Sunday, September 12, 2010

Catholic Hermit Reflects

Am writing today about silence. Trying to capture silence, describe with words. Of course it cannot be captured with words or with images. But at least an awareness of silence and the necessity for learning silence and of loving silence can be attempt to express.

It involves pealing back many layers of noise, exterior and interior, even in infancy and in dreams and in death agony in which we are told the dying have keen sense of exterior and interior hearing.

As for reading these days, have set aside St. Bernard's definitive biography by the distinguished Luddy, and am reading Volume One of The Philokalia, The Complete Text.

I mention this because I found myself becoming agitated and more critical from reading of St. Bernard's battles in the temporal Catholic world (what he termed the visible Church), and this taught me that while St. Bernard was called to right the many wrongs, he had already gained a foothold in the mystical Catholic world (or what he termed the interior Church).

Being fact that I do not yet have a foothold, or at least am best anonymous and nothing, as well as not called to right wrongs in the temporal or visible Church, I found that a few pages reading the advice and wisdom of St. Isaiah the Solitary did me more good in unkinking my soul than becoming inflamed over issues that would take a St. Bernard in the Name of Christ to straighten out in the parish.

Or even in the blogosphere.

Meeting with my esteemed spiritual director, a recent development for which I'm ever thankful to God, and quite a surprise in the past couple months, further unkinked my soul as he laid out before me, with authority of years, wisdom and the Church, my 'umble vocation. While I had been concerned he would desire me to head back out into the temporal Catholic world in its part as the One Reality, he assured me he would never do that. Aaaahhhhhhh.

I suppose that fear was increased because he had asked me to read last month a book of Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who likewise had a foothold on the mystical yet very much was put to work in the temporal, but not without having to step out of the temporal Catholic world (the visible Church insofar as leaving her religious order, by permission, yet not receiving any help from the visible Church until later, after some harsh obstacles).

So now it is back to reading what helps in my vocation, but with great love and appreciation for those souls called not only as pilgrims in the mystic way but actively out in the temporal secular as well as the temporal Catholic worlds. Yes, showing Christ to and in all. But hermits, not. They were not hermits in how God called them or utilized them.

Yet, what benefit from the books, such as Luddy's bio of St. Bernard, is to see his use of Scripture in correspondence and speaking. Scripture utilized won the battles against Abelard and others who led the faithful astray. Mother Teresa's message on the train, a mystic message and experience of God, forever changed her life's path, with Jesus showing profoundly how He thirsts for souls, and asking her to come be His light. And more. Of course He explained more. And the other book read by direction was Fr. Iain Matthew's discussion of the writings of St. John of the Cross, titled, I think: Impact with God. Not sure. Was such an outstanding book that I sent it to the Da to read. But yes, it too verified the two worlds within the One Reality of the Church, and how God utilizes souls in varying degrees within, and our call to strive ultimately for the one, as it peaks in our eternity (and now, within the Sacraments and the Word of God).

As for someone who keeps tabs on such matters has informed, there is still the niggling over what hermits call themselves or not, whether a Catholic hermit or a whobody hermit, whether Jesus' Catholic hermit or Canon Law's Catholic Hermit. Whether a priest can call a hermit a Catholic hermit, or whether a Bishop must call a hermit a Catholic hermit.

Of course, ultimately and presently, it does not matter. Such niggling only brings the nigglers to the imprisonment of Kohlberg's fourth stage (or even down to the second) of moral development. To a hermit of Christ, a Catholic hermit without identity, it does not matter. It does not matter to pew Catholics, nor to non-Catholics. And it will never matter to anyone but those few who are caught up in identity and need for renown in the visible Church.

I'm sure St. Bernard would have much to say in debate or correspondence, but to assure the simple, humble, solitary Catholic hermits out there, striving for the interior Church in silence, all is well and all shall be well.

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