God provides! It has been a very rough couple of days. With the reality that Raphael is not going to be helping with finishing some heavier type work here, and not having anyone human around to help, came a text from someone beloved but by choice (not the hermit's), estranged.
The text applied pressure, and the hermit emailed back, expressing it is doing the best it can, working as hard as it can, and praying for God's will regarding the living situation, the property, still unsalable.
But the good Catholic deputy returned a message, and he is willing to stop by sometime to help the hermit carry in some "greenboard" so the hermit can begin drywalling the downstairs bathroom. (In the meantime, the hermit has been hard at work in the heat of desert exile--outside and in--trying to keep gardens watered, spreading mulch, building a barrier for bird netting to protect the strawberries!)
The deputy had other news. The hermit somehow said it before he shared; touch of God's grace. "How did you know?" Well.... Anyway, he and his wonderful family are moving. Why? They want to be able to go to a valid Catholic parish. Their priest spiritual director from afar insisted they must not attend the one in this far-off area. Why? The Mass is not licit. The priest is psychologically unhealthy and unwilling to pour himself into the glorious work the priesthood imputes. The parishioners are uninterested in spiritual growth. Ah, so also the hermit had experienced the same and was told by its director to stay clear. Sad to have it validated by another who is selling his home for the sole purpose of providing valid worship and Catholic instruction for himself and his family.
The text from the beloved family member came later in the day, after a marvelous phone conversation with the hermit's spiritual father. Isn't it uncanny how so often God gives us some huge uplift just prior to a tough trial laid out before us? God knows best! So the text came [how the hermit wished it could do as the person would like but cannot, must not], and then the hermit emailed some thoughts and realities. An invitation, also, was extended that if the beloved person would visit and lend some physical help with tasks needing a second set of hands, the hermitage could progress, and then it could be finished, sold, and the hermit and the other would be free of the property agreement.
No response. No help is coming. The option was offered; the choice is made. The estrangement continues. The hermit became discouraged--and not aided by the heat of this desert exile, nor the manual labor with increasing pain. So, the hermit got up early and headed to get a load of mulch. What else to do but keep putting one foot in front of the other? Hope to sell some veggies out by the road. Borrowed a table a week ago when visited the daughter's family overnight, in civilization. Ah--and was blessed with a hot shower!
First one in over six weeks. (The hermit considers how on earth did those early hermits manage if no fresh creeks nearby? Not in the desert! At least this hermit can spit-bathe at the sink. But, this is something: The cleansing sweat when out working the soil, removes whatever toxins, evidently. There is no noticeable odor. Water, watermelon, cucumbers--help the cleanse from inner to outer. It's really not so awful, after all.)
Still, the hermit's spirit was downcast with the reminder of the painful, estranged relationship. Hope was evaporating. The emotions weakened to near-tears. Then the hermit picked up a book it had not finished reading--Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works. The marked spot where left off, produced this marvelous message. Before commencing reading, the hermit prayed that Dionysius or whoever he was and is, would speak through his insights from God given him those 15 or more centuries ago.
"One cannot exist in contradictory realities at one and the same time, and whoever enters into communion with the One, cannot proceed to live a divided life, especially if he hopes for a real participation in the One. He must be firmly opposed to whatever may sunder this communion.
"All this is sacredly suggested by the symbolic tradition which strips the postulant of his former life, deprives him of the very last attractions of this world, stands him naked and barefoot to face westward and renounce with outstretched hands all dealings with the darkness of evil, and everything in his past which signifies difference, and makes him exhale, as it were, and renounce utterly whatever is opposed to the conformity to God.
"Strengthened thus and made free he is turned to face eastward and he is told that having abandoned evil he may in perfect purity endure and look up to the divine Light. With these, his sacred vows of complete inclination toward the One, the tradition receives him who has become one-like out of a love for the truth."
[The aunt from far away then called with a couple ideas for the hermit--plus lots of encouragement. (She is an incredibly strong woman, strong soul, honed by a wallop of suffering years ago.) No, do not cave to the pressure of the beloved family member. Yes, it does seem that the content of the text and all about it, caused upset, confusion, much sorrow in the estrangement. But another painful reality is that even if the hermit capitulated, causing itself to be even more vulnerable to the world, the relationship with this beloved one would unlikely improve. All that has been and continues to be is now the choice of the beloved person. The hermit can only keep praying, working, and hoping to make little bits of progress in the efforts.]
The hermit then paused and prayed, reading what Dionysius had to share. The insights became the prayer. At a point, the hermit found itself taking deep breaths and exhaling from it's inner being and through the lungs: the "dealings with the darkness of evil, and everything of [the hermit's] past which signifies difference, and whatever else [God only knows the full extent of it] is opposed to the [hermit's] conformity to God."
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us exhale whatever keeps us from remaining in His love and being conformed to God!