Such a lovely time away from Te Deum House and into civilization but was quite ready to return. The daughter has noticed the transition effort in being in temporal comfort and then returning to the hardships of this place.
Dom Scupoli's writings in the particular chapters being read address sloth--not simply spiritual sloth but the temptation to cease working at a task when there are so many tasks as to be overwhelming. He then asks of the reader to make the spiritual connection, as well.
There is great progress with the little grandson in mastering a youthful and very human tendency to grumpiness when something does not quite go his way, or when some project or schoolwork is frustrating. He seems to respond to the little suggestion God gives his "Gaga" that each step and thought we take or have is a step toward goodness or bad, heaven or hell. Just the little reminder, and he pulls right out of a bad attitude. Ah, but his Gaga could do as well when the physical suffering exhausts the body, and the dark angels try to trip the mind and spirit.
But there is progress outwardly here, and within, also. The good is grasped more and more from what appears as otherwise negative. A helpful conversation the other night with the spiritual father brought about his assessment of whether or not this "nothing" Catholic hermit is being moved in the direction of not belonging to a parish, or at least that God seems not willing active involvement if involvement at all, other than of love and prayer for all peoples on earth as it is in heaven.
He thinks God is not willing this hermit to be in a parish. What has occurred, is the rather fearful, awkward, leading to uncharitable, reactions of the parishioners and priests seemingly due to an atypical but not unheard of state during Mass. And when the waters have been tested otherwise in small involvement, the nets have come up empty. It is quite simple, and the reality is set out and becoming more a direction than coincidence or fault of anyone involved. It just is as it is; and that is a good thing, for negative is merely the opposite of positive. Change and adaptation: Growth is at hand!
The reality of God's unique and individual desires for each and every soul is beautiful! We grow and go in a flow, and the stream is not as predictable as we might think. The spiritual father suggests trying the monastery for weekly worship; or if a parish for worship, then to anonymously and quietly come and go. He does not think God wills this hermit to be a parishioner or belong to a parish. Our conversation included those hermits who were not at all parishioners. It was not easy to think of any of which we could identify in history, who were. None came to mind. The fact of privately professed, Catholic hermits being consecrated religious, helps define the difference and provides reason and understanding.
Mother Teresa was not a hermit by vocation, but neither was she in a religious order after she left it to follow God's call to "help the poorest of the poor." She also was not a member of any parish. Much later she was called upon to formalize the women working with her, and the Missionaries of Charity were born and organized as a religious community within the Catholic Church.
The spiritual father and "nothing" conversed on several noted persons in the history of the Church (including John the Baptist) who can come to mind, who were not in parishes. If they had been in a parish setting, their religious lives and spiritual desires and emphases--well, one can ponder how that could be problematic with the every day efforts of many parish priests and parishioners.
["Repent! Repent!" Now, that would not gain favorable inclusion, would it? John the Baptist would not likely pass the scrutiny to give a program to elderly parishioners. And Jesus did not find loving welcome in His hometown temple, that is for sure, nor other temples of His day, either.]
We can also compare and contrast the various scenarios with today's parishes, as we exist in the present moment. And a hermit vocation is not the same in the living out as that of a parish priest or one in a religious order, or a lay parishioner, any more than their vocations are the same in the living out as a hermit's vocation.
All this causes this "nothing" Catholic hermit to ponder anew its vocation and the chastisement over eight years ago by the Guardian angel: "You have not been living nor honoring the hermit life that God has chosen for you and values very much."
That was a jump-startling event, causing more focus and effort in living and honoring the hermit life--which needed to be deepened through prayer, awareness, learning, listening and making some changes in outer and inner daily life. We can see over time, no matter our vocations, the shifts and the wanderings, and then the herding and guiding that comes from His Real Presence in both tangible and mystical ways.
It takes earth time, and it takes willingness to adapt and submit and to accept the gradual or sometimes blunt alterations. Now is a time for adapting and submitting all the more to honoring the hermit life God has chosen and values for this "nothing."
What causes the heart to sing?
That is a very good question to place beside various thoughts and actions throughout the day and night. When a stream is flowing as God wills, the water sings as it tumbles over the rocks, or when it slithers silently--barely perceived in stretches of calm pools.
Nothing now must consider for worship: Mass at a nearby monastery. [It is of a different rite, but that ought not matter in these circumstances. Presumably, if the apostles were alive today, they would be priests of various rites in either the Western or Eastern Church.] If "nothing" attempts worship again at a parish, then is to come and go without comment, politely decline answering questions if any, and ignore (as Jesus had said to "nothing" previously) the criticisms and judging from wary priests and parishioners.
This entire process has nothing to do with anything other than discerning, now, more, the unfolding of God's will regarding group worship in a specific hermit's life.
God does utilize situations in His created world and with His created people to help guide and direct His each and every created soul. We are to cast our nets even if we have cast them before. Time evolves, and the fish move along unseen in water's depths. Nothing is permanent in this life--no matter if a hermit or monk or nun or priest or lay married or single person.
We must live and honor the vocations of our lives which God has chosen for us and values very much, and this means there are shifts and adaptations and alterations along the way by which the Lord teaches us faith, hope and charity. We must remember always that these three greatest of God's gifts go beyond a pew, some structural walls, a town, city, country or continent.
Once we begin to open our eyes underwater as part of the flowing stream, and within the proper, peaceful flow and elements, our hearts begin to sing. Then we are living and honoring that which God has chosen--even if we see or find that outside the waters, there is hardship and contradiction.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another for God Is Love!