Thursday, March 19, 2015

Catholic Hermits: A Flapping of Wings

This nothing--who happens to be a consecrated Catholic hermit in this life--is alerted through various means when there is a great flapping of wings going on elsewhere on the internet, stirred by the nothing's writings.  Thankfully, this nothing Catholic hermit is spared from reading the flapping.

While the nothing Catholic hermit strives to give benefit of the doubt, it is notified that some others have perhaps tried whatever means to come up with some way or other that might deem this Catholic hermit not validly part of the Consecrated Life of the Church.  

The flap by the flappers has flappered down to now, am told, the professed evangelical counsels of some years past and the plan of life lived with diligence and sincerity, albeit humanly imperfect, are somehow invalid due to the nothing Catholic hermit's divorce close to 30 years ago, a decade prior to even becoming a Catholic.  (Not that being married outside the Church would be grounds for nullity if both parties are baptized as Christians when married.)

But another situation has its own humor.  The nothing consecrated Catholic hermit had started the annulment process twice.  One intake secretary for a diocese listed out several of the impediments provided for in canon law that fit the Catholic hermit's situation, and an annulment would be granted. The hermit at that time did not proceed, as it was told by the diocese chancellor, vicar general, and bishop's right-hand man, that an annulment was not necessary in order to be a Catholic hermit, noting the profession of the counsels and living the life.

However, a couple years later, the hermit was rather naive.  It was approached in an email by a hermit who said she was either already or in process of being a canonically approved hermit.  She had left one location to move to another, at quite a distance, in order to have a bishop who was open to the CL603 process for such.  This person encouraged this hermit to contact a certain hermit who was just about to profess as a CL603 hermit in her diocese.  The nothing Catholic hermit was told this person desired for this hermit to email, as she would like to encourage and assist in the hermit life.

Ah, it sounded so lovely and positive.  However, soon enough, this nothing Catholic hermit realized it had fallen into a snare with someone and that person's small group of comrades, who seemed easily threatened by others who do not go along with that one's agenda.  Even so, this nothing Catholic hermit looks to the good and tries to give benefit to the doubt.

Regardless, the nothing Catholic hermit decided to proceed with the annulment process, at the time being told by a parish employee it was an act of charity for the ex-spouse who had remarried, and thus in the eyes of the Church would be living in mortal sin.  This time, the tribunal intake secretary was recent on the job.  Turns out she had a personal bugaboo with the hermit, so decided the several credible causes that the other intake secretary had listed, were not now, after all, going to substantiate the grounds for nullity. 

Another obstacle was that there were no longer living witnesses who knew the hermit nor the spouse, both, prior to their marriage.  The diocesan authority who was directing the hermit at the time, said it was not necessary to have the annulment to be a Catholic hermit in the Church--and that the Lord would handle the ex-spouse's situation:  Just pray.

Now, with being notified of the current flapping of hermit wings and this other hermit and the incubus of supporters--it seems to be over the reality of what are the institutes of the Church.  The flap seemingly extends into what are the pertinent clauses and paragraphs and sections and parts of the Church documents, laws, and traditions pertaining to the Consecrated Life of the Church.  

This nothing consecrated Catholic hermit is told that there are imbedded suggestions that--one does not like to think they are targeting anyone--this Catholic hermit's divorce is not nullified by the Church. Has it been eight or nine years since that second intake secretary came to totally opposite conclusions as those of the first intake secretary?

And this brings us to the point of humor--and the very human element in the temporal Catholic Church:  employees, clerics, hermits, religious, bishops, lay single and married. Maybe we simply see matters one way or another, just as St. Jerome and St. Augustine (wasn't it?) who disagreed on some temporal Catholic world points and involving theology.  Or how about St. Peter and St. Paul who had quite the disagreement over status of the Gentiles.  That, thankfully, God resolved in a dream vision, and St. Peter had his eyes opened to the truth of the matter, according to God.

Even among bishops in such a matter as their voting in the United States, as a group, to agree to require crucifixes in every church sanctuary in the country--not all of the bishops have done this.  It may be hard for us Catholics to understand why some bishops still object to having a crucified corpus of Jesus on a cross in a church sanctuary; but perhaps it has to do with that human element in many people--that is, the need for personal control over a situation.  Evidently some bishops have quietly rebelled, have not wanted to be accede to the results of the bishops' vote at their USCCB meeting only a few years ago.  

(Dear readers living in the United States--do all the Catholic Church sanctuaries in your dioceses have crucifixes prominently placed?  In three or four different dioceses the nothing Catholic hermit has been in since the bishops' vote, there have not been--one a cathedral too!--not so much as on the processional cross.  Some say that rules are made to be broken?)

