Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Catholic Hermit: Giving Up Stuff

His Real Presence leads us, it seems, thematically.  In our daily lives themes recycle until we grow through the phases, one after another.  Often, the themes recycle again and again in other levels and with varying circumstances and details.  Can we see this in each of our temporal and spiritual lives?

Today's Gospel is from Matthew 19.  The Word may be alarming to some, for it sounds severe, even extreme.

"And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life."

Jesus is asked, off and on, in His public ministry years what it takes to enter the Kingdom of God.  What must we do to be followers of Christ?

This past Saturday while in the mystical state during Mass, the Lord taught me a bit of "stuff" that hinders, that I must give up.  It is an answer to prayer, the showing of the particular "possession."  Coincidentally, the priest had some temporal comments to make, all fine.  But as I've explained before, when in the ecstasy, if there are temporal aspects, appropriate or not, good or not, I can recall those or recall the gist.  If it is spiritual, then there is no memory recall and simply bliss.

Of course, priests do well to include temporal examples in teaching, just as Jesus did.  The priest was making excellent points--quite brief but pithy.  With a heat wave in effect, he mentioned a priest he knew who gave a 32nd homily...or was it 30-second homily?  So a little joke there, but I could hear the priest ask if given the heat, if parishioners would prefer a 30-second homily or a longer one?

Ah, of course--the 30-second one seemed for the best under the temporal circumstances.  What the priest spoke about might have taken a bit longer, but he challenged everyone to ponder this week, just what it really means in our own, daily lives to actually follow Christ.

During his brief remarks and a bit after, into the prelude to consecration of the host and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, I noticed the ecstasy to be rather light.  I began to notice the thoughts in my mind, like bees in a bee hive buzzing about.  They were not negative thoughts--but were thoughts all the same of this person to pray for or that situation, or other extraneous tidbits and reminders.

Then I recognized the message that dovetailed with the priest's very brief message that contained much to reflect upon and apply to our lives.  The Lord was showing me how brief and succinct is God in His messages and teachings; and how many thoughts are in my mind.

You see, after the death of my will and it being replaced by God's Will, I have been praying for my thoughts, my mind, to be replaced by His Thoughts, His Mind, His Insights.  I had come to understand that my own thoughts were not so cohesive much of the time, with His Will that had replaced my will.

During Mass, the bee hive of my mind was so buzzing with thought-bees, I got the message by being shown the difference between His Thoughts and mine.  God's Thoughts are to-the-point and do not keep buzzing round and round, in and out.  My thoughts tend to do that; they can swarm sometimes!  The negative ones now are easy enough to toss out or bar entrance to my hive-mind.  But the busy-bee thoughts--even though hard at well-intentioned work--are noisy and profuse.

I had felt such a tremendous freedom once I stopped the negative thoughts over a week ago. I broke free from the prison I had allowed my mind to become--a cell of pain and hardship thoughts.  The burden of all that has been dramatically lifted!  It seemed as if there was lots of free space in my mind, in my soul!

But no, where the negative thoughts had been run out, many more neutral or even positive thoughts multiplied and filled the mental space.  How could the Lord get a Word in edgewise?  Well, His Mind could come knocking at the door of my busy bee hive-mind and find no room in the "inn".  

Thus, in my pondering as how I can follow Jesus in my daily life, and in the answer to my prayer for God's Mind to replace my mind, for His Thoughts to replace my thoughts, I must give up my thoughts, in effect.  And part of all that includes having to give up some relationships, or types of relationships, that are heavy-laden with my thoughts, not God's Thoughts.

Of course there is much we can give up--aspects of our temporal lives, of temporal "stuff" we can give up and should give up if we are to follow Christ and be fit to enter His Kingdom.  Yet also there are aspects of our souls, in all the rings or levels of our souls right into the center where is the will and the intellect, that we can give up, bit by bit or in chunk after chunk.

A little exercise I am practicing this week is to inquire of His Real Presence, Him in me and me in Him, is to ask:  Is this thought God's Thought, or is this thought my thought?  Most often at this point of the exercise, the thoughts are mine.  But increasingly my thoughts will subside, dissipate, buzz away, or drop dead of natural causes like bees who have worked themselves out of fruition....

Now, to rid out the thoughts that are not God's--I'm not sure we humans could or should completely clear out all our thoughts.  In our temporal lives, we have thoughts coming in often--and all the time if we avail ourselves to cell phones, laptops, televisions, radios, videos, movies, news, and all the i-tech gadgets that keep communications flowing.

However, we can simplify and manage the thoughts.  And we can, such as I am to do, rid out as many of my own thoughts, especially the negative and pointless ones, and begin to identify and grasp God's Thoughts.  For if He has made His Abode in us, He certainly has within His Thoughts to impart in us.  

I know this to be true, for in the night when my hive-mind is less buzzing and the bee-thoughts are at rest, God's Insights are able to make honey in my soul.  Or sometimes in the day when I am asking Him something, He answers if my hive-mind is alert and cleared enough to hear and listen.

Amazingly (as His Real Presence is amazing grace), after He showed me my busy bee thoughts swarming my hive-mind, accentuated in the mystical ecstasy during Mass--the thoughts became stilled, and throughout the Consecration and following, it was once again bliss--until the end-of Mass announcements of temporal good things, yes.  But the spiritual, the mystical aspect of Mass is bliss, is heaven on earth.

When we give up stuff in order to follow Christ and enter into His Kingdom, we increasingly climb the stairway to heaven and experience degrees of bliss in whatever manner and grace He bequeaths.  His attributes bring peace, truth, beauty, goodness, bliss and blessedness.

I'm sure there will be more stuff, material or immaterial, for me to give up in order to increasingly, fully follow Christ and enter into His Kingdom.  For now, my assignment is to discern thoughts.  

I must seek out and identify His Thoughts which will multiply when I quiet or rid out or bar busy bee thoughts.  The busy bee thoughts can be from without my  mind--busy thoughts from others in various input modalities.  Yet I can shut the windows and doors of my mind-hive to the extraneous and unnecessary.  Just as I was, others might be surprised by how many thoughts are swarming our minds, taking up space that otherwise could be available to God's Thoughts, God's Insights, His Wisdom.

Of course, we must emphasize that giving up stuff is done for one ideal, one purpose, One Lord: Jesus Christ!  We are giving up our "possessions", that which possesses us, for His name's sake.

This is work; it takes some desire and effort.  Cleaning a house is far easier, but ridding my bee hive mind of my buzzing thoughts is going to be fruitful and increasingly freeing in a fruitful way.  Within I will find the honey of God's Mind, sweetening my soul--the effects of which can be shared with others in nuanced ways.  I have no idea exactly how, but we will find out!

I do know this:  God's Thoughts are not busy nor buzzing.  They are succinct, clear, pure, not worrisome nor repetitive, not possessive but freeing and quiet.

God bless His Real Presence in us--our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits!  Yes, I pray for His Real Presence to find plenty of room in the inn of our bodies, minds, hearts, and spirits.

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