Thursday, March 16, 2017

Catholic Hermit: Lenten Illness

This nothing consecrated Catholic hermit has been quite ill the past ten days.  Much of it is a blur other than I tried to keep going, thinking I could work through it with over-the-counter sinus meds.  The daughter came and did a trooper's job of helping get much accomplished in the room with vaulted ceiling.  I made it through although by the Second Sunday of Lent, the "crud" was getting worse.  By the grace of God was able to get her to airport that evening and on her way to her family.

Monday it was time to make a last-ditch effort to drive back into civilization and see a doctor.  That done, and antibiotic in hand, the coughing and impacted head takes much effort and energy, day and night.  My lungs seem to be the weak point of body at this phase of life and for past few years.  Reminds me of my late mother who suffered horribly from Pulmonary fibrosis, origin unknown as she was not a smoker nor a coal miner....

So thoughts of my mother's final illness and death have returned.  I consider it good that the Holy Spirit is reminding me, and I see my lack of supreme compassion and mercy in some aspects, over twelve years ago.  It was not easy, her suffering; and she did not want to die.  There was anger, and at times it was far to tricky for me to isolate out the emotions that angry comments and criticism can evoke.  However, we always have opportunities to offer apologies and love anew, on our parts.

This morning the Holy Spirit brought to mind a person I'd already set aside from a dream last night.  It is the image of my late godmother and confirmation sponsor, a Catholic religious sister whom I was quite close with during the initial years of my conversion and Catholic infancy.  But the relationship soured when my godmother became irked that I would not go along with what came forth of her involvement with a protest movement of feminists, rather angry women who banded together with purpose of forcing changes they wanted in the Church functioning.

It was not a pleasant discovery, and I in good faith and conscience could not condone nor join forces.  This resulted in my godmother imposing some sanctions on me regarding visiting the convent, going to Mass there, using the library, and other detailed changes in what previously had been a marvelous experience.  Before long, it seemed best to part ways; and I mentioned we could remain friends in prayer rather than contend with the hostilities and vindictive behavior that was most disappointing.

So she was in a dream last night.  Had not thought of my godmother for several years.  And today I have realized that I lacked mercy and compassion, although we can always see ways to improve in hindsight.  At the time, I kept my distance as the only means I then knew to alleviate the conflict.  Yet I did not cease praying for her, and I am sure she prayed for me.  I apologized today for my lacking various virtues, including patience.  I did send her a note when she was terminally ill, and she responded but yet with some stoic pride.  Perhaps my note prodded such a response; I suppose I hoped for some signal of change of mind regarding anger that the sisters' mission in protest was not successful and likely would never be.

Yet I can better understand how she and the others felt, for they had perhaps been sold on expectations at the time of the Second Vatican Council that never materialized.  Once more, I see how easy to be derailed when we seek after and place our energy and emphasis on aspects of the temporal world, and especially upon the temporal Catholic world--the aspects of Church that some term "secular" or "administrative", or the "system".

I am going to be talking with my godmother today, in my heart of hearts, and I will offer her my love and appreciation.  I hope she forgives me; and I hope that I understand more fully her stances and why she took that path in her later years, perhaps caught up in frustrations with a movement that is not how I am or ever have been inclined, in my life.  It all reminds me to seek to love God in Himself and to love others as God loves.  And He surely loves my godmother and understands and accepts far better than I did in my initial shock and upset at the secret life, of sorts, that I did not know about for three or four years of closeness with my godmother.

Well, St. Patrick's Day is tomorrow.  What a courageous lover of God is St. Patrick!  Perhaps I can watch online the movie that I think is being offered for viewing on EWTN.  My body is not able to do much manual labor, although I pray to move some trim wood out of the way of the scaffolding and move the scaffolding at least into position for painting the stairwell ceiling.  Perhaps tomorrow or the next day...the Lord will bring enough lung and sinus healing to climb a ladder atop scaffolding.

We just never quite know in Lent what will unfold day by day.  And the aspects that seem most potent for me personally, are these personages who I've muddled in relationship.  The Lord is mercifully and lovingly giving me another chance to make matters right with them even if we are separated by the thin veil, temporal to ethereal.  There is certainly a whole lot to love about my godmother, and I will focus on those loving aspects and set aside the earthly brambles.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Let us love God in Himself and others as God loves!  Grant us the joy of God's salvation!

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