As an update on the heat pump demise, after several calls, the heat pump installer did call back. It took driving a distance, explaining to a kindly person the difficulty, and that person calling and also leaving a message to at least please call and advise on next steps possible. Is there someone else to contact to help figure out the problem? Emphasize: Old hermit with pain very cold. Just need a response.
He thinks the circuit board is probably "blown." He thinks there was a power surge yesterday, early afternoon. That could be a here-and-now cause. (The spiritual aspect is yet another, and to this hermit is the important cause with a resultant effect and desire.)
The man is away in civilization and will not be in this area for a few days, and then will need to order a new circuit board. Is there a space heater available? Yes. The hermit can remain in this one upper room with the space heater, sock hat, wool jacket, wool socks, and under the covers. An occasional trek downstairs into the very cold suffices for water and tidbits to bring back upstairs to eat. Not much food is necessary while being sedentary.
Praise God for an answer and a next step in a few days, to make progress on a very tangible but wonderful need: heat in the cold. Ah, if an early desert father or mother, could simply build a fire to keep warm. (Fire-building is in itself not a simple effort, but indeed it is more convenient and do-able than relying upon electronic heat pumps. But there is no legal leeway to build a fire in a hermitage today that would not result in major damages to the structure, the fire and police departments involved, insurance company investigation, and an arrest and fine for having caused a fire....)
The day has dragged and much time seems wasted, for the mind has wanted to do some tasks. The body is too ill with pain from the cold to be able to perform those tasks. What is the signal grace, then? It is to cease the thoughts of manual labor or even of driving back into civilization for more insulation. Too worn out; too cold; too late in day to attempt other than remaining in bed, praying.
Since signal graces are on the mind, the thoughts turn to signal graces of the past.
There was the time when praying in the first parish after conversion to Catholicism. Lying on back on pew in empty church (had to do that to keep back from too much pain), was praying and praising without words. An insight came. It was that while we pray for priests, we also ought praise God for the priests who are holy and outstanding. It was deeper, more profound an insight, though. More of how immensely pleased is God when a priest truly loves Him and truly desires holiness, and does all to be the instrument of God that God desires of priests.
And even so, the insight was far more penetrating, the joy of God's pleasure so intensely expressed with the message and insight, that out the left side of the hermit's head came a tremendous flash of light and massive sound. It emanated outside, and the hermit sat up out of the contemplative mode (for the thoughts had gone so deeply into His Real Presence's view of such priests' souls, that the mind was not aware any longer...until the bang and flash of light).
Shortly after, an assistant priest came into the church and looked about, checked the lights and sound system. No power. Then he noticed the hermit alone in the darkness, and asked if had seen the light and heard the bang? The entire church and rectory's power had been blown, a transformer just outside and to the left had exploded.
The impact of the thoughts at the time, although too deep to adequately express, are ever with this hermit. The immensity of God's love and pleasure in the souls of priests who love Him to such a high essence as to live their lives in great holiness--and of that for any soul, but so magnified in His pleasure are the good and holy priests.
When in high school, the now-hermit was reading a book at a friend's house, waiting for her to return from a date. Her parents were away, and they wanted a friend to spend the night with their daughter rather than leave her alone. All of a sudden, while deep into the book (The Cherry Orchard by Ibsen), a radio blared from upstairs.
Ah, it must be the new clock-radio the friend mentioned purchasing for going off to college in a few months. So, went upstairs, but instead of some new radio, it was an old radio in a back bathroom. It was not just turned on a little, but was turned on full volume, and there were voices speaking. Just turned it off, still thinking it must be a clock radio with a timer set.
The friend returned, and this now-hermit commented what a jolt when their clock radio turned on. What? That radio was not a clock radio; her clock radio was packed in its box, unopened and unused. The friend mentioned they had had some odd occurrences connected with that bathroom; but over years hence of paranormal experiences, this hermit has learned to discern that they all have a message or meaning that emanates from His Real Presence, even if the allowance of dark forces to be the enactors. All the signal graces come from God, as He is Creator of all good and the ruler over all good and evil.
This hermit has had doors open and footsteps into houses that signal someone has died, and usually who that someone is. There have been rushes of air in an otherwise still room--signal grace to pray for someone, and often accompanied by a vision of a scene, assisting in the prayer focus. There have been "knockings" coming from a wall, and usually if the hermit is reclined, coming from the wall opposite the crown of the head. This is an action of the Holy Spirit. The knock is loud and sharp, and it most often can be likened to an exclamation point upon whatever the hermit was praying. What to do? Praise God and continue praying more upon that particular point.
Sometimes the signal graces can involve movement of objects, but this is not as common. Once when bed-ridden with severe pain, the now-hermit fell asleep, praying. The next morning, beside the bed, was neatly piled the papers copied a week before, from some research done in a university library, on the Holy Spirit. The hermit had forgotten about these papers in the midst of such pain, but what was the message? Read them! And, much was gained on knowledge of the Holy Spirit. Praise His Real Presence!
Years ago, a couple days prior to the back surgeries, the children had been jetted back to be with their grandparents, as the surgery was going to require time in hospital. The pain became so severe that this now-hermit could not rest, so crawled out into the family room and lay on the floor, weeping from the pain itself. Then, in the dark, lights started to flash to the right of the hermit's body. Turning its head, the lights repeated themselves in a pattern. If they had not repeated themselves three distinct times, one could dismiss it as some 2 a.m. car lights (although no road near enough for car lights to be visible, anyway). The lights three times flashed in luminous order, making the sign of the cross each time.
The signal grace was God's way of reassuring that all would be well. Yes, all would be well. He is near. He would be with the now-hermit and her children, and her parents caring for the children, and the surgeon and nurses. The lights signaled peace and love. What was particularly stunning was that the lights made the sign of the cross, and the hermit was not then a Catholic, and as a Protestant had never made a sign of the cross. It was not part of the Protestant culture.
These are but a few of many signal graces, too many to recount. Signal graces are not creed-exclusive, nor of certain religious groups or only for certain souls. Yet they do require us to recognize them, to not discount or brush them off or ascribe to coincidence. The signal graces' purposes all run in a universal continuum: His Real Presence teaching, messaging, signaling, exhorting, reminding, reaching in, being with us.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Let us love one another, little children! Remain in His Love!