Saturday, November 12, 2016

Catholic Hermit Unfoldings

Well, it has been about three weeks since I wrote much of what is going on in my more personal, inner life.

One thing I've not shared on this blog is that I was given an assignment nearly 17 months ago.  Not one to be involved much in news and not in politics previously, I was given an assignment of prayer diligence within the political temporal realm.  It was time consuming with prayer and watching.  Three or four weeks ago, the last Mass I physically participated in, deep in mystical ecstasy throughout, I felt urged to make an offering.

The following week I had horrible demonic assaults.  One thing after another went wrong in the temporal aspects of my efforts with the hermitage renovation as well as with much suffering of body and mind and heart.  One aspect that the devil knows will get to me is: rejection.  Plus, the extreme of construction and project failures and difficulties did not help, nor did storm fronts which send my damaged spine into insanity-pain.

For a ten-day period, I made five phone calls, leaving messages for the parish priest to please call me, that I was having demonic assaults, severe suffering, and truly needed to get the house blessed right away!  The first call was emotional, and it was horrible in another way as the parish has no means of leaving any personal message, so my pleas and needs were heard by whoever and how many happened to wander into the parish office to listen to their open voicemail.

I also left four messages in that ten-day time period with the parish administrator at home.

No responses. Silence. Deadening nothing. I had even left a message on the emergency number, of which there was no human voice so was not sure with whom I was leaving a message.  By that time I think I stated to the effect that I did not think it was going to work out for me to be there, as I was in spiritual crisis, my spiritual father who amidst a surgery, called me from afar, and said I MUST get the parish priest to come bless the house right away, that I was under demonic assault.  However, still nothing.

I even emailed the vicar of clergy in the diocese, and three words, no name, no nothing were the response:  praying for you!  So, that at least was something and positive if not so isolated and impersonal--not that prayers are ever under-valued here!  Yes, that was good, and I suppose in reflection, it assures me that God allowed and willed all of this unfolding.

So I called a priest, a monk, of the Eastern Church, and I mentioned demonic assault, battling temptations of despair, and needing the house blessed as bad things were occurring in temporal ways.  He immediately responded, "This is not good!"  He had people coming for confession right then, but said he'd come; and I said as long as I know you are coming, I will be all right.

After the ten days of no responses to my messages with the Catholic parish and priest, waiting 12 hours would be a breeze.  So he came the next day after their liturgy, a Sunday.  We spoke quite awhile, and he once again reminded me that no way will I ever be accepted into a parish, nor would my spiritual life be anything a priest, even, would typically grasp.  We ended up having some laughs after his reminding me that keeping to spiritual reading, such as my breviary, is always stabilizing.

He then thoroughly blessed this hermitage and also me, the hermit in it.  We discussed possibility of my coming to their liturgy, but he felt it best not, as there are few who attend from the area; and they might be concerned if I'd have the ecstasy.  

(I have no idea if I'd have the ecstasy in an Eastern Church liturgy or if it is only the Western Church mass. It has never occurred in a Protestant or Evangelical worship service, but that makes sense to me considering the differences I sense having been brought up a Protestant--and have no hesitancy in being supportive of the good of Protestants and Evangelicals, in their love of Jesus Christ, God, the Holy Spirit, and the Living Word, and acts of charity.)

Regardless, if I want to participate in the monks' vespers, I can call in advance to make sure they are there.  It is a small monastery but devoted to their pursuit of Christ and the spiritual life in the Eastern Church tradition.  I will say, that the priest did not seem to balk or bat an eye regarding anything I happened to share from my purview which is not necessarily how others perceive, from what I've been told over the years.  Still is very hard for me to accept this.

Well, I then, after 10 or 11 days got a call from the parish administrator.  She and the priest could come the following Wednesday at 1 p.m. to bless the house and bring communion.  I explained that the monastery priest had come and blessed the house, but that I'd love to have communion.  I  also explained that under the circumstances, that were rather unusual in my calls for help and seemingly the door closed, and that I felt the priest maybe is not equipped to cope with the issues that at least this time, occurred, and that the parishioners remain awkward if not cold and shunning other than one lone usher.  Yes, it seemed best that I remain in solitude and not be the occasion of sin that I am for the parishioners as well as the priest.

