Sunday, October 9, 2016

Catholic Hermit: Chained to Christ

This nothing consecrated Catholic hermit is suffering a level of pain that I refer to as a full-blown pain siege.  Yet, I am trying to endure without taking meds I've been given that can provide sedation.  I am considering that I must endure this pain for the sake of others who may need the power of prayerful pain.

I have long observed and experienced over the 32 years of suffering, that somehow there is a direct correlation between severe pain and efficacious prayers.  Also, I have had amazing experience of noting that when in extreme joy or heightened spiritual insight, prayers are more efficacious.

There seems a direct correlation of pain and joy, with prayer effect.  It does make sense.  Prayer being intimate communication with God, when our intimacy involves deep vulnerability of suffering as well as the vulnerability inherent in ecstatic joy, the relationship of soul with God heightens.  Perhaps this is due to reduced or negated distractions.

When we are chained with pain to Christ, crucified with Him, the soul is bound.  When we are in full, passionate embrace with our Beloved, the soul is enrapt.

I love today's second reading from holy Mass.  The Living Word points out what is this hermit's rule of life:  the Gospel.  It is written in 1Timothy that Jesus Christ is his "gospel".

"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David--that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship even to the point of being chained like a criminal."

So it is this reminder from the Word of God, that I must, myself, suffer hardship to the point of being chained like a criminal--yes, like the sinner I am--never free from my temporal tomb of body and tangible responsibilities, of thoughts and emotions.  Yet there is release, a "place" of freedom from the chains.

"But the word of God is not chained.  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory."

Since God's Word is not chained, my freedom and relief, the path of salvation, the stairway to heaven, very much is found within the Living Word.  It is through Christ, Himself the Word, by which I can endure all things.  And a surety is to endure all for the sake of souls so that our pain and joy might help obtain for them, too, as prayer effects mystical union.  

Eternal glory is for everyone.  Salvation is promised us through, with, and in Christ.  Our embrace of loving pain and joy as intimate communion and communication with God helps us endure and also endures for us, as well as for other souls.

"The saying is sure:
If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him;
if we endure, we will also reign with Him;
if we deny Him, He will also deny us;
if we are faithless, He remains faithful--
for He cannot deny Himself."

I consider how Mass affects my body, mind, heart, and soul.  How can I come to a point of exhaustion and upset to consider avoiding my little crucifixion of a mystical state during Mass, when being in Mass is so glorious?  True, it is awkward, embarrassing, and has caused problems for others for understandable reasons.  Yet it is a living death with Him so that I might live with Him.

It is a gift, and yes, I did apologize to the Lord for complaining once again.  And I ran to Him in spirit, during Mass, absorbing the Gospel and Jesus' pointing out that ten lepers were healed and only one returned to thank Him.  I prayed yet again for healing from wrongs of the past, of my sins and of misunderstandings from others, of the less-than-Christian behaviors of myself and others.  I then thanked the Lord in gratitude for the healing by grace and for the mystical gift.

We must endure.  We must not deny Jesus His due.  Jesus does not abandon us even if we are faithless.  Why should I have entertained thoughts of trying to escape?  That in itself would be a denial; it would not only deny Jesus my cooperation in enduring for the sake of the elect, but it would deny myself the crucifixion-love embrace that truly is occurring for everyone in Mass.  It is just that not everyone experiences it to the degree of one's faculties being suspended.  Yet the effects are there spiritually, all the same, going on as the undercurrent unseen beneath the surface of the waters.

I have considered the current news in this country of presidential candidates. I have noted how some have abandoned support of one candidate who has made immature, lewd comments in his past years.  And who knows--perhaps he has made lewd comments privately in recent years?  (I would not want my sins caught on tape nor revealed to the world!)

However, it does seem to be an example of how Jesus remains faithful no matter our sins and weak faith and even faithlessness.  "He cannot deny Himself."  I need some time to pray and ponder what this means, deeply, that Jesus cannot deny Himself and that is how He remains faithful to us even if we are faithless.

I suppose it is that Jesus, as God and one with the Holy Spirit, is undeniable, is the fullness of all existence, is love, is creator and created, all-powerful, all-knowing.  There is nothing to be denied in Him or of Him, by Him, in Him.

Yes, it is time for me to locate in the file cabinet out in the pole barn, the vow of suffering I wrote and offered many years ago.  Time to renew my offering; but I can do that now, on this mattress, suffering out the embrace of pain in love.  I can offer to endure for the sake of the elect and to praise God for allowing me to be crucified with Him, to be chained, in effect, to the Gospel. And in the Gospel, in the Living Word of God, to then be freely saved by Christ for eternal glory.

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