The following Gospel selection from Matthew 11:16-19 was a Mass reading from a week or so ago. It caught my attention due to the great observation of humankind that Jesus was explaining to us people. I particularly focused upon the line, "But wisdom is vindicated by her works."
"Jesus said to the crowds:
'To what shall I compare this generation?
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
"We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn."
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
"He is possessed by a demon."
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
"Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners."
But wisdom is vindicated by her works."
I had not written comments about this Gospel selection, and I'm glad I did not previously. As God would have it, the message is personally more meaningful now and would not have been a week ago.
The other day I finally made phone contact with the parish administrator who'd left the message that a couple was willing to bring me Communion. I had responded a few days prior that it would be fine or such, and how good of them. Yet, there was no communication as to where and when--no confirmation that my message was received. Thus, I called and inquired. The parish administrator said the contact information had been given to the couple the day prior.
She also said she told them a bit about me, as they wanted to know the situation. (I assume this would be a quite valid question for someone going to the effort of taking communion to another.) Well, the parish administrator said she kind of mentioned that I was the one at a certain weekend Mass who looked as if was asleep but instead was in some kind of ecstasy or whatever.
Okay. So then the parish administrator said probably the couple had noticed me before, and I thought that all right, for yes, I am not going to lie nor shrink from the truth. However, the parish administrator worded it in a way that sounded quite wary; and I even understand that for further into the conversation it became obvious how wary the woman is of this pained, consecrated, Catholic hermit...and yes, mystic.
There were other details shared, such as I live in a place that is "raw", but that I have done a beautiful effort on gardens. So the couple was given the information to follow through as they wished and given a key to the Tabernacle so they could get a Host when they wished. Fine.
So then I mentioned the need I had of getting six sheets of drywall into the house and to second floor, and would her sons be willing to help--take about ten minutes but another ten or so for their travel, and I would pay, of course. I mentioned the neighbor had come a bit indignant over thinking I had asked his son to "solicit" a friend to help him help me with the pieces of drywall.
The parish administrator listened and thought that not so nice, the neighbor reacting that way, but she immediately then breathlessly bulleted the different places the eldest son would be playing games with the basketball team.... Yes, yes, I recognized the names of the burgs, and then she said he could not--going to be playing basketball games.
I stopped her from shooting out more names of burgs and various high schools, and changed the topic to the marvelous thought about the word soliciting being quite defining of part of our prayer process. We do tend to ask for our needs to be met and sometimes with anxious desire, with intensity, and beg and plead at times, as well.
Then I mentioned in my middle-of-night thoughts about the neighbor and how on earth I'd get the drywall inside and upstairs, a voice asked me with pointed clarity, "Are you praising God?" And that I'd responded immediately, "No, Lord, I am not and have not been, but will try even if my praises seem wooden to You."
So I shared what I've already shared with you readers, that it came to me that praise does not at all include the facet of soliciting, of asking for our needs to be met, but rather is communicating with God by giving Him sole glory!
(I love that point--insight or whatever--lesson--and have been doing more praising than I have in a long time if ever--and yes, some quite wooden and forced but other praising from the heart! Also, I have marveled that in CL603 for the eremitic life, it specifically mentions both to pray and praise (and do penance) as a hermit's foci. I add these automatically to my following of the institutes for hermit in the Consecrated Life of the Church. I'd not considered the unique distinctions although not all that profound or difficult. I simply had not!)
Well, the parish administrator commented or agreed or whatever with how we tend not to praise God that much, but the conversation turned to other aspects as I had said I was impressed that she even remembered that I had asked for Communion. (This would have been six or seven weeks ago, at least; and she and the priest had not shown up that Wednesday, regardless, but I did not mention that, of course.)
She said, "Oh, I did not remember at all; it was the priest that remembered, for when he found out the couple lived not too far, he mentioned maybe they'd take communion to you...." Well, this was indeed kind of strange, and I said as much, for he had not ever responded to my calls when I was in a spiritual crisis and also needed my hermitage blessed per my distant spiritual director's insistence that the priest should come do that. Demonic assaults and not-good things happening in here.
Yes, I found it strange. The whole thing was becoming yet more bizarre with a couple other things mentioned; and I also found myself losing whatever S of serenity from my Hermit platform of Nine S' that was in or remotely near me. My bit of serenity was dissipating and my Catholic Parish PTSD pouring in and threatening to drown out what motivation I'd had that morning to finish drywall mudding the little laundry area closet....
Well, so be it. I said that I'll await the couple's call to tell me when they might be coming. And I said that we would see where it all ends up, for the parish administrator had in other bits of comments shown tell-tale signs of wariness, doubt, judging and so forth. I repeated as I'd done the several weeks ago, that I am not wanting to be an occasion of sin for others who might judge, or be wary, or resent coming, and then have it end up another negation. So we would just let the Lord handle it, yes.