Another situation--was the previous Friday.  I finally reached a human on the phone in the parish office. I was yet trying to get any response at all.  This morning I was having a horrific pain siege and knew it had the earmarks of being supernatural, as I'd made the offering for the national situation, coming nigh soon.  

The pain was excruciating, and I was still hoping to hear from the priest and to get the house blessed, at that point, and perhaps anointing and communion for me if someone coming this direction.  I even asked if there was anyone in the parish who lived in this vicinity, who could be a contact person, since I have no one to call upon, and that morning thus far was not even able to get up off the mattress, the pain so severe.

But no, there seemed to be no sense of that kind of contact, as I'd asked even if someone who could stop by on the rare times I have that severe of pain, to microwave something or get me a drink?  No, nothing.  When in that kind of pain, I weep; and of course, I was weeping and not even sure of what I explained, but I know I mentioned the depth of the pain and that I have no contacts for such times of need.  No, nothing; and there was no call back later:  Are you all right?  There was no offer to check in.  Nothing.

Well, dear readers, we must learn to discern the facts and the events, no matter how bizarre they might be.  For Catholics to not bring a suffering parishioner communion--that is bizarre, even if not for the two weeks since I finally got a phone call from the parish administrator. While I am not being an in-person occasion of sin for them (and granted, I could then sin thinking about the situation, in return!), I am still a parish member.  No communion.  Nothing.

It has been difficult, as such matters rip open scars from the past, of similar odd situations of priests and parishioners who defied the odds of Christianity in a negative mode.  Yet, I am reminded of the vision of over eight years ago, in which I was shown a heavy net filled with parishioners and priests, tangled and struggling to get out, all just beneath the surface of waters. I tread water, desperately trying to open up the nets to free the struggling people!  But a voice from above me, from the heavens above, told me firmly:  Let them be; I will take care of them.  You are to swim out into the deep.

And so, in the dream vision, I did.  I faced the open waters, seeing nothing far out ahead, and started swimming, knowing I could not touch bottom and likely never would.  I kept swimming and swimming until the vision ceased.

Mercy, it is so hard to keep faith in such dream visions, for the realities of this latest grievous disappointment and shut down, and doors closed, and facing the bottom line--it is more painful than I can express. I am so stubborn, so proud, wanting matters to go my way, what I want.  I wanted still to be simply accepted in a parish, to be able to come and go from Mass, and to on the rare occasion of a spiritual crisis, to have a priest who would even return the call for help. 

But no, nothing.  And instead it was a priest of a different lung of the Church, which is fine.  My spiritual father had told me that in emergencies, to call upon those priests.  And I would be a part of that lung if the Lord had led me, but that door is not opening for active entering, as it also was a couple years ago when I was told, simply, by the Lord, "Not for you."  

I'm sure there are those who will judge even what I write, and make assumptions, and jump to detract and to dictate what bad fruit there is from a mystical ecstasy at Mass.  Yes, I've had that kind of detraction and judging.  The Lord had told me four years ago to ignore those who would criticize and misjudge.  How could I honestly write of my spiritual journey if I let the criticism and misjudging, the detraction of others, hinder my open sharing?

I will not. I will share.  As for bad fruit, I have considered that it has been a lot of bad fruit, my being in parishes all along, and of sharing my inner spiritual life, even the more superficial aspects, with priests who have asked me to tell them, to hold back nothing.  They become envious, or doubtful, or fearful that I might see into them.  (They do not grasp that I am only shown what the Lord chooses, and that personally I have come to want to stay clear and block as I don't want to see, quite frankly, their foibles!)

But it is true that I have been given assignments, and I try my best to follow through.  It can be very painful, all of it.  I have had to express to the Lord and did so in my confession with the priest of the Eastern Church, that I cannot handle much rejection or the ripping open of old scars of past abuse.  The Lord knows it all!

And so the monastery priest and I discussed some of the women, of which he was well aware of Mary of Egypt and had heard of Mary of Olonets, and I mentioned Santa Rosalia and Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich, and of the former three having gone into total seclusion--and why?  Why would they do that?  Increasingly I have the sense that they were not acceptable in their parishes, and not being priests nor able to be in religious orders for whatever reasons, they lived their lives in solitude of a type in which they were never in parishes, never received the sacraments.

