Much suffering has occurred in the past couple of weeks. It is mostly physical suffering of various types, and the death of this consecrated Catholic hermit's will magnifies the marvelous reactions to such suffering. God's will, in replacing my will, continues to react quite differently than before.
Increasingly I seek God's Mind, His Wisdom, His Insights, yet my intellect, mind, ideas, thoughts continue in the process. The prayer remains that His Mind replace mine. That is the spiritual good, the desired goal, for then the intellect and the will can cooperate fully. Prayer at all levels of intimacy then become fully empowered.
Back in April, shortly after that Wednesday on which my will finally died, God's insights came more frequently and clearly. Yes, this takes discernment and practice in assessing, much as it surely must take adaptation when one has lost a limb and acquires a prosthesis. For us mortals, even the spiritual processes can take temporal time; and the death and replacement of such as our will or intellect, or all the other components of our soul that must be replaced with His Real Presence--it involves not only temporal time in our temporal realities, but also suffering of various sorts.
Even though we may read in some mystic or saint writings of various spiritual experiences and progressions, we must keep in mind the passage of time involved as well as profoundly deep suffering. Being emptied out of such as one's will entails far more than what the word "emptied" may effect in the reading of it.
About a week after the death of this old consecrated Catholic hermit's will, when I was out in the gardens weeding, I happened to be considering the soul of one of the adult children. I wondered at how the person's soul might be touched enough to shift to more love, forgiveness, or whatever needed to put behind resentments or anger--whatever it is that keeps the person from a healthy relationship with me, a hermit-mystic-parent.
But instead of that adult child remaining the focus of prayerful, loving meditation, into the thoughts came an unexpected insight. It was an insight intended for a cousin who has had rancor toward her mother for years. The mother is now 93 years old but remains bright and clear-minded but hindered somewhat with mobility. The mother and daughter have different personalities, true. But the daughter who is nearly 68 years old, is fairly eaten with misgivings over just about anything the mother might mention or do.
Just a simple shared lunch at the retirement facility can cause the daughter to have numerous criticisms regarding her mother. It is all picayune, really, but to the daughter it is infectious perhaps to a point of a bit obsessively diseased within her mind and heart. It seems I have tried various angles to hopefully help the daughter see that letting such personality differences or little ways of being cause detraction and frustration, and anger to the point of hate--get to her--but really to no avail other than the daughter holds back, at times, complaining as much to me about her mother.
Yet she complains about and criticizes her mother over nearly anything that others would simply ignore or even appreciate, for she seemingly cannot help it now, after many years. Her mind and heart are fairly riddled with the mother-triggers which haunt her.
So in the garden, weeding, came the insight that the reason this hermit's aunt continues to exist on this earth, beyond what other family members have existed, is not so much for the aunt's soul's progression but for her daughter to have any bit of more temporal time to get her own soul in better order. Her soul is being given much-needed time here on earth to strive to simply accept and love her mother as she is.
And actually, other than her mother being an extrovert and the daughter more an introvert, and the mother being a visual person who loves outer appearances, color, fabric, design, and has had in her life a bit of vanity (who is without a vice if not many, among us?), the mother has been increasingly spiritually advancing in prayer life and loving encouragement of others, in grace and desire.
Yet the daughter sees none of this in her mother. Too ingrained are the infected aspects of comments or ways of being, of personality, made years ago, perhaps, or hurtful things the cousin has held onto rather than being able to let another person's essence be a source of interest--and, if nothing other, a practice opportunity for unconditional love.
The elderly mother has had some heavy-duty suffering in her life, maybe more than the daughter in some ways, although the loss of the mother's son and the daughter's brother, years ago, very rough for both. And the mother's husband and daughter's father leaving the family shortly after, in shameful manner, also a source of suffering for each in their own way. But the daughter's adult life has been filled with blessings, up until something else occurred, brought on by herself in a life-altering, unfortunate way.
Well, this is a lot of background, but what human life, what soul, is without background? And we need to consider the backgrounds of souls in order to have compassion and understanding. It is not that any of us is perfect, nor are we to be considered fully at blame because there are always situations and perspectives interplaying all of life. The devil, too, is always more than eager to enter into any bit of weak point in a soul--the soul's will, intellect, understanding, emotions, imagination, memory, and senses.
I knew within I was to share the insight with my cousin. Remember the insight after all this background information? It is that her mother remains on earth not so much for the mother's spiritual progression, for her soul is progressing well. The mother remains longer on earth in order to give the adult daughter more time to get her own soul in better order, to strive for unconditional love of her mother, to rid out the rancorous and critical thoughts and comments that goad her deep down in.
Far better for us to do what we can with our souls in this temporal-spiritual life than later, at judgment and beyond in purgation or sometimes, even no opportunity in hell.
