Friday, April 1, 2016

What It Takes Each Morning

Just to keep going--what it takes!  Mercy, Lord!

A friend emailed a devotion she had read.  I recognize it from the classic book, God Calling.  And, as I recall, having read it a decade or more ago and thoroughly appreciating the messages, it is written by God.  Two older women sharing a home in England, I think, wrote down messages from the Holy Spirit each morning over a period of time.

The collection is profound and not unlike other such messages given to mystics, such as the anonymous relayer of messages given to a woman in the US, chronicled under the title, He and I (or to that affect, might be Him and Me).

God Calling was published in 1920's, maybe?  He and I was messaged in the 1950's or a bit later.  I think the relayers of messages in God Calling were Anglicans; He and I recorded by a Catholic mystic.

I've had the spontaneous weeping episodes this morning, most notably one that was merely triggered by my making a rather healthy breakfast type "cake", with fruit on top, baked.  I used pears this time, which is the recipe standard.  I tend to use whatever other fruit on hand, including the frozen strawberries from last summer's bounty.  My late mother gave me the recipe; it was her memory that started the weeping, and calling out in the silence of solitude, how much I miss her.

Well, that is not going to make a difference in my getting dressed and going out to continue the weeding and digging process to plant more strawberry starts.  But perhaps it makes a difference across the "veil", and that I am expressing love for a person who I respected and still do, even if she had her own flaws, such as a struggle with temper.  Her final year of life was difficult; she was not mentally or emotionally ready to die, but her lungs were quite ready despite never being a smoker.

She had a way of saying pointed statements, and voicing her disagreement, such as how she felt about my converting to Catholicism, or even dismay that I had deep wrinkles (far worse now!) between brows.  My response was to joking laugh that I guess I could razor blade them out; and then I reminded her that I do have a lot of pain, to which she immediately softened and laughed at her own comment.

But I understood my mother.  I knew that even in the superficial externals, she wanted her child--her adult child even--to be the best possible, and to not have those wrinkles and to especially not suffer so.  While even up to the last few days before she passed she made derogatory comments on Catholicism--thinking I had sneaked priests into her room when I had to point out that they were a doctor and a male nurse (she had very poor eyesight in later years due to glaucoma)--I understood my mother.

I think of the times during my daily visits and advocating for her in the assisted care facility (yes, she needed advocate for her care even in the "best" of the facilities because somehow we humans easily sink to less work than more work, even if being paid salaries).  I'd bring along my breviary and read while she was resting.  One day she asked what I was reading, and I said.  She told me I could read the Psalms parts to her, but nothing other.  She was convinced the other was something not good, something made-up by Catholics.

Now, my mother was a highly educated person, but she also had been educated from childhood on that Catholics are awful, theologically misinformed, a cult, and to be avoided.  So I read the Psalms aloud to her, then would read the little lovely prayers silently, then read the next Psalm.  This went on for a few days until one morning she said, "Well, you can go ahead and read the other parts, too, if they are really prayers and other parts of Scripture."  So I did.

One day she told me of a dream she had.  She always knew I had a proclivity to the spiritual realm and a gift for dream interpretation.  She knew I had an inner sense, what she might call more extra sensory perception, as had her grandmother--being shown people, such as those who were going to die or had just died.  (I don't have that consistently, but sometimes.)

The dream my mother told me was that which was of her guardian angel.  Her name is Phyllis, and my mother wanted me to look it up to make sure of its meaning.  It was as we thought: friend, friendship.  The dream had many implications helpful to my mother as did other dreams the Lord gave her, preparing her for her work on the other side.  Knowing she was to have a mission on the other side helped my mother look forward to being useful; and I explained again the death experience I had, and how easy is dying--how wonderful, joyous, refreshing--all going with us other than our painful bodies!

Perhaps that is why now, with the physical pain wearying and at higher levels, harder to manage, I also think of my mother and how I'd love to be on the other side, too.  My dad is in heaven, even--was shown the event when his guardian angel beside him, signaled my dad's passage.  In our time, it was about six months after his earthly passing.  My mother has not been shown to me to be in the fullness of light yet, although it has been about a year since my last vision encounter with a message she had for me.  There are distinct aspects that let me know she is not yet in the fullness of light, but she is on her way.

I received a short, computer message from the one adult child who I figured would want to remain in contact even if far away, even if many aspects of me are not part of her world and not in common with her views, likes, and dislikes.   So it is not that the relationship is no more; it is just altered and being given its rightful function between an adult who happens to have been child in the past. 

But she is a soul and one whom the Lord brought this morning to this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit.  She wanted to relate they arrived, that it is hot, that their temporary housing is very tiny, but that they are looking at some homes in--yes--about a half hour (in this time zone, that is).  I messaged back my love to them, thankful they are safely arrived in their new adventure, and that I will be praying for the right house and a good-deal house, come up on the market for them.

This is the work of this hermit.  Not so much to be a parent anymore, nor a child myself in relation to my deceased parents--other than relatedness as souls are through prayer and love.  This is the work of this hermit, of any hermit consecrated by Christ Himself, called by God to the eremitic vocation.  Pray, love, praise God.  Love God above all things and love others as oneself.

All the issues of earthly, temporal heart and mind, of attachments and disattachments, of familial bonds are not the work of a consecrated Catholic hermit.  Some of our work might be more fervent due to various bonds--such as knowing the person/s on earth who are brought to us in thought or in tangible presence.

But we must always--we consecrated hermits--tend to the work being that of unconditional love, unconditional prayer and praise and even penance.  We should strive to not be more fervent for one we may know than for a total stranger or for those passed on any less than those still alive.

It's not easy to set aside our emotions and thoughts, our memories of this and that, our attachments. But it is the calling of a Catholic hermit, one professed and avowed in consecrated life of the Church to strive for selfless love, selfless prayer, selfless praising, selfless all.

Time to get the pained body out to the weeding and digging. Today am going to dig up a long stretch of thick grass and weeds and transform it into a long, mounded row for planting strawberries.  It's nearly noon here in the desert of massive solitude and silence.  A far distant chain saw is heard now and then, but mostly sounds of birds chirping.  It has taken quite a bit this morning; but it is yet morning by a few minutes, here, anyway, and God mercifully provides whatever other hours until tomorrow morning.

Note to self:  So much of the dragging and nagging emotional upset and weeping has its source in the sickening, silent pain that has gained momentum in the past year in particular.  This hermit is aging and pain raging commensurate.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Love God above all things and others as ourselves.

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