Thursday, February 23, 2017

Catholic Hermit Ponders Verse from Mark 9

"Everyone will be salted with fire."

I love this simple statement from Jesus.  It is yet another in the Living Word that somehow I've not "noticed" before--not in a heart-quickening way.

Today I will ponder the statement and the truth of Jesus' Word.  He does not mean only some people, but all of us will be salted with fire.

This morning the physical pain rises up in the body like fiery flames.  I've been pushing the body lately, trying to keep making progress with the manual labor here as my financial shelf life is nearing the end.  Yet probably the most significant increase of experiencing pain comes from ceasing pain medications other than an over-the-counter, strong aspirin in the morning and an occasional over-the-counter pain aid such as Tylenol or Aleve.

The new normal of pain experience and sensation takes much adaptation.  Distraction of thought and making the body get up and moving seems key to success.  But the pain yet has temporal effect in the body; more rest helps, and we will see if the pain sieges occur more frequently than when taking low dose prescription pain medication.

I can view that my body is salted with the fire of pain.  This morning I read a short article on the merits of suffering in that pain of all types can help make us more compassionate as well as empathic.  Compassion is being able to relate with those who suffer; empathy is being able to actually feel from experience what others suffer.

I consider that the greatest gifts of suffering have to do with the humility that comes from pain.  Suffering is an antidote to pride--true suffering.  Of course, a person could conceivably become proud in thinking he or she is a great and triumphant sufferer.  This pride, it would seem, is short-lived if the suffering is true and allowed by God.  Pain that is allowed by God knocks pride out of us.

Yesterday I did some electrical work.  The electrician had brought a "hot" wire into the attic garret room that this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit is transforming into a child's play room, a gabled, low-ceilinged, triangular prayer room, or a storage area.  From the one wire, there are two outlets, one light switch, and a light box installed.

First stipulation is to have the power to the wire, OFF.  For this double-check after flipping the breaker, one uses an electric wire tester.  Then it is a matter of bringing the main wire into a receptacle box that is nailed into a stud, then another wire is cut and brought up from that outlet box to a switch box that is also nailed to a stud.  Then another piece of wire is brought up from the switch box to a light fixture box that is also nailed into a stud.

From the original outlet box yet another wire can be strung through holes drilled in studs to go part-way around the room and through yet another socket box, nailed to a stud.  That done, I called the electrician who coached me and explained more concepts of electricity.  It all makes sense, once we are taught with explanation and can ask questions that are kindly answered.

Today I will begin the process of doing what is called a "pig tail" for the outlet box that has three lead wires coming into it or going out.  The black, white, and ground wires are stripped clean of sheathing at the ends, and the blacks, whites, and grounds are each twisted and capped with a "wire nut".  But in addition to each of those, an additional piece of wire is cut--a short piece--and the ends of the black, white and ground wires are stripped clean and also twisted into the wire nut.  This is the pig-tail wire, and it will be the one used for wiring into the actual socket mechanism that will provide power to the switch box, light box, and second socket box.

I suppose it could be said that electricity salts the wires--all wires attached in this effort.  Electricity is in a way a form of fire, and fire can be an outcome of electricity.

Yet Jesus' statement that everyone is salted with fire has far deeper and spiritual implications for our lives on earth and our immortal souls for all eternity.

Yes, I am going to ask Him questions today, similar to the way I asked the electrician questions as to the why and how and what of the basics of electrical wiring.  Somehow, Jesus' statement on being salted with fire is important--or it would not have sparked my mind to this degree of desire to know by learning what He means, deep down in and for practical application.  Probably rather a simple concept and answer will come of the pondering.  Jesus is so good to us with insights and explanations, freely given!

The electrician is certainly good, also, to have coached me two or three times on the phone in addition to letting me watch him while he worked doing all the other wiring in the hermitage.

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