The nothing Catholic hermit's family came and went yesterday. They worked so very hard, lovingly, helping the hermit who had to remain in bed, to re-arrange and clear out so that work can more easily progress. Soon it will be time for drywall installation.
There was another phone conversation with the hermit's aunt who lives far away but close in spirit. She has become increasingly conversant of Christianity and spiritual, as her activity in the temporal world wanes with age and infirmity. A Protestant, also, and filled with faith and love of Christ, she tried again to interject that this nothing hermit will get better, that God desires a happy life and a good one, and that the hermit has too much too offer others, and will become social again.
So the hermit once more explained in little ways, the vocation of a consecrated eremitic, of its call by God to this life for very concrete as well as numinous reasons. The aunt began to grasp better than she has in the past, that this hermit's life was not cut off from humanity. Rather, it has those whom God chooses, to make contact and seek out for spiritual purposes, and that there will not be in future social life, per se, for the Lord has curtailed the hermit through suffering, from group involvements.
This has been for very good purpose, in utilizing the hermit for those who have spiritual needs, in addition to the simple acts of charity that a hermit can provide to others when the present moment allows. The vast interaction is in prayer. And whatever specific gifts His Real Presence bestows upon a hermit, those are shared in ways He determines. The hermit's aunt now better understands the gift of writing that this nothing Catholic hermit is to utilize, and that there are contacts with others mostly through correspondence, and that can include strangers.
It was a very good conversation with the aunt, as it elevated to a higher level of discussion, and the Holy Spirit affirmed an understanding hitherto not reached.
In this time of recovering from serious illness, the hermit's evangelical sister has emailed. She usually does not stay in contact other than limited, standard greeting. Her concerns for years have included the salvation of this nothing Catholic hermit's soul, for there is a bias against Catholicism. Who knows to what extent it remains. The hermit no longer attempts to explain the Faith, or reassure that yes, we do have the Gospel. This morning an email expressed more than usual. She described their going to their worship service on Sundays, and one of her daughter's and family sit with them. Her minister is going to preach from Genesis today.
Of course, nothing Catholic hermit is very thankful and pleased for her and her family. They are all close in proximity and are evangelical or Baptist, so of like worship modality and Biblical mindset. These various churches practically seem to have differing cultures. Having been Protestant for the first 44 years of life, nothing Catholic hermit can attest to this from lived experience.
And, we Catholics have a certain culture, too, even if that can vary quite a bit in different parts of the country, and within the divisions that occur among Catholics to this day--those who live in obedience and those who consider themselves "progressives", as in progressing beyond what they feel is an outmoded Church, sluggish in change to keep up "with the times." St. Paul and many of the early Church Fathers chronicle similar attitudes; it is nothing new, and thus not really "progress"--at least not for souls' spiritual progression, nor for unity of the Body of Christ.
Yet, regardless of among Catholics (note the formal schism between the Eastern and Western Church over a thousand years ago but certainly misunderstandings and factions before the first century ended) or Protestants or whatever other sects or religions represented in our families, including unbelievers, we are family. We are part of the family of man, of God's created children. And when we who are part of the Holy Catholic Church and are bound to one another in a depth that is indescribable to those not fully a part the Church, connect one with another, there is a deep, spiritual bond no matter if earthly strangers or not.
It perhaps has to do with the reality that man does not live by bread alone. Yet he also does not live without the bread--the living Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. So there is life in the Sacraments, and that includes the Body and Blood as well as the Living Word of God: the Scriptures. And somehow, it is mystically this combination that instills the precious bond among Catholics, regardless of how despicable we may behave toward one another at times, or the disparity of devotion and spiritual understanding among us.
Yes, there are those who do not practice the faith or know it; there are those who as is said, are Catholic in name only. And this condition is evidenced within biological families as well as in the family of man, and the disparity of level of faith and practice, of faith and works, is evidenced among varying sects of Christians and in various religions of the world.
So this nothing Catholic hermit, while the opportunity presented itself in the conversation with the aunt to explain more than previously, and with her now more open to grasp (probably imbued due to her valid concern that the hermit could have died in this illness), the response to the hermit's sister will not include any attempt to reassure her that in its Catholic faith, yes, we have been studying the Book of Genesis in daily Mass--the priests all over the world each day preaching and teaching on Genesis--for the past week. And indeed, we cover the Bible every three years, day by day in our worship of the Trinity.
Plus, we also receive the actual, transubstantiated Body and Blood of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, daily for those who are able to be physically present at Mass, and at any time day or night in spiritual communion, if we cannot physically attend. In addition, we have a blessed direct connection between the altar and the confessional, as we have the Sacrament of reconciliation in which Jesus can in sign and real presence, wash clean our souls--temporally and mystically.
So when the hermit's sister tries to reassure the nothing Catholic hermit, that God loves it very much, and hopes that the nothing Catholic will be saved and will join its daughter and her family in their Nazarene church, there is nothing to be said other than to praise God for the love of this sister in Christ, and to be thankful for the many prayers offered for its nothing Catholic soul. And the attitude of this Catholic hermit must ever be one of humility and gratitude that this loving sister and her family are such strong, loving, Biblical Christians who pray for this nothing and who love it, and whose prayers are valued and beloved by the nothing.
Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine. This is the only response necessary, the only explanation needed--and that, not even stated as such other than after expressing gratitude to those who do not understand our calling and our conversion as being in the Body of Christ, of the Holy Catholic Church.
Just be thankful and praise His Real Presence for all of us Christians, for we embrace one another even if some of us are considered less aware of the Scriptures or of faith or salvation, than others. We need and can benefit by any and all prayers, and even benefit from and delight in any misunderstandings of our faith, and especially, for us consecrated religious, as Catholic eremitics, of any misconceptions of our vocations--which can include a life of tremendous trials and suffering.
A Catholic hermit's family can provide such richness and love! How precious are each and every member! How blessed for the disparities and the unique views of why we exist, of Who Is our Creator and Redeemer (and for some, in a phase of disbelief, also beloved family one and all).
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another! God Is Love! Remain in His Love!