From St. Peter's Epistle, Scripture of today's second reading in Mass:
But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish....
This nothing Catholic hermit prays and hopes it will be found by His Real Presence to be at peace, and without spot or blemish. As for strong faith that it will be found thus, needs a bit more prayerful effort. Faith in that hope butts heads with the mind's thinking about how difficult to not sin. Sin causes spots and blemishes.
Was pondering this morning, growing up Protestant. All was very good, loving, with marvelously loving and moral people in my parents' circle of friends and family. They were not without trials and sins, but it was all the more amazing because they did not have conscious knowledge of the various virtues and vices, other than in generic terms. We had nothing to go on other than the power of His Living Word and passed down moral ethics and Puritan values. This hermit considered, had it when young, the writings of holy people--the saints, mystics, and of their lives--plus books on virtues, it would have appreciated learning and practicing these, consciously. Yet it had the examples of some very good people who stayed out of trouble, due to their virtues even if not labeling them as such.
Even now, it is a privilege to learn more about the virtues and to practice them, and to learn how to identify the vices and try to eliminate those. Yet, of the family and friends considered, they do well based upon moral values of right versus wrong in broader terms, in more generic ways. Scripture is a most powerful sacrament, and the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes are profound.
But this nothing Catholic hermit delights in learning all matters about the soul, about any ways in which one can strive to be found by Him at peace, without spot or blemish. Having access to books that explain the devil, angels, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, the Virgin Mary, the saints, the three ways of the spiritual life--as well as some who enjoy learning and practicing the faith in more specific manner--is joy to this nothing hermit.
We are all different in what delights and in ways helpful to our soul's progression. Today am preparing the body, mind, heart and soul for the practicing the little exercise with others who thankfully find much at issue with this hermit's way of being, way of expressing.
A spiritual friend called last night, hoping the hermit was not as cold as a week ago. Progress in that. But mentioned the little exercise and how it has come about, and the friend mentioned a woman who she found to be fascinating and could light up a room, but that others disliked the same woman as being too dramatic, too potent in presence.
Considered two Terry's. Teresa of Avila's personality and way of expression was different than Therese of Lisieux's. Some were irked by one or the other. Some found both appealing with understanding that the externals do not so much matter other than to enjoy the uniqueness, as one would flowers and trees.
It is amazing how some people love pitbulls and are able to train them without incident of their known aggressive traits. This hermit would not go there with that breed, personally. So it is fair to discern what one can risk and what one is better off not attempting to adopt. But it does remind us, such as with flowers, that perhaps we ought detach from tremendous likes and dislikes in such aspects of externals.
Why like a rose and then dislike some other type of flower? Just like them all! Appreciate their beauty in being God's creation. Why like one color and dislike another? Why not love them all for their amazing qualities?
Perhaps we ought learn, in our process of virtuous ascent, to detach from disliking this and that, unless it is sin. We ought dislike sin and keep as far away from it and its influence, as possible. And as we all sin, then dislike that part of us enough to try to change it, to remove the spot and blemish. If another is sinning, then dislike that but make sure we recognize the difference between sin and personality traits. If a personality trait becomes sinful in nature, then dislike that.
Surliness comes to mind, or temper, or melancholy. This nothing hermit struggles against melancholy and despair. Yes, there are physical reasons (intense, constant pain) that urge the sorrows and despairs, but this hermit always prays and strives to overcome that aspect. It has not yet succeeded in eradicating it, but it keeps hoping and striving for that beautiful goal of overcoming. And it understands when others need to avoid or put boundaries for themselves, when the nothing hermit is suffering extra much.
Yet others are able to reach in and encourage, and to remind the hermit that its pain must be too high, and that it will get through it. When cold and down, blemished and spotted by darkness of spirit and low in desire to endure, some nurtured and others did not. One wrote that everyone has problems; two others wrote this hermit could come live with them in their lovely, warm homes until it got warmer here. One sent a small check, with a note saying it hoped could be helpful. That check caused the hermit to get a portable heater, and also stirred the mind to try to work all the more so that it could someday help the person who sent it, or help someone else in need.
So we can learn to recognize our own and others' sins and weaknesses; but we also can learn how to respond in order to help them pull out, to erase the spots and heal the blemishes. All the positive does help us all to come to more peace. Bending to those who do not yet see or grasp how to help those who cannot realize to love the otherwise not-sinful externals, is worth learning.
In other words, if a person or more dislike the particular flower that we are, we can by example, ourselves, appreciate all flowers. And, we can bend our own stems and take on hues and scents that may assuage the others' dislikes, at least a little. Someday, they may learn to remove particular disliking of externals that are not sins and rather are the peace-scents of life itself.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another, for love bears all things (but not sin, or so we are taught). May we be found, in peace, without spot or blemish!