Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Striking a Chord and Finding One's Place

Mercy, the recent posts have struck a chord with readers.  Praise be to God!

Peace is returning, and a resolve with Catherine of Siena and others, such as Lorenzo Scupoli, to keep practicing acceptance as all comes from God for our good and for our learning lessons and discerning His will for each unique individual.

When "nothing" prays thanksgiving and totally grasps and understands the views of others and their rights and even perhaps wisdom or whatever rationale for certain choices in the governance of fellow Catholics or Christians, the personal situation has evolved over time with wariness developing most likely due to the external phenomenon during Mass, no matter what anyone's analysis of it.

Plus, in sharing the process and progress of an ordinary, Catholic mystic's experiences and the outflow, there are no doubt many aspects not clarified, for the inner life of the soul and the various interchanges with others in the silence and within, come naturally and spontaneously, and most often steadily.  An occasional standout dream, or a vision, or a nuanced nudge from the Guardian Angel add to the process of discerning.

It is simple enough to deduce that while nothing is indeed not fitting in to typical Catholic parishes and is not likely to, for plenty attempts have been made--the reasons for that bear weighing the positives, for there are always and mostly positives.  God moves the soul through change, and change is signaled by disruption of some sort and a disquieted soul, or so it seems is a good indicator.

However, there is not always or usually not, it would seem a next phase presented.  So the person has to let go of the rope, of sorts, while in mid-swing, and trust that there will be another rope swinging out there somewhere, to which to grab hold.  Or, to use Peter's way of walking on the water, we must simply and genuinely trust that if we stumble or start to sink or fall, that Jesus will reach out and lift us up.

Painting way up high, now using "Simply White" on the belly band separating the Jesus Eyes' greenish blue painted shingle siding from the future "Sonshine Light" yellow-tan paint for the plank siding, the thoughts come to a joyful encouragement.  Being high on a ladder can provide such goodness once there is faith in the process.  The mind forgets the height and the risks but rather meditates upon the hope and faith and love provided in being a member of the Body of Christ.

It is unlikely that "nothing" at this phase would fit into other church scenarios.  Just as nothing was so certain to be one of the top 25% success stories with the back surgeries 27 years ago, and ended up in the bottom painful 10% messed cases--there is no guarantee in the spiritual life that one's path will follow this or that certain other person's path--hermit, mystic, saint or nothing!  We discover the path as we are walking and climbing.  And God is so patient when we keep testing certain ascents over and over, or attempt repeatedly to try a certain branch-off or rappelling technique.

Those in religious orders are not in a parish.  Imagine if they were.  It just does not seem that it would work out well, from those of us who know the parish ways of existing and progressing.  Parishes are distinctly different from monasteries, yet they provide similar opportunities and avenues for reaching the same goals which very much are or should be steeped in worship of God and sharing His love with one another in that context.  They are also a means of providing spiritual growth opportunities in order to learn and practice the virtues and to grow in holiness individually and as a body of believers. These opportunities vary in function within monasteries and within parishes.

Then consider the hermit path.  It is neither that of a monastery or a parish, but is a "hermitage", to come to some kind of similar labeling distinction.  It is a religious vocation.  An avowed and professed hermit in the Catholic church is a "consecrated religious" regardless of public or private vows.  A hermit has a religious vocation, and its modality of existing is not typically in a monastery nor in a parish setting, but rather in solitude in a hermitage. 

But the hermit, like those in religious orders and those in parishes, have spiritual helps that can include people, their writings, their lived examples.  We have worship and sacraments and very much the Living Word of God and His Real Presence.  Whether lay or religious or in holy orders, we all are striving for union with God and to glorify God in all we attempt, in love of God above all things and love of others.

Thus, the heightened manual labor has assisted this "nothing' hermit in grasping all the more, after many splatters and wipe-ups, and cleaning of brushes and switching to other paint colors, that "nothing" has missed the mark many times over in thinking it must belong in a parish as a typical parishioner, or to interact in a parish.  This is as mismatched as it would in thinking it needs to exist or belong to a monastery, although often enough (and historically) hermits tended to travel weekly to worship in monasteries.  Perhaps this is because the monks and nuns and the hermits do share an avowed and consecrated religious vocation, although unique in various aspects one from the other.

And, it does seem that in the past three decades in the Catholic Church, those relatively few but growing number of hermits with public vows are known to worship in and belong to parishes.  Privately consecrated hermits who might choose to worship in a parish, or from parish to parish,* may tend to remain hidden in the sense that they may not need be known as hermits to the parishioners and often not to the priests.

[*Fifteen years ago when first receiving the call to the eremitic life, "nothing" corresponded with a privately professed hermit in another country who motorbiked to a different parish each day in an eight-day cycle.  There were eight parishes within reasonable travel distance.  One time when a priest inquired of his name and offered a ride (and his bike) home, wherever that was, the hermit politely declined and also gave but his first name--and regretted giving that much information.]

With all this thought out and personally in "nothing's" mind now, more clearly, the result may be a positive conclusion of parish-seeking or involvement.  There is a nearby monastery, very small.  The three monks there practice some aspects of the hermit life (but are not hermits per se).  Having been invited to Mass there awhile back., "nothing" might attempt that, as it may be a rope swinging toward the hand of which the hand could grab hold.  And, in that setting, there would not be the curiosity and concerns that seem to develop sooner than later in parishes with priests and parishioners, regarding nothing's spiritual life.

Perhaps fitting into parishes as a hermit is correlated to the hermit being known to others as a hermit. Perhaps then a publicly known hermit is more accepted by parishioners in having a different mode or category, and is not expected to fit in with laity or be like them.  But nothing is not called to be noticed as a hermit in a parish or diocese setting; and such designation would not be necessary, if in a monastery setting for Mass.

This has been a long and sometimes frustrating process,  but a good and necessary process, one would think, for each hermit to discern individually and uniquely.

The place for nothing in the Catholic church is in the hermitage, as a hermit and mystic.  That is the place God has chosen, and it must strive to exist in the Order of the Present Moment.  In this moment, then go outside to plant some free perennials and then do the second coat of Simply White on the belly band.  Travel to civilization this evening upon a family member's request to homeschool and tend the grandson for a couple days.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Little children, let us love one another, for love is of God!

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