Thursday, September 25, 2014

Praying to Be a Better Hermit

Recently offered a heartfelt prayer to at least be a better hermit than have been, and more and more according to God's will, not the notions that come from others or self as far as what is the hermit life unfolding.  It needs to only be as God wills and directs as well as with the general guidance of those of the past centuries who were successful eremitics in their vocation.

And what clarifies as success?  It is those who are close to God, who become one with His Real Presence in this life, during one's life time experience no matter how long or short is that life.

Yesterday was very tired from a long day of work with the electrician who agreed to help with cabinet leveling and finishing the installation other than what this hermit can do alone with God, now.  But drove the distance to the daughter's to help clean in preparation for her in-law's visit.  Also had to get out a St. Bernard Love of God Bourbon Ball order.

All went smoothly until one template would not print out, although three others did, for the tin labels and inserts for the Love Ball order.   No substantial or communicative help was forthcoming.  Today there will be another attempt by driving to a library in hopes of more assistance with the obstacle.  It needs to be overcome in order to ship the order.

Awoke this morning in so much pain after returning late last night to darkness, chill.  But all the same, it is "home" here now, in the Order of the Present Moment.  And, getting up from this twin bed and thankful to have it, this "nothing" Catholic hermit got under the kitchen sink to see in what way possible to further support the sink.  There was a remaining glitch that came to light.  

Yet God has provided options now, and also the option of the printer at the library and maybe people there who might be in a helping mode.  God provides and overcomes all obstacles.  He lifts when we drop. He tosses the ball again when we fail to catch it.  What a gloriously patient and loving Father!

Then there come the thoughts as to what "nothing" would be if without God!  What would we be without Jesus Christ?  What would we be without the Holy Spirit?  How would we get past even one small obstacle?  

It seems as if a consolation comes, and on its heels comes two or three obstacles.  To pray for the grace of a good disposition and to better our attitudes and dispositions, is key.  We need the graces, and it is said that the Virgin Mary dispenses graces.  Include the Mother of God in our requests for more graces, and  pray for the appropriate ones according to God's omniscience. 

God knows what each unique soul needs and how much of it, and when to grant it.  He seems to let us go along for a hunk of earth time before we notice the grace has been granted.  It can happen nearly imperceptibly.  Or, it can happen all at once.  We don't know until we ask and also cooperate with all we can of our wills.

We can learn to overcome ourselves.  We have to desire it, though; and it requires us seeing ourselves and our flaws.  The good Lord has granted the prayer to see the flaws in this soul--the flaws and failures as a mother and wife in those vocations, although tried hard to be successful.  And now to see the lack in the hermit vocation.  It has not been an easy vocation and none that this soul would have selected from the vocations available across the vocational spectrum.

Yet, that can be a very positive reality.  Especially when we consider Jesus Christ, we see that He struggled with His mission, too.  He was tested by trials and obstacles, by every manner of rejection and hurt.  He was not accepted by many at all, and that really has not changed much today--maybe worsened with people not wanting to be His in spirit and truth.

From The Catechism of the Catholic Church, this selection strikes a solid tone:

1009 Death is transformed by Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, also himself suffered the death that is part of the human condition. Yet, despite his anguish as he faced death, he accepted it in an act of complete and free submission to his Father's will. The obedience of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing.

Despite His anguish as He faced death, he accepted it in an act of complete and free submission to His Father's will.

So it is with vocations that one might never know about, such as this Catholic hermit was unaware of hermit vocations for 44 years as a Protestant.  Had no idea that God would call it into the Catholic Church.  Then, had no idea of hermits or of the eremitic vocation for another four  years, although was at least introduced to St. Antony of the Desert and a bit of Merton's hermit experiment for a couple of years before his death. 

There have been gradations and levels of dying to the world, dying to others and even this hermit's notions as to what its hermit life would be or should be in the day-to-day experience.  It is increasingly more austere, more solitary, more intense in each of the Nine S'.  More silent, more solitary, more slow.  More suffering and selflessness is asked.  More simplicity, more stillness, more stability, more serenity.

One wonders at how foolish to think that a call to a vocation would be easy or without plenty of anguish along the way.  It is said the hermit life is one of the most challenging of the vocations, and perhaps this is due to its being directly correlated with the amount of dying that is involved--either in slight increments or huge hunks of acceptance.  The hermit must make daily acts of complete and free submission to God's will.  This does not happen only at the time of profession and consecration.

Just recently, nothing Catholic hermit has realized more fully it is a consecrated religious in the Catholic Church.  The somber reality of this fact has helped in appreciating the responsibility to shift into place.  The mind reflects more upon the holiest of hermits of the past, those very successful in dying to the world, including the secular or temporal of the church.  

The stricter separation in praise and prayer of God for the church and for the world and for all souls living and dead, comes with dying to what one might think or become accustomed to in living out this rather mysterious vocation--mysterious to those in the world-at-large and to other Catholics.  

It is also mysterious to the hermit him- or herself, for it is fluid yet pivotal around death of self-will and set-notions and all about obedience even unto death, death on a cross (and whatever all those crosses can be in daily dying in various aspects).  

A hermit must be open to, as Jesus exemplifies, transforming what can seem like a curse of death or many deaths, into a blessing.  Through, with and in Him, we can be given the success of this reality.

It is interesting to meditate upon Jesus as, at various levels, living out the hermit vocation.  He is God and Man.  He is a Priest in the Order of Melchizedek.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is the Living Word of God.  His Real Presence abounds in all the Sacraments of the Church. 

And yet, in a certain sense, perhaps mostly spiritual but also in practical, temporal aspects, He also lived the life of an eremitic.  Ponder these aspects.  Try, as a hermit, to imitate His life within this perspective.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Little children, let us love one another, for God Is Love.

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