Have been gutting the final wall and part of the slant-ceiling. Was thrilled to come upon Rat #50. There have been more than 50 rats rid out of here including body parts, but only kept a count on whole ones. Took a photo; that seemed appropriate for the celebration: Golden Jubilee of God's Lesser-Liked Creatures.
Not sure why we don't like rats. Perhaps it is due to their disease-carrying gifts, plus they rapidly reproduce, make extensive nests, and love to chew coated electric wires and plastic pipes if carrying water. This hermit wonders if it has to do with their being so intelligent. We humans may feel a bit insecure with rodents that are so bright. A lesser-known fact about rats is that their feces is one of the highest allergens. No wonder this hermit has had to take an antihistamine daily for the past 19 months.
There are seven more, angled-ceiling, ship lap boards to remove. Just have to take a break, though. There are boxes and some piled furniture in the way, and the hermit's back is starting to give signals. While using the prybar and reciprocating saw to remove the tongue-in-groove boards, the strength of 110-year-old nails impressed. Far easier to remove contemporary nails, not as quality-strong.
Prayers for the poor ensued with the rat discovery and the globs of birds nests, also. Perhaps the openings are secured now. But for the very poor who live in tenement buildings or in huts in a third-world country, there are no means of keeping the rats away, or snakes, or cock roaches, or many of the known disease-carrying critters. Tenement owners do not always care about their renters nor take care of their buildings.
Then, a thought recurred. It has been effervescing in the hermit's mind and heart, off and on for awhile. And it has been tested, too, for sure! The thought is: Why not allow love to take over?
It would make life so much easier. It would make life fun. It would simplify matters with all relationships and even with people one does not know personally but may differ in outlook, such as with politicians or criminals one reads about or hears in the news videos.
Yes, why not allow love to take over the body, mind, heart and soul?
So this hermit started doing just that. Just let love pervade. When someone would come to mind who has been less-than-kind, or someone who has overcharged or not told the truth, or someone who has lurked in the memory as being cruel and unfaithful--just let love flow. Just love the someone; love all the someones. It is so simple!
Then, came a test. A someone arrived who did not like being here. The hermit loves this someone, but the someone's frustration gurgled to the surface. Anger swirled in surliness and tension. Grumpiness ruled the someone. This hermit began to pray within. Lord, please let love take over. Then at one point, when we had changed tasks several times in order to try to find something the person (who dutifully came to help even if dislikes this type of work) might like better or find less frustrating, even that task caused grumbling and frustrated moans.
So the hermit said it would do it, not to continue. Another someone interjected that the other was just making noises. Well, we continued, but there were two other occasions of heightened stress; the hermit persevered in God's patience (was not the hermit's!). Then the someones decided they needed to leave. It is always good to know one's limits.
The effect on the atmosphere and the effort at allowing love to take over, had made its mark on Te Deum Hermitage as well as the hermit in it. Yes, in this first major test of allowing love to take over (in which there were actual someones in person), love had become an "effort." For that night and next day, the hermit was depleted and weepy. The situation was so very sad. Why could not a someone that age and with good health, very bright and educated, and a Bible-reading Christian, not control the temper and be of better cheer?
Well, why couldn't a Catholic hermit of 14 years and in the sixth decade of life as a Christian, not allow love to take over not only during the challenging time of physical presence, but after? Why the weeping? So in theory, allowing love to take over is delightfully simple. In thought it is accomplished, just like "that."
But in practicum, even with praying while in the challenging situations with someone or someones, allowing love to take over requires grace. And grace is necessary after the encounters, for it is God's grace that allows love to take over, in addition to one's desire and will.
As for the weeping, by the next day, this hermit realized how much it does very much love the someone and that someone's someone who came to help. And it made the hermit very sad to think that the someone is so tense and grumpy in a lot of instances, not just helping out here. This hermit realized love was taking over, after all! It is love that causes the sorrow, for one can love someone very much, and pray and hope the someone will feel that love, be healed by that love, and not be chained to whatever it is in the past that has formed a frustrated temperament.
Yet again, this hermit considered its own struggles with physical pain. It seems as if living always in allowing love to take over would be quite easy if this body was not chained to so much physical pain. But, perhaps there are someones out there who think they would be filled with love and free in love, if only their their minds or personalities were not chained to so much mental or emotional pain.
Still, allowing love to take over is a good thought, a good practice, and good desire, and a grace for which to pray. If one can allow love to take over in the mind, when thinking of someones who otherwise could be upsetting or who do not seem to allow love to take over in regard to their own thoughts, words, and treatment of ourselves or others, then we can praise God for the grace of love taking over in our thoughts being loving.
It is true, that this hermit has been set free when it has allowed love to take over with thoughts of any number of someones, of all someones! And, although it took a bit of suffering and grieving when the practicum was at the hermitage doorstep, love did take over; but it was not easy. Yet love took over, all the same, and the body, mind, heart and soul are free in that glorious love and ready for another in-person practice session of allowing love to take over.
The Second Letter of John, Verse 5, seems to be the Apostle of Love whispering a reminder in this hermit's soul:
"...I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it"
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another! Remain in His Love, walk in His Love; and all the someones we think of and encounter will be taken into His Love by our allowing love to take over.