Even though nothing Catholic hermit is pondering and rejoicing today for the celebration of Gaudete [rejoice] Sunday in Advent, the second reading of today's Mass fits well St. Zosimus' rule of life.
This is the rule that he adopted after he went farther into the desert and found the monastery where older and wiser monks lived this rule. (In addition, Zosimus was taught to not be curious nor think about what others were doing, how they were living their spiritual and daily lives.)
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
"May the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do this" (1Thessalonians 5:16-24).
What imparts lovingly upon body, mind, heart, and soul is the exhortation to rejoice, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in every circumstance of life. To realize that God Himself can sanctify us entirely--when we live our lives in accordance for what God wills for us in what ought to be easy-enough instructions, makes one wonder why we yet lump along.
Perhaps we quench the Spirit? Or do we not train our minds and hearts to rejoice? Do we not give thanks to His Real Presence no matter what befalls us or others? (Do we not find good in all situations and praise Him for that good?) Do we not train ourselves to set prayerful intentions--simply, not anything too complex--when we go about any task or endeavor, including falling to sleep at night?
When it comes to abstaining from every form of evil, we need to recognize what is evil and what is good. Maybe we do not pay close attention to discerning good from evil; maybe we do not distinguish what Jesus teaches in Scripture from what society has taught is all right. The admonition is to abstain from "every form" of evil.
That which on initial reading and consideration seems so do-able, does have its challenges. This brief selection of Scripture in itself provides much to consider and to put into present moment practice, for the rest of our lives. Why not try?
Already this nothing Catholic hermit admits to bits of thoughts as to how the body is extra painful today. Then came bits of thoughts of how limited the physical life has become over the years.... Well, thank God for having a body that can feel pain and yet function! Thank God for the beautiful day! Thank God for His Real Presence! Rejoice!
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another as God Is Love! Let us do as the Spirit inflames in us and provides the means to come to God--and be sanctified by Him!