I've been praying about the peace of Christ...as in "Let the peace of Christ control your heart." What is the peace of Christ? How is that different, perhaps, from other notions of "peace"?
Most importantly, how do I get the peace of Christ so that it can control my heart? I need this!
What has come to me is that Christ's peace is rooted in His Love. It has to do with God Is Love, and also "Remain in My love," as Jesus is quoted in the Gospel of John. John also writes of remaining in Christ's love in the First Letter of John.
So I am praying to remain in His love, and also for love of God in Himself and God's love to fill my body, mind, heart, and spirit. Then I will also have Christ's peace. If I have His love and thus His peace within me and remain in His love, the peace of Christ will control my heart
Thus far it seems to be going well! I sense a letting go of what otherwise would have been upsetting, irksome, or negative. Even my increased physical pain these days of increased manual labor, is not fodder for despair--although I do not push the body beyond what it can bear. Love does not push nor pull against nature and God's temporal creation.
The parish couple arrived Sunday morning with Holy Communion. We then had some conversation. I've pretty much resigned myself to being true and honest.
For awhile, reflecting upon how unfortunate has been past parish reaction to a mystical state during Mass, or how seemingly threatened have been priests by various aspects spiritual, I considered that perhaps I should have simply lied and said I had narcolepsy.
But then, should a Catholic Christian have to lie in order to be acceptable to others at Mass? Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is nothing about falsehood or lies; John the Apostle in his First Letter writes that if one lies, there is not truth in him. Obvious, and especially so when we consider Christianity and Christian worship and Christian gathering of Christ-loving believers!
So I will continue on being myself, and I will not shrink back. If a Catholic parish cannot accept one who is spiritually sensitive, different, or a mystic, then there is something not quite right. Prayerful diligence might be the answer, as well as persevering in love, patiently letting this couple to get to know me, and then perhaps others will, as well, in a humanly situational manner. We are all God's children, after all--sinners but all beloved of Christ.
Keep up the truth! This is the 21st Century, and we do not need to keep on with previous ways of treating mystics: no more burning at the stake, not shunning, not sending off to monasteries to be essentially imprisoned, hidden away, not being the devil's advocates in grilling them, scrutinizing, doubting, misjudging. Jesus is the judge, we must remember.
The Lord will reveal and filter those who have emotional or psychological hysteria over time. We do not need to do His work for Him in that regard. And if there is deception going on, the Lord is quite qualified in dealing with it. More often than not, though, by far--in the Western Church the spiritually sensitive, the mystics, are mistreated more than simply accepted and enjoyed. This practice can change. We do not need to be nasty, not to anyone.
A few days ago I posted my hermit vows of 16 years ago. A hermit colleague was upset by my mentioning that I render canonical obedience. Yes, I do. Any practicing Catholic ought render obedience to the various and multitudinous Canon Laws developed over the years. At least we ought to try just as we try to be obedient to civil laws on the books. Why not?
The inclusion of my being obedient to my bishop in whatever diocese I may reside and to obey canon laws should not be a source of upset to others. Rather, we should rejoice at our human and flailing attempts to canonical obedience but even more so to obedience to Jesus' precepts, particularly that of God's Law of Love.
If we get upset over desire to obey laws of the land and laws of the Church, or laws of God especially--this upset is an example of not letting Christ's peace control our hearts. The person upset by my professed eremitic vows' inclusion of canonical obedience did not fully understand; perhaps the meaning and intent was confused with canonical approval of hermits by one's specific diocese bishop re. Canon Law 603.
I, of course, was not singling out that particular canon law. (At the time, neither I nor my spiritual director were even aware of this relatively recent Catholic "law".) I tend to think, live, perceive and write more expansively and inclusively. My profession of vows includes obedience to all canon laws to the best of my ability. I strive to obey them as I strive to obey civil laws. But most of all, I need to focus on the Law of God which the Living Word specifies is love!
"Let the peace of Christ control our hearts."
God bless His Real Presence in us!
Now, this nothing consecrated, physically-extra-pained-today Catholic hermit must rise, dress, and begin sanding and priming tongue-and-groove 10-footers, with room on saw horses to do four at a time.
Daniel the Nazarene (reminds me of Jesus the Nazarene!) returns tomorrow to Te Deum Hermitage; we will continue nailing the fresh wood to the stairwell ceiling and upper bedroom ceilings. Temperature downstairs this morning has been 52 degrees, so resting on the mattress, bundled for warmth, has been a luxury!
Praise God Almighty! Love His Love in the peace of Christ controlling my heart!