Sometimes His Living Word leaps into our minds and hearts. This morning in the Divine Office, these words of Isaiah 66:2 penetrate as profound reminder of what His Real Presence desires of us, of whom and of what disposition He approves.
"This is the one whom I approve:
the lowly and afflicted man who trembles at My Word."
It boils down to being humble and reverent (fear, awe of the Lord, of His Word).
Today is my final few hours in civilization. The body has reacted to weather and just the wear and tear of driving, feeling ill and achy and thus tired. The mind and heart pray for a good attitude, a cheerful disposition, or at least one that is cooperative in His will and agreeable to returning to the most difficult living conditions ever in a life of over 63 years.
Circumstances can provide us with "lowly and afflicted," and for that we can praise God. It is not that this hermit sought out the circumstances. No, it had done the research, prayed, and hoped for a wise move and functional living situation. It was not expecting to be duped, although prior to the final move, there was a sense of foreboding.
Lately, reading more of the saints and their writings, it makes marvelous sense that this hermit who so desires to have union with Christ, would at least mentally make a connection with the temporal poverty that was Jesus' while on this earth.
There has been progress! When the rats found access spots to enter the hermitage recently, this hermit did not "freak out." Yes, it was a bit disappointing after the efforts to secure the perimeter with bait stations; but after all, the weather is changing to chilly, and the desert is filled with critters the same as is civilization. But in the desert the critters are all more eremitic in nature, truly! In civilization the critters include an abundance of humanity!
Stability is one of this hermit's Nine S', and in silent stability, with serenity, it sought out any holes or openings that resulted when all the walls and ceilings were gutted. Rats can enter through a small hole of 3/4" or less. Amazing, intelligent creatures, they are! Unfortunately, they do not hesitate to chew wire, wood, or even plastic pipes (if water flowing through them). Just a little more effort such as sliding under the old porch, and this hermit will mix mortar and seal off a few more openings into the crawl space.
Like sin, rats (and weeds) can be kept out of one's life and mind, and out of one's dwelling. It just takes some effort, a persevering attitude, a bit of humility in realizing that, yes, we, too, must deal with that which many, particularly the poor and lowly ones of the world, have to deal with in far worse circumstances. We also can praise God that He has created us, also, as intelligent beings, and we can utilize this intelligence in figuring out ways to eliminate sins, rats and weeds...or whatever menaces even if the trespassers do not consider themselves menaces at all.
We can live in awe and reverence of how His Real Presence reaches into our bodies, minds, hearts and souls in every day events. He teaches us if we consider the many lessons and the love with which He instructs...sometimes with a technique currently termed "tough love."
Now this nothing Catholic hermit must pray for courage to gather its few personal items and its Breviary (Divine Office), and head back to the desert and Te Deum House/Hermitage. It will be quite dark upon arrival, and the flashlight is upstairs; but thankfully there is a light near the front door, and the headlights of the used truck can shine enough to find the door. It will be very cold since the heat was turned off--just a wall heater, but it is better than the dire circumstances of last year's fall and winter.
Somehow, praying (or reading prayerfully) the various Hours of the Divine Office, has replenished a rhythm of peace and perseverance within this soul. It is good that the young Catholic family the hermit met early last summer (bought the old stove) is a contact. The husband is a sheriff's deputy.
This hermit noticed that someone had been getting into the cellar, using the outdoor water hose, and that a few other small items outside where they had not been. The deputy checked the hermitage a couple times while this hermit has been in civilization and noticed a worker the hermit had hired the summer before last. That worker had been arrested but is out of jail, awaiting trial for some burglaries. He now admitted to stealing from this hermit.
Bless the thief's heart. He no doubt was trying to find shelter and water while the hermit was upstairs (prior to the journey into civilization) in not much better circumstances, but at least this hermit has a bed. However, the deputy needs a statement, as the thief will be better off in jail than prowling and stealing. There is small comfort that the prowler will have three meals a day, a shower, a toilet, a roof overhead and heat!
This hermit (and any of you dear readers, please!) must pray for him, as he falls under the category of lowly and afflicted (drug problems plague him). May he learn to tremble not at the sheriff deputies and judge, but tremble in awe and reverence of the Word, of His Real Presence.
Jesus lived without a place to rest his head, passed through grain fields hungry and plucked enough to eat, and took shelter and drink in places invited and some not on chill desert nights. (Consider His nights in the mountains, praying.)
From Isaiah's two-line reminder as to what, of us, the Lord approves, we can consider and pray for ourselves as well as those around us. Pray for graces of lowliness and trembling at His Living Word, of trembling in awe of His Real Presence!