Friday, December 30, 2016

Catholic Hermit Prays to Put on Love

Well, wonders never cease.  The Lord has shown my impatience, on the one hand.  Yet it was probably my Christmas Eve phone message to the parish administrator, promising my prayers for her and her family,  my apology for popping off previously, over frustrations, and then I mentioned the couple who was to bring Communion had never made contact, but it was all right.

Four days later I received a phone message--from the woman of the couple who said they'd bring Communion!  I waited awhile to pray and consider before returning the call.  As it turns out, the woman had a bad cold the past month; and perhaps, I consider, she did not know I had been told they would contact me, thus no phone call explaining she had a horrible cold.

It was a good experience, though, for a lot of pain and upset of the past erupted on Christmas Day.  I grieved what had transpired in my Catholic existence over the years, much of it painful.  Yet the spiritual growth also brings with it, fruit.  There is even fruit in recognizing how painful can be the spiritual journey and the stretching that occurs, also, in seeking intently after Christ.  Some lives have a lot of suffering; and the eremitic vocation is not easy at times, either.

Before returning the woman's phone call, I determined to stick with the truth of my situation.  She had already been told some, and that telling, my couple of spiritual friends and I felt, would make the couple wary--and thus my assuming they were not going to be in contact.  So in the conversation, I mentioned this with humor, and I also honestly mentioned that I hope somehow the couple bringing me Communion will be the beginning of some healing and grace of courage to once again attempt Mass in the parish.  

It just seems to me that if parishioners and priests can get over what may seem an odd phenomenon, or resist judging that it is something other, and be pleasant, get to know one another at a simple level of trust and kindness and humor, we will all be better off.

Yet, I am still quite interested in researching and writing about the treatment of mystics in the Catholic Church.  When did the harshness begin?  What are some of the hypotheses as to why the practice of scrutiny and being the devil's advocate began in the first place?  Why have Catholics continued with the hurtful practice, even if they have ceased physically killing the persons who are spiritually sensitive and different?  Does such treatment of mystics occur in the Eastern Church or in other rites within the Western Church?

The couple plans to bring Holy Communion on Sunday morning after they go to the early Mass.  She said they will see how it goes.  Yes, I will, also; yet my hopes are raised high but with the reminder to self that if the outcome is not as I wish, that I will not react with upset or hurt but will try to be patient and trusting in the Lord Jesus to show me His path forward.

Yes, I emailed the couple of spiritual friends as well as Fr. V., to mention my impatience proved me wrong in this, and the couple is willing to come, and will come, God-willing and provided no obstacles in their way this Sunday.  At least the woman knows my hopes, and I continued on with truthful disclosure for I at one point thought if I ever would attempt another parish, I would be better off lying and just saying I had narcolepsy.  At least then, their might be pity rather than scrutiny.  

But not telling the truth is never right, of course!  It was at least an ironic thought--to lie in order to be accepted and not shunned, in church!  Deceive priests and parishioners in order to avoid persecution. Much better to express truth and pray to move beyond the minor but admittedly kind of rare obstacle.

The optional first reading for today, the Solemnity of the Holy Family, contains excellent advice--prudent and wise counsel!  May I take it to heart and pray to put on each attribute with great faith that as you, dear readers, we are all God's chosen ones, holy and beloved.  I had better once again pray to forgive those with whom I have grievances.  

Most of them would not have given it another thought--that there might be grievances against them, in my thoughts, for their behaviors and reactions toward one insignificant and easily forgotten person.  Yet I remember, and remember far too much and to a negative degree.  Forgiveness on my part is crucial for healing and health.  I am considering going to sacramental confession--that only--but first am making contrition to His Real Presence in my heart, mind, and soul.

Since the surprise phone call, I have been better able to focus on manual labor.  A closet is framed and part of another; some additional drywall is installed; and I am tediously scraping 104-year-old painted newspapers from a wood ceiling upstairs and removing numerous tacks from that ceiling so that more tongue-in-groove ceiling wood can be nailed in properly.  

(Amazing how some old paper and little tack heads make installing tongue-and-groove difficult simply from the added bit of obstacle.  So it is with my thoughts, emotions, and spirit when there are bits of vices poking and prodding and prohibiting smooth progress toward, through, with, and in Christ Jesus!)

Ah, this bit of Living Word from Colossians 3 fuels my desires for loving Christ all the more, for striving once again to put on love: the bond of perfection!  There is much I must pray to have altered in my life, though; it will take effort and diligence on my part to practice more and more, the virtues and stave off the vices.

"Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection."

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