Sunday, March 15, 2015

Catholic Hermit Profession, Plumbing, Poet-at-Heart

Ah, the nothing Catholic hermit has concluded its week-long review and "coagulation" of the blood and viscera of what one can term the "technicalities" of the also very beautiful, holy, consecrated, Catholic hermit life.

The review of Church institutes and canon law, plus of research, observations and procedures is an excellent and worthwhile endeavor, now and then.  This consecrated Catholic hermit appreciates the review, having professed the evangelical counsels over 14 years ago; and since then it has lived out the vocation to greater and lesser degrees:  praying, striving, learning, growing, all the while.

Periodically the hermit re-reads what the Church writes on the eremitic life in The Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Each time, something is learned and fuller understanding gained.  It is good! It is also good to review the wording of Canon Law 603, which is an option for Catholic hermits to pursue with their diocesan bishop (and at some point in the future may become the norm).  There is a good in having an avowal recognized by church law, via one's bishop.  

For those consecrated religious in Church approved communities and orders, it is yet another consideration as to how this would be effected in future, if CL603 was required of all Catholic hermits.  Would the consecrated religious' avowal of the evangelical counsels then need to be publicly professed into the hands of the diocese bishop in the locale of the religious brother's or sister's monastery?  Without the office of the bishop, there could otherwise be no recognition by law of the hermit.  Or would there be a law made to grant some authority in this instance, to an abbot or abbess?

But enough of it!  This excursion into thinking and writing about such matters reminds this nothing Catholic hermit of plumbing.  Finally, after a long haul of reading, researching and learning from the guys at Lowe's--all that seemingly could squeeze into one brain regarding plumbing seems to have finally "clicked."  The hermit finally "gets it"--and loves plumbing!  The flow-and-gravity has become clear.  

But, along the way there have been numerous licensed and practicing plumbers who have declared this or that was or was not code--not realizing the old, nothing hermit figured out awhile back that it needed to study the UPC (Universal Plumbing Code) used in this region.  Some of the licensed and practicing plumbers sought to take advantage with sky-high bids and said some area in the hermitage must be re-plumbed--not code, they'd say. They did not realize the old hermit figured out the game; it had researched and learned what is and is not "code."  Every pipe thus far in this hermitage is definitely code; and some exceeds code.

The sheer intricacy of fitting pipes of all sizes, which pipes of varying degrees to use for all kinds of functions, and the "fall" necessary--1/4" per linear foot--is just the tip-of-the-pipe-wrench as far as plumbing goes.  There are the hot and cold water lines to run, in copper or PEX, and then what fittings for PEX--crimped or "Sharkbite"?  How to install a p-trap is not as easy as some might think, until one gets the hang of it. Each pipe measurement in plumbing (not as in running electrical wire) must be exact.  The ABS pipe glue sets up in seconds; there are no "second chances."  The pipes must be marked for direction and depth to ensure all is in perfect place.  

Plumbing in old construction such as this humble, 1904 farmhouse has its own unique challenges.  Squeezing into the crawlspace and scooting on the side or back: not fun--especially when dead rat #54 was at first not recognized as partially decomposed and nearly grabbed by ungloved hand.

The details of laws, regulations and practices of plumbing abound.  Licensed plumbers themselves adapt code according to their interpretations, lived experience, and situational circumstances.  Plumbers differ among one another, insisting their way is the correct way...and sometimes the only way, regardless of code.  And codes tend to change over time, in precedents set, with new materials, by creative invention, and views of plumbing inspectors.  Codes vary in application according to differing counties, states, and countries around the world.  

All these and more aspects of plumbing do indeed remind this obscure Catholic hermit of the various views, and of the processes, stipulations, and even codes that are documented and undocumented, interpreted de facto and de jure  by a variety of bishops, religious superiors, priests, spiritual directors and diocesan vocation employees, in all the dioceses, regions, and countries of the world, and are then implemented by which a Catholic may become a consecrated hermit.  Even then, through time and tradition, seemingly set aspects can change.

The consecrated Catholic hermit is thus one who has, over all and through thick and thin, met the various Church stipulations and codes for such consecration, has avowed/professed (while not always publicly and thus not always recognized by church law) the three evangelical counsels, and is living a proper eremitic plan of life, accordingly.

