Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Catholic Hermit's Responsibility

There are many responsibilities of a consecrated Catholic hermit.  They sift out in layers, perhaps, or a certain hierarchy of order--and am not going to attempt listing or setting them in priority at this point.  Probably does not matter that much, as long as we keep striving in holiness to live out the various responsibilities.

A huge responsibility (if we can even term these as such...not sure the best word) is to have positive movement in our souls toward, in, around, through, with God.  Divine Union, it is called, and the Unitive Way.  Pseudo-Macarius refers to wearing the raiment of ineffable light and resting in the Lord.

And while we pray and strive and lay our wills, intellects and our very souls before God for His use, the results should be seen, felt, perceived as light, His Light in refraction or reflection or from within to without, even if dim light.  The dim can grow--should grow--brighter.   And a Catholic hermit's God-glow-light [or Christian hermit: Macarius is adamant in referring to himself and others as Christians whether or not in any of the aspects of the Consecrated Life of the Church, Married, Lay, or Holy Orders] ought to lift or help propel the soul as well as other souls, toward God and the things of God.

It is an irony, then, that when this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit writes of temporal aspects of hermit life, which really do not amount to much in the spectrum of eternal life, there seems to be more blog readers from this country other than one or two other countries out there.  Otherwise, the readership of blogs that are more of His "Light" and spiritually--hopefully--uplifting, the readership continues to be from those of other countries, and not so much this one (United States).

Does this bear some analysis, even if not possible to do an in depth, statistical study?  Perhaps it is a practical reality when we consider how there are many levels of the spiritual life, and not everyone is moving in the same mode.  Some are starting out, and their starting out may be spiraling upward already more so than some who have been hermits for quite awhile.  Does it really matter?  Probably not other than it does seem interesting--the notice of what it seems those interested in hermit life in this country like to read or want to know about hermit life, as opposed, perhaps to those from other countries such as France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Ireland, England, the Philippines, and Poland among several others.

Maybe there are more hermits just starting out in this country, and like a newly wed wife, have interest in more practical and temporal aspects.  A new wife is interested in setting up house:  how to decorate the home, what rules of protocol will she establish in regard to her and her husband's daily lives, what work to be done, what to cook and eat, how much social life, how to handle their finances, what church and how often, what spiritual life in the home, pets or not, to rent or own, clothing/apparel, plus the use of a title distinguishing their married state--same last name or not?

But after awhile, a married couple grows out of this phase, or most do, and perhaps ought to not have such interest in these temporal aspects.  Is that even fair to suggest or promote?  Perhaps those married for several years can answer best.  This hermit was married for a little over a decade, but in that time period, the focus changed and deepened, at least in what this part of the couple desired.  The fascination in house-holding soon faded, as all that is such a finite and temporal aspect, anyway.  What grew to be of more interest and concern, were the aspects of the soul of each spouse and also of children, and of growing professionally, yes, in careers, but also in the vocation of marriage and as parents.  The spiritual dimension began to be central to all else, even if the spouses were not each in equal agreement or emphasis.

This hermit has observed couples married for many years (and its own parents were married for over 60), and it does seem that they grow in their souls over time, and spiral more into more meaty matters, more altruistic and/or spiritually desirous (even if not in a church).  Those who do not spiral upward nor also plumb the depths (however we want to view this), usually end up not together or else miserable as a couple, with one spiraling upward and the other not or not as much to a degree that is detrimental to each.

While not going to take the time to do it, it would be interesting for this hermit to go back through the many blog posts of various blog titles it has written in the past nearly ten years.  What ones showed light and upward lifting to things of God, and what ones dwelt in the temporal, and how many each?  How long did this hermit remain more or less in place, discussing or thinking about--or maybe thinking it had the responsibility to write about temporal matters such as what does a hermit wear, or eat, or daily routine, or title, or rule of life or what prayers, or what degree of solitude, and what does its hermitage look like?

And, this hermit recalls that it used to write about the upsets quite a bit--the clash of its soul, basically, with the temporal aspects of the temporal Church.  There always seemed to be some kind of issue or problem, and the reasons seem to be the very reason for considering this whole topic.  Do we outgrow, or should we outgrow, the temporal aspects of our lives as we progress in life, and spiral more upward--or deeper in--and seek the spiritual aspects that our souls truly desire and actually need?

When this hermit goes with God's flow and acquiesces when doors close--even if those doors seem to be ones to aspects of life that are good, or were good for that temporal time period in the passage--there is the peace of Christ in its soul.  When this hermit does not read or engage in what keeps it at the temporal, "newly-wed" stage of matters (so to speak), there is the peace of Christ and upward spiraling to the things of God above.

Anyway, it has been an interesting observation and in the thoughts this morning, while building another wood frame for raised planting beds.  One section of the porch remains to be rebuilt, and the hermit needs to pry the old boards from the porch floor.  It then drills starter holes and secures the boards into a square, using exterior screws.  It also uses scrap treated wood 2x2"s to reinforce each interior corner.  (All this has spiritual allegories galore--leave it to you to ponder them if you wish.)

Then the hermit levels them out in the garden/orchard area, and carts wheelbarrows of dirt from a pile that has been composting for a couple of years.  Eventually some composted fertilizer will be added.  Then seeds planted, and then there will be the miracle of growth, and a renewal of the spiraling upward movement of all things to God Above.

Some might think how foolish that this hermit use its time and energy to repurpose the porch floor boards when it does not have a salable hermitage or even a bathroom or stairway.  But the priorities are of the Order of the Present Moment, and the weather is perfect for outside work, and this amount of gardening is uplifting--plus a right-amount of physical exercise for a hermit's de-conditioned and painful back.

So we do have levels of responsibilities, and some might seem not as important as others.  What does seem conclusive, is that we have a responsibility to our own souls, to other souls, and of course to His Real Presence, to keep striving to spiral upward with our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits.  We need to grow in the deepest and most important ways, such as what Jesus said in today's Gospel reading. What He tells us is told Him to say to us by the Father.  He Is Who He says He Is.  He says the Father's commandment is eternal life.

So, that is something to ponder, right there.  What does it mean that God's commandment is eternal life?  And does that, or should it, affect what focus, energy, thought, movement to which we place our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits?

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Little children, let us love one another and remain in His Love.  (Where does His Love lead us?  Is His Love stationary; is His Love spiraling upward, always; or does it remain at temporal levels, of that which is more stagnant?  Should we outgrow some aspects, or all aspects, of the temporal?  Do we outgrow it, anyway, since we physically die ?)

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