Just finished some weeding in the hot afternoon sun and started a soaker hose. The earth is parched, and it is not yet officially summer. With each watering of plant and tree, "I thirst! But I thirst for souls!" seems a good interior appeal.
These living plants must accept and embrace God's choosing of soil and weather, as well as if and when I add my part to their temporal needs. I wonder if they sense my prayers for all sorts of aspects of this world and the next? Are they aware that I must remove and discard--kill!-- whatever hinders them and otherwise would choke them to death? Each hindering weed or encroaching grass is as sin.
All this is daunting, participating in such intimate ways with life and death and being responsible to discern whatever God wills, whatever is best no matter the sacrifices involved.
A friend emailed a selection from Romans 8 (today's Divine Office reading). In it, St. Paul writes of what it is to live an unspiritual life compared to a spiritual life; he concludes it is rather pointless to not live the spiritual life, for the other is death and no gain now or later, truly. Her sending this Scripture is one of those affirmations that the Spirit brings, one to another, through temporal means.
It is one of many affirmations coming in, regarding embracing and accepting God's choosing. I have come to recognize the marvelous and unique opportunity God is offering and allowing--choosing for me. I must not resist no matter how breath-taking is the presentation, the offering, of a life in yet more solitude and yet more strict separation from the world. He has been whittling the unspiritual for the past couple of years, and this last year seems more a taking the axe to sweet attachments closest to my human heart and mind.
The friend suggests without my having mentioned the discernment, that it seems God may be asking of me a sacrifice in less physical attendance at Mass, at least for awhile, and see what other the Holy Spirit may divine. The friend suggests it may be another aspect of the hermit vocation that is painful yet willed for reasons we do not understand. Yes, I had wondered that, myself.
And I am trying to embrace and accept for to keep pushing otherwise is not bearing fruit. Much has been learned in this time between Ascension and Pentecost; my thinking one way has opened to thinking another way. I am willing to give it a try. I think of how Mary did not resist God's will and choosing, and I ask her to help me do likewise. She is full of the Holy Spirit's grace. She understands and also can dispense whatever grace He wills.
This morning I had a brief fear in the reality of just how much God has whittled me over time. My lived hermit life is far more solitary than ever I expected, especially for one with three adult children and many friends and who otherwise had been utilized in church life previously, in active ways.
But the past year has brought massive changes in familial relationships, beyond grasping how this could be. The new location is not the friendly environment touted or anticipated, at least not in my immediate surroundings. The condition of the hermitage requires far more work than any of us thought, and finances were drained by usurious contractors and workers. The laptop is the mostly impersonal, anonymous window to the world.
God has upped the ante on daily life here at Te Deum (hermitage). The only interactive family member is a distance away and quite busy with work and family. Physical encounter is rare now, with anyone. If not for selling an old refrigerator in the pole barn and a man picking it up, there would be no contact with people for the past three days. There will unlikely be other for another five days, perhaps longer.
For quite some time, there have not been phone calls--one incoming in the past four days--there will be less since finances preclude hired help indefinitely. I used my voice in a phone message on the birthday of one of two remaining, elderly aunts. The only other use of my voice might be in videos unless I begin speaking aloud to God, which sometimes is delightful--or use the voice to command the devil, as is required mode, out loud.
All as God wills. It no longer matters to me. I am worn from resisting. He assures that this opportunity is not anything I could mastermind, for I lack the backbone to willingly strip and deny myself. (Initially, I wept and wished to escape this degree of solitude, silence, suffering, and austerity.
Not all hermits will have these circumstances and more than I will have theirs. God chooses, and that goes for all souls, all people who have in effect some sort of rule of life with or without vows and consecration. The Gospel Rule is good for one and all. Embrace and accept God's choosing, though, and let Him choose--don't resist. I can tell you that the circumstances will come again in some other manner or time, as if we offer ourselves to God, He does as He wills.
Expect the unexpected. The aunt just called to remind me that God is with me. My voice this morning must have reflected the level of pain in this body; she was greatly concerned that I was in a massive pain siege. (No, that is how it is each morning upon waking: I engage in a pain stand-off for a few hours until I accept it under God's control). We then had a lovely conversation.