It has been a very long Christmas Day here in Te Deum Hermitage. Even using the term "hermitage" seems silly and contrived. The labels and word-associations with yet more labels and associations seems contrived sometimes, and totally not necessary.
Just be a human who is seeking after the Newborn King with all my body, mind, heart and soul--living alone and in solitude and silence, in prayer, penance, and praise of God and for all our souls to come to God Is Love for eternity.
I've had pain today of varying types. The liver area is particularly nasty with aching pains and pressure, which may be nerve pain radiating from low back to that area. I suppose it does not matter what but more what is.
And that goes, also, for my religious life--that aspect that has been affiliated with a particular category with labels distinguishing it from other affiliations out there--so many we'd be surprised with the number, and each pretty much thinking they have the whole truth or at least the important truth.
I was considering how Jesus was as a man, having grown up in the Jewish faith. His parents were devout and steadfast, practicing Jews. Yet, as Jesus grew older, He spoke up and out against some of the hypocrisies and called out the high priests, scribes, and Pharisees often enough, to make sound and solid points or to even answer their tricky questions.
My, how they and others in the temple were uncomfortable. In fact, they grew to despise Jesus. We know how it went. They would argue with him, try to trick him into saying something so blasphemous in their twisted take on matters, that then they could arrest him or stone him.
Eventually they succeeded in stalking, paying an informant from within Jesus' cadre, having him arrested, and setting him up to be crucified.
The mystical aspects surround his conception and birth caused King Herod to wish Jesus dead as an infant. The persecution Jesus endured seems to have occurred mostly as an adult (although he may have had a lot of bullying from other kids in Nazareth as a child, for he was different--yet perhaps if not, due to his mother and father protecting him and giving him cover).
I wonder how he coped! Well, he prayed a lot, alone, off by himself. And he spoke up, and the Father gave him graces, for Jesus had grown in wisdom and stature and holiness. He was born to die that man might live--have eternal life in salvation from our awful sins.
Today I've had plenty of sinful thoughts. I've had anger in addition to the physical pain. I've been upset again--triggered by the ill-treatment of Catholic parishioners over time, and of Catholic priests. It is nothing like some have had, such as the sex-abuse victims or children of Catholic parents who got extreme in misguided laying on of guilt aspects of various sins and not enough of love and mercy in forgiveness.
The other night I was reading some commentary of older people who had damage from wrong-kinds of teaching by misguided, zealous Catholic parents, teaching order nuns, and some doozies of priests. Many of them had undergone therapy to help heal from the emotional and mental wounds; some did not but commented that the scars never went away. Some left the Catholic Church for other churches; some just left organized religion, totally. Some were bitter while others not so much.
My own thoughts of anger were triggered by too many memories. Also, last night when I realized no couple was at all going to be calling to bring communion, I wondered why the parish administrator even called a couple weeks ago. I had gotten over the last influx of post traumatic stress disorder symptoms, pretty well, and talking with her about the couple willing to bring communion ripped open the mess all over again.
A friend called yesterday, and I suggested we have a wager regarding if the couple would ever actually contact me and show up with Communion. The only problem we had is that each of us wanted to bet they would not. So we laughed and dropped the wager idea.
Last night when the anger rose, and it is not so much anger, I suppose, as hurt and pain of a type of rejection by those who one would hope could of all people, be very Christian--I decided to beat back the anger by calling the parish administrator and leaving a Merry Christmas message, and assure her of my prayers for her and her family. I also left an apology for having been frustrated when we last spoke, as it is frustrating for me that people are wary, that there is gossip and judging--and then I pop off in reaction--which I should not do!
So I was sorry, and I said that the couple had never made contact but was all right, that I would keep all of them in my thoughts and prayers, and that I would hold fond thoughts of her family and of the summer that I'd hired her son to help out some mornings. I did also mention that even if we did not see one another again, that I really appreciated having known them. And that is the truth! I do.
In fact, if not for the wariness that they have, and the judging and gossip, all over a little mystical state at Mass, and maybe an aspect of being a bit different as my friends tell me that I have an uncanny prescience and of reading intent that people are sure they're masking--this parish administrator and her family would be the kind of people who'd be like some families in the past--want me to come for dinner, to have their kids come to help and discuss their lives and Jesus and how the two fit well together.
But those days are over, and I must realize that the spiritual life and our souls are in progression. Nothing remains the same. If it does, perhaps we ought be concerned! Yet, I feel as if I am shut down in a way, from one major aspect of life, and that perhaps I ruined some aspects of my loved ones by the rough ride it's been as a Catholic. Well, there are the many marvels, of course. The spiritual experiences and the Mass--oh, my, the MASS! I love the Mass! That is part of the issue, I suppose, is that the power of the Mass is integrally connected with the ecstasy during Mass.
