Take today's Mass epistle reading from Romans 7. The Living Word nails it, always! I absolutely LOVE such TRUTH and WISDOM. It is downright FUN to then ponder and pray and work on applying His Living Word to my life in all the goofy, serious, distracting, distasteful, marvelous details we mortals encounter in our daily lives.
Read and enjoy these words inspired by His Real Presence, written down by St. Paul or dictated by him to his scribe:
"So, then, I discover the principle
that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.
For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self,
but I see in my members another principle
at war with the law of my mind,
taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members."
We can pick out a phrase or two from within this small chunk of text--of Living Word! We can find deep meaning and truth with any situation and flow of thought in our present moments.
Yes, evil is always a present option. Evil is at hand particularly when we want to do what is right--what matters to God. The law of God (loving Him, loving others, and loving doing His will) is something that we truly can delight in, and it abides in our inner selves--where His Real Presence makes His abode in us. Yet other aspects of ourselves--predominantly in our body, thoughts, and emotions--fight against the law of God because we are distracted by the law of our minds.
The law of our minds can sway us to the law of sin and thus be victor over the law of God in our souls because the outer, the external, the temporal, what is seen and touched and smelled and heard in the outer aspects can be multiplied in bombardment by our temporal surroundings. And the law of our minds can seem so logical and clever to our egos.
Our temporal, tangible, mortal encounters with others who are equally bombarded, distracted, and caught up with the law of the mind can tempt and ensnare us seemingly more than does God's law in our souls.
St. Paul continues to express that only in Jesus Christ are we able to break free of captivity to the law of sin. What matters to God most is the law of God.
We can see this in something simple as the law of the mind in which we put great emphasis on what we call ourselves, or what we create in labels, or what others decide need be their self-identifying titles. Even some Catholic hermits can get caught up in the law of their minds.
Even if we have our minds opened to the law of God in our inner selves, some seem unable to turn from the law of mind to fully embrace the law of God. They remain captivated by the law of their minds which leads to the law of distraction, disruption, temporal desires, obsession, and even into subtle and not-so-subtle sins. Captivity to the mind and body can happen to any of us!
I have been pondering what matters to God. This has required me to ponder what is God's law. There is something most definitely beyond what even the Church documents specifically state regarding what is a hermit, what is required of a hermit living an eremitical vocation, and what is ecclesial classification within the Consecrated Life of the Church. These are all easy enough for a moderately educated person to read and grasp; they are definitely discernible to a spiritual director, priest, bishop to read and grasp if the hermit cannot.
But what matters to God? What is the law of God when it comes to hermit designation? What matters to Him in what He means by being consecrated in Him, of His law, and/or of being consecrated in the life of the Church and interpreted by the law of mortal minds?
Somehow, if I desire to be in God's law, to take delight in being in His law, all the debate (war of human words captivated in the law of the mind?) that some in the past have expounded upon as to who is an "authentic" Catholic hermit and who is not, and what "laws" make it so that some are valid and legitimate and others "frauds"--surely cannot matter much to Jesus.
He went through being labeled and discerned by those in His time on earth who spoke and saw through the law of the mind, not of God's law; and it led right into captivity to sin. They killed Jesus Christ. They killed the human body of the Son of God.
Let us pray and make certain they do not kill the law of God in our lives! No one other can kill the law of God in any of us unless we start giving precedence to the law of their minds and are captivated thus into the law of sin in which our "members" perpetrate injustices toward others.
Rather, let us seek in all matters, what matters to God. What is the law of God? Is it the law of Love of His Real Presence and love of others? Is it the delight and adherence to the life and teachings of Jesus, to seeking truth, beauty, goodness, and justice? Do whichever laws we consider lead us to faith, hope, and love? Or do they lead us to being captive in ours or others' minds and tempt us into our acting in some way mentally or bodily to sinful thoughts, words, or deeds that contradict God's law of Love?
Each Living Word teaches us, inspires us, exhorts us in Christ's truth, beauty, and goodness. The Living Word of God exults in and enhances the law of God. Any law less than the law of God might satisfy or suffice for awhile, but the laws of the mind are inferior to the law of God, no matter how our minds might think otherwise.
The law of God triumphs over the laws of the mind. The laws of the mind can tempt us toward the law of sin; or the laws of the mind can hold us within the mind which is maybe a safe holding tank for those satisfied with laws of minds. However, we can seek beyond the laws of the mind. God gives us the graces necessary for finding and living in God's law.
[Today I declined an increase in price for some Fortitude Fudge. I decided the $7 earned for quite a bit of time spent in shopping for ingredients, making labels, packaging, and cooking and cutting the fudge was plenty of compensation. The costs of ingredients are covered even if the printing costs might not be. Who knows for sure? It is such a small thing. The law of God assures me that God will provide for me as He has been, all along.
[When I prayed about what matters to God after I stepped away from the law of my mind telling me I should receive greater financial remuneration for my few hours of labor, I reconsidered the law of God. The law of God's love and of love of others, of what matters to God, reminds that it is prayer and love that my body, mind, heart, and soul tried pouring into all aspects of that fudge, right down to walking it to the road and posting it. At the mailbox, His Real Presence showed me in a tangible gift left by some anonymous benefactor, that the law of Love has a quite different quality than the law of mind.
[The law of God, in fact, can change our minds. I prefer being called by others a "fraud" hermit or whatever other labels they may wish to create or contrive from the law of their minds or the minds of others. I respect the laws of the Church as much as Jesus respected and respects them, of course!
[I look at Jesus (as He instructed me to do a couple weeks ago), and I see that He always chose God's law over the laws of the minds of people in His time on earth, and that included the laws of the minds of temple priests, secular rulers, and the rich--and even the laws in the minds of his disciples before they came to understand that His law is far and beyond superior and is the law above all other laws. Yet Jesus rendered unto some laws of minds such as paying taxes, as temporally appropriate.]
Laws of minds can be good, useful, functional for benefit and governance of secular and ecclesial societies. But what most matters to God is His law, the law of God's mysterious Love. When we seek, embrace, follow, live God, we cannot go wrong.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Let us love and live the law of God! What a mystery is God's law; what a delight in discovering and living in His mystery!