Other than, we have Mary of Egypt who did receive a consecrated host from a priest after 39 or so years, as he'd heard there was a hermit woman living out in the desert and went seeking.  He promised to return in a year to give her communion, and he found her body a year later, already mummifying in the dry, desert heat.

Maria of Olonets did return to civilization after years of  being in the forests of northern Russia.  Santa Rosalia died in her cave, having lived in there for 25 years, as far as anyone can determine.  Her bones were not found for three hundred years after, and that due to her appearing to a man in a dream, telling him where to locate her relics and to process with them in the city of Palermo.  If this was done, the terrible plague would abate.  He found her cave, found her bones; the people processed with her bones, and the plague ended immediately.

Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich did have a priest who took pity on her, befriended, trusted, and brought communion to her when he could.  Her bishop was against her. Her family was cold to her; they sent a younger sister to help tend her, and that sister was cruel in mistreatment.  Eventually the Lord sent a man who would write out what Anne Catherine dictated of her visions.  Other than that, she was basically outside the temporal Catholic Church, as were the others I've mentioned, in liturgy and sacraments and acceptance.

And I have to accept that I am not accepted in parishes nor by priests, other than my dear spiritual father who is recovering from a heart procedure.  Even Fr. V. in Nigeria is not available for much if any email communication.  He is grieving, worn out, and went through a collapse not long ago. That is all I know from a brief message.  There is nothing he can advise or do from afar, at this point. Internet service is not consistent.  He is laden with responsibilities in his religious community.

Anyway, I am in a period of adaptation.  My daughter called and said she thought I'd already accepted that I am not accepted in my church.  Well, no.  I so wanted to believe this priest that he appreciates my being there.  But as my spiritual father says, it is so bizarre, the recent events, that it is "funny."  (I don't sense Jesus laughing.  Perhaps my spiritual father meant "funny" as in "odd" and "uncanny."  Regardless, I am trying to find  humor in it, albeit not easy to do so.

The hermitage is blessed. I do have my breviary here by me on the mattress although I'm in the worst bout of acedie (spiritual ennui) than ever experienced or thought possible. I have some anger to contend with, and I am dealing with total work burn out on this hermitage renovation efforts.  The weather shifts have my body up and down in pain issues.  But, my assignment of prayer and suffering with the political situation is concluded.

And there was a miracle last early evening, but too much to write about at this point. Possibly not necessary to share, although it was an immediate answer for a sign that Jesus is here with me and that I am on the right path, the right train of thought, that I am to not try again, to speak to a priest nor to enter a parish.  Think Mary of Egypt, Maria of Olonets, Santa Rosalia, and to some extent, Ven. Emmerich.  

Male counterparts have had their non-acceptances, such as St. Joseph Benedict LeBre and even John of the Cross and Padre Pio, but the latter two were priests and thus did not have to exist without the temporal sacraments and Joseph LeBre was able to go to varous parishes even if spat upon.  None of them that I know of though, had a phenomenon occur during Mass of which they were but a peon parishioner.  Padre Pio's situation was high-scale phenomenon and the power of his priesthood to assist, despite his being battered a'plenty--for shame!

So I am in a period of finality, of final adaptation and acceptance of not being accepted. I am accepting that I will never enter a Catholic parish again nor will I ever talk with a Catholic priest again, other than the infrequent phone call I might receive from my spiritual father in whatever time either of us have left on earth.

The miracle sign last early evening gives me stamina!  It increases my faith; it assures me with courage in this path, with resolve, difficult and painful as it still is.

Even the monastery priest of the Eastern Church told me I must stop being the beagle, going back and back, wagging my tail, when I repeated get my snout kicked.  No, even if my heart is that of a beagle going forth wanting to love and accept and to be loved and accepted, I must remain on my dog bed.

So these are some of this consecrated Catholic hermit's unfoldings.  I am praying about my blog.  A tiny slip of paper wafted out from some recipes that fell from between a knife rack that was on the floor in this chaotic construction zone. It was a small slip upon which I'd written the two suggested book titles from Dr. H., given me over the phone over four years ago.  That was before this desert place of exile was even a thought on the horizon.  

And exile it is, more than I could ever have fathomed, including exile as a type of hermit that is of the outer reaches requiring extreme adaptation and exhaustive hardship.

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