Perhaps this is kind of like Rusty at Lowe's telling the hermit that now by plumber standards, it is a "journeyman"--whatever that means by whatever rules and whoever determines.  Am too tired to research that detail, don't need the classification, and is unnecessary at this phase because it won't be long until the plumbing here at Te Deum Hermitage, will be completed and wondrously functioning!

Also, the past week's writing from a review of the various, hermit-pertinent Church documents, has reminded the nothing Catholic hermit of writing its doctoral dissertation, years prior. The hermit's committee chair at USC sent a note in response to the submission of the fourth of five dissertation chapters. 

[Extraneous details....  The first chapter is to set the problem or thesis--what is to be studied with the goal being new findings in the field of study.  The second reviews current literature pertaining to the thesis.  The third lays out the plan of action in the study.  The fourth chapter states the research findings.  The fifth is the summary and outcome, with implications for future study and application of the findings.]

Anyway, the department chair made the observation that much of the dissertation writing is technical in nature, and that the then-non-Catholic, non-hermit is a "true poet-at-heart."  Yes, the contemplative nature and the writing gift--God-given from childhood on--is not at home in technical, temporal research and details, valuable as they are in certain applications. This soul's writing instincts exult in thoughts beyond the temporal, then and now. The spiritual view, the greater vision, truth, beauty, and goodness, creative application, love of God--these stir and implore the poet-at-heart.

So it is that the Catholic hermit, from early schooling through the doctoral level, has been trained in research and honed in seeking truth and facts.  For one thing, the home moral and Christian background was conservative and strict in attention to fact, honesty, and truth.  The educational practicum in research and attention to detail demands adherence to fact and truth.  One slip at the doctoral level, even if at the final defense of the dissertation, and the candidate can forfeit a hefty amount of money in university fees, the doctoral degree itself, professional standing, and most of all a career.

So it is, too, with plumbing.  Not seeking truth in code or not paying attention to detail, down to a quarter of an inch, results in dire failure.  Leaking pipes, sewer gas, water back-ups, pipe jams, not passing inspection nor selling a property until all is corrected--by then at great cost and far more work-are but some of the potential consequences.  

The nothing Catholic hermit, in the past, was content with the joys a flushing toilet, cold and hot water flowing from bath faucets or shower heads--with water draining without a second thought.  The hermit was blissfully ignorant of--and satisfied to know nothing of--codes and regulations.  Why stop up the brain with the detailed, technical knowledge of how many inches below the "flood rim" could a vent pipe be installed, how many inches out the roof required, how many inches off the finished floor must be a toilet supply line, or how many inches on center from stud wall should the toilet flange be set?

However, in life, we live amidst technical aspects of stipulations, provisions, and laws. These can be helpful in enjoying the conveniences--either of the tangibles such as running hot and cold water, or of a spiritual of a state of life that propels the body, mind, heart and soul toward God. Thereby much spiritual good flows into Christ's Church--His Divine Headship and His Body--Jesus and us.

So for now this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit has done the research, reviewed what it already knew, learned more from researching and reviewing what it had previously known and applied vocationally, and found emphasis in other aspects that will help it to live better its consecrated life as a Catholic hermit. Praise God Almighty!

Also marvelous, the nothing Catholic hermit can now return to enjoying this life in thoughts of things above--of His Real Presence and God-Is-Love, in praise of God and prayer for this world of souls in human bodies.  This is the poetry of the contemplative...and the joyful unexpecteds of the mystic.

Am back to reading a book selected by the young, spiritual friend and this hermit:  Pseudo-Dionysius, the Complete Works.  We thought this book of interest since the some reviews mention that these writings greatly influenced John of the Cross' thoughts and writing.  This is downright fun, so applicable, so uplifting!  To the nothing Catholic hermit, such works read like poetry and cause the heart to sing!

The other reading that thrills with its contemplative and ascetic thought--music to the inner ears--is The Imitation of Christ.  The older spiritual friend (we reading buddies live hundreds of miles apart) appreciates the Thomas a Kempis classic and has been patient while the Catholic hermit tended to the technical facts, truths, and considerations for the consecrated Catholic hermit in the Church today...and plumbing.

This Fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare: rejoice!) is also the feast of St. John Climacus whose writings remind us of the various practical and spiritual steps in The Ladder of Divine Ascent.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Little children, let us love one another!  Remain in His Love!

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