges, that is, and extended illnesses each winter.

I marvel at the interactions of the Holy Trinity.  In my simple way, I will honor the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit today by trying to do tasks in three's and in one's.  I will continue to praise the Trinity in whatever ways come to me to do so.  Perhaps silly--but a bit ago I enjoyed a "white" coconut frozen milk bar...not that I deserve such a treat.

No, I do not think in terms of which I had mentioned a post or two past, of a friend who repeats often enough that some person or other "deserves" this or that.  I simply think I do not deserve anything in this life, especially when I consider my sins as well as my short comings.  And even more so, I deserve nothing when I consider the Holy Trinity and the Three Persons, and all that I owe Three-in-One simply for my existence, forgiveness, love They bestow, as well as salvation.

Now, to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I must rise from the sleeping bag on the floor in this room I dedicated as a prayer for an elderly couple who are going through difficult times of the man's decline.  I will repair another soaker hose that had a leak, turn on the flow of water, and ascend the stairs to the bathroom tiling task remaining.  

God bless His Real Presence in us!  And, Lord, please have mercy on my soul on this Whitsunday in which once more, ora et labora graces this lovely day. 

Addendum:  As the marvels of the Trinity unfold, in my little temporal carpentry and tile tasks, there have been three trim boards to custom cut and fit, three tile pieces to custom cut and fit, and a seemingly infinite number of trips back and forth to the pole barn to the table saw!  As I worked and prayed, and now as I take a needed rest, I hear a power trimmer in one near-distant direction and a lawn mower in another.  Earlier were the sounds of a hammer down the road a ways.  I'm in union with the lay workers who are trying to catch up over this three-day Memorial weekend.  It is unlikely they are pondering the Trinity nor are aware it is Trinity Sunday; but all the same, we are all at work with thoughts in our minds, surely, or sounds of music, and definitely the "music" of our tools.  One thing certain with this Catholic hermit, should I live to experience another Trinity Sunday, it will not be as this one, even this year Jesus knows full well the temporal predicament I am in with needing to keep making hermitage-completion progress.  As God and as a carpenter Man, He knows all aspects far better than I; and I wonder if He has been smiling today with my attempts to praise the Trinity with three-and-one tasks?