Just this small bit of His Living Word, spoken centuries ago through the lips of an Isaiah, can dead-ringer the truth about faith.
This from Isaiah 7:9:
Unless your faith is firm
you shall not be firm!
I will ponder these Living Words of His Real Presence while putting a second coat of finish paint on the trim boards cut yesterday, intended for two windows in the hermitage kitchen.
A spiritual friend has emailed in route for their vacation. They are scouting an area for possible relocation. The husband is in foul mood, perhaps due to a house he'd been following online, for sale, was sold last evening, removed from the possibilities. The wife is quite the spiritually endowed Catholic Christian, full of faith yet struggling today under the rebuffs and retorts of the husband.
She picked up some spiritual reading materials left out for people to take, after Mass yesterday morning. Among them something written about John of the Cross. She figures the devil is not pleased with her taking soul-edifying books along on the trip. Why not try to get through her, via her husband's foul temper?
I admit it seems the likely scenario. I am firm on such matters, for the spiritual warfare runs under the surface of life as counter currents in the rivers of our eternally flowing souls. We hit the rocks and go under with the hidden cross-currents when our faith is not firm. Well, we can hit the rocks regardless, but if we can remain firm in faith, we see the pitfalls and know how to survive the undertows that can disrupt or even lead to our spiritual deaths.
Here, in this desert exile, the Lord seems to be saying in His Love-and-Mercy Thoughts, that this consecrated Catholic hermit is to remain for awhile, perhaps for a long while, with firm faith. It is true that the hermit's finances are finite, yet the Lord is allowing obstacles for being able to depart. In small ways, He provides through generosity of those who stop to take organic vegetables and berries from the roadside table.
Yesterday someone placed a generous contribution into the clay garden pot when taking some berries and Crookneck squash, fresh-picked that morning. It helps pay the bills but more so reminds me that people do understand the hours of effort in growing organic produce, as well as notice the old hermit nail-gunning trim around the porch ceiling or mowing, or painting trim laid out on sawhorses, or spreading mulch. (They know not I am a hermit wearing my Order of the Present Moment habit: tee-shirt and cut-off khakis--paint-splattered.)
The Lord will provide in the firmness of our faith, and thus we become firm in His Love and Mercy.
It is not about financial solvency, for of course if the Lord allowed, a hermit could go bankrupt or lose a hermitage in foreclosure. These are realities for contemporary consecrated Catholic hermits who are not at all subsidized by the temporal Church nor by patrons or supporters. Some who are more publicized as hermits such as through their Diocese or Catholic publications, might have some donations flow their way. That is fine.
Most of us Catholic hermits, privately or publicly professed, and thus by the Institutes of the Catholic Church are fully part of the Consecrated Life of the Church, have our own means of financial support. When circumstances occur, which they can in any life situation, that requires need of additional income, hermits pray and God provides.
When our faith is firm, then we shall be firm.
I'm yet in awe that after years of not being eligible for health insurance, within a few short weeks of being able to qualify for Medicare (based upon the earthly ex-spouse's Social Security status), health considerations erupted. I would have been wiped out financially without the Medicare coverage! The Lord provided so bounteously and still does, as the bills arrive with manageable amounts to be paid. Yesterday's contribution for berries and squash pays the primary doctor's appointment.
And the pain that was so very severe in the liver area, has subsided some! What a difference in outlook and ability to proceed with some manual labor! Prayers of people of great faith have been answered, and this hermit is extremely grateful!
My faith is firm, and I shall be firm--and all by the grace of God alone. Faith is His gift to us as are all things temporal and spiritual.
Now to head out to the roadside table at Te Deum Hermitage (of which thus far no one passing by would have any inkling of the name of this hermitage for what does a hermitage look like, anyway?) and rescue the berries and Red Romaine and squash from mid-day heat. Organic produce droops easily, rapidly.
Our faith must remain firm, though, and we shall be firm! Deus vult! (God wills it!)