Finally, back to the issue of this consecrated Catholic hermit's nullity of marriage.  As it has unfolded over the years since the rather now-humorous interjection of personal issue in one Tribunal intake secretary in one diocese, causing her to totally ignore the several grounds for nullity of this hermit's marriage, it has all been resolved by a totally different Ecclesial means.  Ah, the Providence of God!

Perhaps it is best for all of us, and maybe especially us consecrated Catholic hermits, to not get too caught up in the ins-and-outs of the temporal Catholic rules and laws and the raft of interpretations of those rules and laws.  His Real Presence tends to work it all out, in truth and justice, over time, according to His will--and not without His sense of humor.  Even though the nothing consecrated Catholic hermit has a dull-as-nulled marriage that occurred over four decades ago, it is all rather ironic.  

Perhaps the irony is more so now after such silliness and flapping of hermit wings--the seeming scrutiny over this hermit's blog posts. Who is what and who is this and who is that and who is valid and who is not and who is in the consecrated life of the church and who is not, and why and what is truth and what is not, and who is wrong and who is right, and who can read canon law and who cannot, and who understands what is read and who does not?

[And yes, this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit knows the definition of and usage of words.  It excelled in linguistics and has learned foreign languages--not that it is fluent in the latter, for it is not!  But more so, it seems His Real Presence's Third Person or its angel, often times gifts the nothing with just the right word!  It is surprising, and when the definition and roots, the synonyms and usages are sought in dictionaries, the words are amazingly apropos!  Love you, His Real Presence and Angel Beth...!]  

[And yes, this nothing also is capable of comprehending what it reads.  Furthermore, it is capable of applying what it reads and on up the scale of Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning.  Big deal and so what, other than any gifts God gives us are appreciated.  But as to blog-flaps,  who cares other than a handful of hermit flappers?  Such foolishness in flappery is demeaning to the very vocation of hermits of any plaids, paisleys, checks, or stripes--the world over.]

No matter the flapping of hermit wings, this very-much-so consecrated Catholic hermit is still not at all interested in nor called by God to add on the stipulations of CL603.  His Real Presence has not willed it for the nothing Catholic hermit, and has given it specific reasons as to why not.  However, this is not necessarily His will for others any more than His will for others is His will for this hermit. 

Thus, this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit encourages others to discern if the CL603 option is God's will for them, and to do His will if it is.  There is surely good in the CL603 inclusion to canon law, regardless of the variety of bishops' interpretations and desires in their particular dioceses, for how they want their hermits to live their individual proper plans of life.  After all, variety is the spice of life, as is said.

And, as also is said that while laws may change, God is changeless.

Am deep into reading the marvelously mystical and Scripturally imbued writings of Pseudo-Dionysius now, plus sprinkling in daily readings from Thomas a Kempis' The Imitation of Christ.  So much more pertinent to the spiritual life and to uplifting one in the Faith is this reading, for a professed Catholic hermit who is living in the state of consecrated life of the Church. 

[And this nothing hermit keeps repeating the truth of this designation to make sure that it takes seriously its consecrated life and lives its vows of the evangelical counsels. The repetition hopefully ensures that we also realize that truth is very important, and that sticking with actual facts is necessary.  Yet another Truth to which we we look is to that which is above:  Jesus Christ--the Way, the Truth, the Life! His Real Presence is One-in-Threeness!]

Once more, this nothing hermit encourages and emboldens all discerning aspirants to the hermit life, as well as those already consecrated hermits whether publicly professed the evangelical counsels or not--to take a bit of God's time to read for yourselves the Church documents pertinent to our state in consecrated life, including the sections of Canon Law.  

Something so critical in one's life as professing the three evangelical counsels should not rely or hinge upon what others (even consecrated Catholic hermits) write or think, or how others interpret a vocation and/or the written Church documents.  

There is no great mystique or difficulty in reading Canon Law--any more than it is only for licensed plumbers to read the Universal Plumbing Code.  You can do it--read either, of course!  The Code of Canon Law is not difficult to understand.  Pray and ponder, and with confidence that God gives, read it for yourselves.

Time and again this nothing Catholic hermit has seen others on forums read what someone else (surely with good intentions) has determined and interpreted, or has presented online as authoritative Catholic hermit standards or even as "law".  

Follow no one.  Follow not those hermits who say they are this or that in the church, with whatever approval and degrees--and don't follow this nothing Catholic hermit, either.  Read for yourself, pray and think for yourself, be obedient to His Real Presence, and ask of and listen to your spiritual director, your priest, and bishop (providing they are well-studied in the pertinent documents and laws, themselves, as well as in the spiritual life).

But the best thing is to choose the better part.  As Jesus said of Martha's flapping of wings over her sister Mary's placing herself contemplatively at the feet of Jesus:  Mary has chosen the better part.

Dear readers, even if the above flap is not at all of concern to you--whether or not you a consecrated Catholic hermit--don't take your fellow man's word for it.  Take Jesus' Word: Choose the better part!

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