Some answers are coming to this nothing consecrated Catholic Hermit. It has been asking the Lord about the situation at Mass, of why such a profound experience of ecstasy, yet the horror of hell when some aspect of inappropriate temporal enters into the Mass, some type of intrusion that interrupts the bliss of the Holy Mass.
The last several days brought much prayer for a priest, as well as a seeking within as to why, then, this separation from the temporal, from various temporal aspects of the Catholic world including some tangible forms of the sacraments.
As for the priest, it is not him, per se. It is the reality that some, including this hermit, do not fully grasp the holiness of the Mass and that His Real Presence suffers when we do not recognize and enter into the holiness of the Mass, when we alter some aspect or mostly, it seems, bring out own will into it, our own notion of self and performance, or misguided intention that is tainted by too much self. This seems especially critical for priests and those at the altar, those at the lectern, during the Holy Mass.
But, what this hermit is garnering from the seeking and questioning, is that it needs to examine its own spiritual life, its being brought to the Stairway to Heaven some seven years ago this past August, and has it climbed a step or two or many? Or has this hermit stepped backward in some way?
What the hermit has learned from the mystical ecstasies during Masses for over seven years, is that Mass is intended to be sheer bliss. Even though, as the hermit's helper's mother said, "I don't feel what you feel [during Mass]", the hermit is shown the depth and purity, the love flowing, the bliss of utter darkness and unknowing when the Mass is celebrated by the priest in obedience and accordance to the Church's liturgical form, and when there is submission of will to God's will and not the projection of self into the Mass, by those at the altar or assisting.
During Mass when in the mystical ecstasy, it is true that when intrusions enter in, they are due to some aspect of self will and self and temporality intruding. And this can be on the part of the hermit, as well. Sometimes, the hermit has some thoughts or concerns intruding--fleeting distractions. At other times, and usually, it is that of the celebrant or others involved at the altar, or on occasion those in the vicinity in the pews, whose "self" and "self will" intrude. When intrusions occur during Mass, bastardizing the holiness of the Mass and disrupting the blissful union with His Real Presence, it is a hell, a horror, of which the bliss is obliterated. Chaos and dire desperation to flee results.
This is going on for everyone present at the Mass, in the Mass. But they do not sense it, do not feel it. This hermit has been given this experience of being subsumed into the Mass, but also to sense the reality of what hell occurs when some aspect of the holiness of the Mass takes place. And insertion of self, of self-will, of disrespect, of distraction, of some disruption of grace by a priest or others at the altar, of some type of disobedience--these aspects bastardize the Holy Mass.
The word "bastardize" keeps coming to the hermit regarding what happens to a Mass when there is something not holy, not right, not pure input into the Mass. The word comes so often and as the only word now that the hermit sees and hears within, to describe the situation, that it looked up the word even though the hermit had an idea of the force of "bastardize."
"Basterdize: corrupt or debase (something such as a language or art form), typically by adding new elements. Synonyms: adulterate, corrupt, contaminate, weaken dilute, taint, pollute, debase, distort"
Ah, the definition explains exactly, why and how and under what circumstances a Mass can be bastardized.
As for what this hermit has gained in reflection as to why it is shown this in profoundly deep and painful ways, is to take more seriously: souls. If His Real Presence registers hellish effect when something that when conscious, the hermit would be able to shrug off or ignore, or pull out a prayer booklet to read silently so as to not pay attention to whatever element is bastardizing the Mass--then how does His Real Presence feel and respond to this hermit's daily progression, thoughts, activities, prayer life, and piety (love of God and all aspects pertaining thereof)?
The hermit has had a wake-up call. It has been hit on not only the head and the heart, but in the soul.
As to parishes and being able to attend Mass, or not to attend in physical form, the Mass, some Scriptures this morning gave the answer, as well as reflection upon some past visions and locutions, repetitive in message, over the past 20 years. Always, when shown parishes and shown the hermit desperately trying to be one of the parishioners, to participate and be one and alike, the message repeats: "You do not belong to that world."
This message has come from three early desert fathers, from Mary and her sister Martha, from the hermit's deceased father, and from God Himself, lifting up the hermit to see up close what it so thought it wanted and ought to be. The question then was asked, "Why would you want that when you can have ME more directly now? Each messenger and each message has been profoundly powerful, firm, clear, adamant.
Then this from the Living Word, from Hebrews 13, that made impact this morning:
"It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods which are of no value to those who eat them. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name."
This is not to say that we are not to go to Mass, not to receive His Body and Blood in Holy Communion. Rather, it offers a progression of the temporal to the mystical. It is this temporal to the mystical that the priest is to teach and show, while standing at the altar, at the portal which is between this world and the heavenly realm.
There are seasons in our spiritual lives and understanding, in wisdom and knowledge. This is a season for this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit. It is called to go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore, and to look for the "city" that is to come. (In fact, in one of the visions with the three desert fathers, this hermit saw the parish off in the distance, and the parishioners were represented as off in the city--skyline and all. But the desert fathers stopped the hermit who was asking for help to get to the city and join the parishioners. They pointed to the east, their off-white tunics and long, white beards flowing with a wind from the east, the city far off in the west. They said, "No, you must stay with us here."
Yes, it was far outside the camp, far away from the city. And the point is, that the city is good and has many wonderful aspects. But there comes a time, a season, in which we must accept being outside the city, in the desert exile--which, ironically, was a long east-to-west valley of spring-green grass.
It is time to take the spiritual journey far more seriously, in the Order of the Present Moment. It is time to let go of the desire to fit into a parish as well as the yearning to be physically present at Holy Mass, and to let go of many aspects, including that some Masses will be blissful and others hellish, and that we mortals can help make Mass holy or bastardized.
It is time to let His Real Presence deal with me more directly. All this is in faith, trust, and hope, and remaining in His Love. There may come a season in which there will be a return to the temporal and tangible Holy Mass, celebrated in a parish church, a monastery chapel--who knows but God? It is time to discern these insights and follow them along for a season, for there is not a physical means to drive a long distance in this pained body, and there is no returning to the parish which for now, at the direction of the spiritual father, is off limits.
Peace flows. The hermit grasps and understands as much as one can, when others will judge or not grasp, not understand. Part of the gift of the Holy Spirit--understanding--is very much to accept the mysteries, the unknowns, and lean not unto our own understanding. We must enter into the mystery of the Holy Spirit's understanding of matters.
How much faith will it take to understand and trust in spiritual communions, in spiritual confessions, in being as much or perhaps more, part of the Body of Christ, worshipping in the spirit with those who are off in the city, worshipping physically, tangibly, present? One cannot measure faith. It, too, is a mystery of trust in God Who Is Love.
God bless His Real Presence in us!