Monday, July 4, 2016

Catholic Hermit on Taking His Word to Heart

This morning I awoke with more than average pain, particularly in the liver area of which recently discovered some small nodules and lesions--none malignant, though.  Research revealed that many of us have small lesions on our livers (and some all our lives) which are water cysts.  

What aspect of the liver that a contrast dye scan revealed, according to an emergency room doctor, is the upper right quadrant being "splayed and frayed", going up under the rib cage and touching the lung in which a sizable nodule was discovered in the lung lining.  This was not found to be malignant, either.  

However, the splayed and frayed aspect seems odd, and although one doctor thought it could not have occurred from an injury and that the pain I feel could be muscle pain--whatever the pain's cause, this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit has to learn to live with it!  Ah, yes, more pain!

So with the pain being rather severe upon waking, and taking the usual meds to help tone it down (which are not adequate at times but must endure without more meds, but by the grace of God!), I turned to the daily Mass readings and found great strength and solace in this selection from His Living Word.

Excerpts from Hosea 2:

"Thus says the Lord:

I will allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak to her heart.
She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,
when she came up from the land of Egypt.

"On that day, says the Lord,

She shall call me 'My husband,'
and never again 'My baal.'

"I will espouse you to me forever:
I will espouse you in right and in justice.
in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity,
and you shall know the Lord.

I read it once; I read it twice.  Rising from the mattress, I put last evening's freshly picked strawberries in two quart containers and set them on the roadside table.  His Living Word continued to touch my heart as I cut two heads of Escarole and also a bunch of Swiss Chard, Blue Scotch Kale, two squash, and a small baggie of Snow Peas.  Out to the roadside table with these, as well, and added some beets I'd pulled yesterday.

Then back to the mattress for yet another perusal of the above Scriptures, and this hermit feels much better, inside and out!  Of course, I can take these words given by the Lord to Hosea as if given to me, this morning, or any time--day and night.

Once when taking a university course on Isaiah, the professor pointed out that the prophets understood their messages as being addressed literally in some ways, to a specific person or group, and also as a symbolic whole which pointed toward some future time frame as a prophetic message not totally discernible by the prophet or his contemporary listeners.  Yet the overall intent is clear.

The first time I truly began absorbing His Living Word as personalized message from God to my own heart was following the car accident years ago and my earthly spouse's declaring not wanting to be married anymore.  The shock and upset of that time period helped drive me all the more to Christ and to His Living Word.  The Scripture that spoke to my core and gave me great solace and truth, then, was one from Isaiah in which God says, "Your Maker shall be your Spouse."

From that time onward, with rearing my then three very young children, I considered Jesus my Spouse and for my children, He was their true Father.  I relied upon God in as many details of daily life possible to a mortal being going through quite a time of unexpected trials as well as being opened up rather profoundly and viscerally to the supernatural realities.

As I absorb the Living Word this morning, here in this desert place to which I was called out of a type of Egypt--a comfortable, temporal existence--three years ago, I recognize that the Lord has been speaking to my heart as much as my heart is willing to listen and observe.  The physical pain and temporal obstacles can be like thick fog steaming the windshield of my earthly vehicle, my body and my mind.

If I am able to gently and daily--even moment by moment--wipe clear the fog, I can see and hear my Spouse as clearly as if He were resting by me on this mattress right now.  I can feel His touch and sense His comforting understanding.  Just a bit ago, He said, "Others do not comprehend the amount of physical pain you bear in your body all the time, but some day, later on, they will realize just how much pain it has been, and they will understand the heaviness of the cross I have asked you to bear."

I responded that I suppose by then, it won't really matter what others realize or not.  Yes?  There was no discernible answer, for by then I was harvesting some greens, and perhaps it was my own mind thinking about what difference will it make later on, that those who misunderstand me now or have not had the compassion or patience to remain faithful in love and friendship to one with such chronic pain hindrances, might have regrets but what good then?  I don't want people to suffer regrets.  I'd prefer them to grasp now and be able to simply love and accept, not withdraw or disrespect.

However, the Lord, while not answering those thoughts posed, then, in the gardens, answered as I re-read yet again, the passage from the Prophet Hosea.  It is not to others that I am espoused, nor they to me.  His Real Presence has espoused me to Himself in righteousness, in justice, in mercy, in love, in fidelity--forever.  He has espoused me to Himself so that I will know Him.

While it is lovely to hear words and speak words, from human to human, with human to human, there is something so clear and rich and deep when the Lord speaks to us directly from His Living Word, from His Heart to our souls.  

The previous posts this hermit has written, expressing considerations about spiritually counseling or direction others, or for hermits to be spiritually directed, have not discounted the marvelous sharing and growth that can occur in speaking, writing, and listening to one another.  The Holy Spirit can certainly use us as conduits of God's grace, mercy, and love from one human to another, and back.

Yet that is akin to gentle rain hitting the foggy windshield, making the vision a bit more clear than fog alone but yet obscuring the clarity, the sight.  And if the rains become intense, it is not much different than fogged vision.  There is nothing quite as clarifying and direct than the Lord speaking to our listening souls.  When we are stilled and willing, the Lord's very breath can dispel the foggiest of windows to our minds, hearts, and spirits.

He breathes His Mind into us if we so desire and ask for the grace, when we are most needful of His Word personalized, appreciated, loved, taken to heart.

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