Of course, the serenity did not return much for of course I was fed up with the blather about the son's basketball games, for he certainly wasn't playing 24 hours per day, seven days a week. And I recalled I had paid him far more than a just hourly, at his mother's insistence, the summer before last, and had to use all patience to keep him focused and motivated as he'd never worked before, I don't think.
Why lie to me? Why not just say, "We are wary of you, and we'd prefer our son not help you for even 20 minutes." I would have appreciated candor over blathering such transparent foolishness. Well, I guess the blathering was the best way of honesty that could be mustered, for people tend to want to think we are nice, and to say what we really feel or think then makes us face we aren't always nice.
So I started to carry the sheets of drywall up to the house, and I tell you, it was not easy. I "solicited" the help of my dear guardian angel, Beth. I did so extra much with a piece I managed to even get inside the door and propped up on the slanted ladder, and then when I tried to drag it up the ladder, rung by rung, with me.
But then it slipped, that heavy piece of sheetrock, and my thumb somehow got sliced from the nail of left thumb toward the knuckle, on the top of thumb where not much flesh. Lots of blood even for that, and lots of pain, and it got down to the bone. However, while I realized I'd not at all be able to get the sheetrock/drywall up the ladder, I could praise God that I had a flap of flesh to band-aid along with some antibiotic ointment. (This morning it looks pretty good, too--healing!)
Then I felt discouraged as I knocked on a door up the road where I'd seen men working. No one answered. I saw a man down the road in front of his place so walked and waved, and asked him if he could help me carry three sheets of drywall into my house--that I'd pay--of course, if he was up to it and had a few 11minutes. He was not excited about it as he said he had a plumbing problem.
Oh? I said I'd be happy to help him with his plumbing problem right then, as I know a bit now about plumbing. He said it was digging to get to a cracked pipe. I love to dig, and I dig with experience, and was willing to help him right then and there. But no, he was not expecting my enthusiasm or help so walked with me and in less than five minutes we had the drywall to the porch. I'd already managed three pieces to inside and porch, but my cut thumb was a hindrance for more solo work.
But, I had the idea to call Raphael! He is a man who with workers had helped in the past but also tended not to answer so had not tried since last June. Lo and Behold! A miracle: he called back! Yes, he would send Fransisco and Juanito to get the six pieces of drywall up to second floor. And they actually showed up, and those six pieces lifted upstairs cost this hermit a very precious $60 to get up there, nearly as much as the cost of the material.
Yet, I had to praise God they are up there now, as I could not do it, and no one else was living for love nor money to help me. And I praised God that I happened to have $60 that my daughter had given me to pay for the airline parking lot of which I used my charge card and had the cash.
Regardless all these rather insignificant details, I love Jesus' truism that "Wisdom is vindicated by her works." No parishioner has called to bring me Communion, and I frankly doubt they will. I am sure they have asked around about the strange person who seemed to be asleep at Mass but is not, and the gossip of parishioners was already like children sitting in the marketplace, calling out to one another. I knew this gossip for a fact; no need to go into those details.
So we shall see about the works, for I had pointed out to the parish administrator that the situation is thus: People judge the fruit. They assume things about others without even speaking to the others. Then based upon what their perceptions are, they decide that the fruit is surely not good from their perspective or opinion. Then I am recipient of their judging which has led to their shunning, or their suddenly not being kind, or not speaking, or a priest not returning a call for a needful request (solicitation?) of four months' standing, or their being wary and critical, and not even nice.
Then I in turn am tempted to judge their fruit by their words, non words, and/or works or non-works; and I don't want to be tempted to judge them or maybe more crucial, to have my serenity cracked or shattered!
And then the whole process becomes a distracting snare, and my works drivel to next to nothing, and my mind works not in loving thoughts but rather in fear and dread of yet more persecution or rejection, and then I end up calling a very holy friend far away, and talk it over, and the thoughts calm some for a bit, and then roil up again later, especially as now the days are passing; and there is no contact from the people who were given the contact information, my location, and more than enough details (perhaps accurate or more likely tainted) and also too much--about me.
It is extremely cold in here--was 51 degrees much of the morning and up to 54, but I have hibernated on the mattress under covers. I got up for a short time to sand drywall mud, and if it warms up another day to at least 58 inside, I can prime the laundry closet area! Victory! So perhaps in a practical sense, then, some painting wisdom can be vindicated by its works.
Seriously, though, I have had a dream that is a clear message from the Holy Spirit, pointing out the state of my soul as well as my body, and letting me know that the road ahead is going to be rough--but I am in agreement to ride along! I have staved off the urges to call and leave the message with parish administrator to call off the couple, that the Lord will feed me in His own mystical way, for He certainly is and has off and on for many phases of life.
The Lord's Wisdom--Wisdom's wisdom!--is certainly vindicated by His Works and Word. But there is no need, as I figure just let it all pass, the parish stuff, as today I've had even more insights as to the road ahead, rough as it was shown me. I'm in the vehicle and the way.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Let wisdom be vindicated in her works! Praise God Most Holy!