The insight remained with me, yet I understandably did not look forward to sharing it with the cousin. Who would? It could go either way--accepted and bringing change, or not accepted and bringing distancing in our relationship. But with God's insights, they do tend to stay with us; and if a message we are to impart no matter how difficult or sensitive a topic, we will not have freedom from it until the message is delivered.
I waited. A few days later the cousin called. I had decided to wait for her to call, and at that point I mentioned that I'd had an insight that I am fairly sure is from God, and it is for her specifically. I shared what it is, and the cousin listened quietly.
I shared it after one point when she was complaining about something rather small that the mother had mentioned. (It had to do with a doctor telling another nursing home resident that getting a roast beef sandwich at Arby's a couple times a week would help increase iron in the body. The cousin found what her mother said to be irritating and had snapped at her mother, telling her an Arby's roast beef sandwich would NOT provide the iron her mother may need.)
So we see at what level of rancor to which this has been reduce. When I mentioned that this is an example of trying to have empathy and also let things roll off, the cousin said, "Well, I just won't even say anything at all when my mother says things. I just won't talk at all." I asked, "Why go to that extreme? Why not simply say 'That sounds like at least a fun idea' or 'Those sandwiches always taste good.'"?
She let me finish the insight as I tried to give examples. I did implore her to consider it, and said that I, too, could benefit as I have many relationships that I can do far better in striving for unconditional love and to have empathy and more understanding of differences, and to accept people more as they are.
After that phone call, I felt an immediate relief. It was a total freeing of space in the mind and heart. I knew all the more that, yes, it was an insight from God not only by the marvelous content, but also from the liberation after having delivered the message to the person I was shown within the initial insight--my own dear cousin.
The next day the cousin called. She said she had been thinking about what I'd said the day before. "Yes?" I responded questioningly, waiting.... She said, "I don't need to do what you said or accept it if I don't want to, right?"
I responded, "No, not at all. You do not need to accept it or act on it; but I had to deliver the message. My task is done. I felt a tremendous sense of freedom after I gave the insight, and I also realized that an insight such as that has great use for me, as well, in many ways. It also has helped me learn more the difference between an insight from God and just some idea I might have from my own thoughts--which are different and not always productive. But no, you do not at all need to accept or act on it. That is up to you to choose."
We changed the subject, although she remained miffed in tenor. I had even told her that it was very hard for me to give that message because I knew she might not like it, and also, who am I to be giving insights to her? I'm just her cousin. I said that is how it has been, mostly in my life, that what I am to do or say or write is often not accepted. And, also, I am far from perfect myself, but part of my purpose is to pray and to listen and to have courage to speak or share if God lays something on me, and especially when it is not relieved until I share it with the person involved.
When our conversation was finished, on different topics relative to various temporal activities and such of daily life, I admit I marveled and even laughed a bit, at how we humans can be! I considered what aspects of my own life do I choose to cling to some way of being or vice that even if not major, is a hindrance to my own soul. I wondered at how anyone could reject an insight of striving to love one's elderly mother with more compassion and acceptance, forgiveness, and in desiring to attain to unconditional love?
Yes, it is a marvel and conundrum both. I realized just how much of a sense of humor His Real Presence must have, dealing with us mortals and our self-wills and our ingrained minds. And, I praised God for His mercy upon us, for we all have great need of His mercy in each present moment.
Since then, I have been all the more striving, myself, toward unconditional love of others. It certainly helps that the Lord has replaced my own self-will with His Will, and He is in the gradual (and in many ways embarrassingly painful) process of replacing my intellect with His. At least I am more able to discern the signals that delineate which are His Insights and Thoughts and which are my ideas and notions. It's a glorious start....
And my cousin has not called as much since then, but this is the way it can be for any of us when someone has said something that is good for us but of which we are not ready to accept. Perhaps there's been a phone call or two since, my initiating one in good will, not mentioning the insight and but rather keeping matters at the level of the temporal.
Of course, at some future point prior to her mother's passing which at age 93 is sooner than later, perhaps my cousin will have a change of heart, mind, and soul and will be able to forgive whatever hurts of the past, or perceptions real or perceived in childhood or teen years or adult years, and be able to rise above and be cleansed of the obsessive inner rancor.
Perhaps she will then be on the path to unconditional love of her mother, accepting and appreciating her for all the many fine qualities her mother possesses--and even chuckling over the niggling ones--the kind of human traits we all have of varying types.
But still we can sense that with any human resistance, and even in that resistance of my cousin, resistance can indeed teach us (if we are desirous of learning). Seeing the seeming futility in such resistance to doing what is good and best to do, we may all the more see in what ways there may be or has been resistance in ourselves in various situations or with sundry persons.
We can reflect upon instances--even in the present moment--when we have not wanted to accept or do something that is of the straight and narrow path to which Jesus calls us daily and nightly.
God bless His Real Presence in us, little children! Let us love God above all things and one another as Jesus loves us! Let us pray for His will in us, not our will, be done on earth as it is in heaven.