Regardless, I know not where Jesus is leading me; and I don't like the anger and hate that build up at times, from the extreme frustration and the pain of wondering how it might have been especially for my children, now adults, none of whom are connected nor will be, with the Catholic Church. Even my most staunch and devout Catholic friends say they certainly can understand how my children would not have fond thoughts of Catholics and the Catholic Church. They know how it has been--the trials, and even now, the ridiculous rejection, wariness, fear, even, of my otherwise loving, generous, kindly yet seriously Christian self.
The friend who called yesterday said that I am so spiritual that it is unusual for Catholics, and that I am a serious Catholic, which also seem different to many. And, I am outspoken, she said, which is true enough sometimes or has been, and perhaps more recently when pushed to the PTSD trigger point, yes. I did mention the parish priest's put-down and ridicule of Protestants when I mentioned perhaps since it seemed such a problem for people at the parish over a little mystical state during Mass, that at least I could sing some hymns and worship God at a Protestant church--seemed better than nothing, as the mystical state does not happen in a Protestant service.
So, I did pop off to the parish administrator that God blesses the Protestants, too, and St. Paul reminds that Jesus came for the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and to save all mankind. Plus, that even this priest might wish he could be Dr. Billy Graham who has brought hundreds of thousands of souls to Christ world-wide--to which she sniveled. Well, I popped off more that I suppose not, for Billy Graham and his son Rev. Franklin Graham who has a worldwide Christian organization that helps millions of people, would be the types to return a phone call from someone in need....
Ouch! Yes, that is another reason for my apology call on Christmas Eve, to leave that message that I was sorry for popping off, and also the suggestion that even though we'd probably not speak or see each other again, that I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers and hold fond remembrances. Which I will. I don't want to remember my reaction to what were some rather outrageous comments and excuses.
That is why my friend wanted to bet the same way as I did--that the couple who said they'd bring communion will not. After what the parish administrator said to them by means of "telling them a bit about my situation," a wise person would then call others to inquire about this person thus described, and then would decide to stay clear. Yes, my friend howled when I said how I was described, how my place was described--but at least it was said that I seem to have a knack for growing things.
Alas, there is nothing to be done but to keep praying for Jesus to heal my mind and emotions and soul, and to remove all frustrations and anger and even hateful thoughts that can come especially with the nagging liver area pain. I have no clue where Jesus is leading or why all this has transpired, for yes, it is quite painful to recall better times, earlier on in the Catholic journey.
And perhaps this is a point Jesus wants me to grasp: Christian journey.
Another friend called awhile ago since I started writing this. She went over with me lots of the situations I've had, and she also knows some of the awful aspects, the harsh, the wrong, and understands how I could have anger and frustration--and even confusion. Why is the Lord allowing this? What does He want of me? Where is He leading? How could this be? She did remind me that I must not blame myself for how divisive and hurtful it has been for my family. She said it is not Catholicism, but it is the temporal church, the system, the culture, the human condition of some ways of responding to others, such as mystics, that is a problem and not good.
Well, enough. It is Christmas, and I've had a Bl. Charles de Foucald Christmas. Here in the desert, in solitude and silence, in prayer and penance and suffering. No Mass or others for Charles de Foucald at least for two years or so until he got dispensation from Rome to celebrate Mass by himself. No Christmas tree, no confession, no one to talk with other than a Muslim lad and a couple villagers who had started to communicate in rudimentary ways. I have email and a cell phone, although two of the three adult children made no contact.
That, too, reminded me of how I blame myself for the rugged trials that affected them as they affected me, over the years--obviously when they lived at home and witnessed some of the ill treatment or bizarre situations that tend to complicate the life of a mystic soul. I truly do not want the frustration and anger and hurt and even the build up to resentment that could flare into hatred. I do not want it, and I pray for Jesus to heal me of the memories--and please, no more contacts from this parish if they are going to lead to more of the same.
So perhaps if I could get counseling, see Dr. H. somehow which would involve travel and cost. Or if there were an adept counselor not so far who had a gift with the spiritual and supernatural. Otherwise, and maybe even if so, I figure they would advise that I am in the wrong group and need to worship elsewhere, or so it seems that would be the reasonable, logical reaction of an outside analyst. And that, also, seems as if it would kill me as much as the whole ball of wax of persecutions and trials, these 21 and more years.
My friend started to fall asleep on the phone, listening for a long time, asking questions, consoling--all this after I had listened to her marvelously normal Christmas including two Masses and the beautiful, typical celebrations in even normal living conditions--her whole family are great and loving Catholic Christians, rearing their children in Scripture, prayer, virtues and love.
God bless us, every one! (My dear grandson played the role of Tiny Tim recently in a theater production, and what an assuring line Dickens penned!)