Monday, March 27, 2017

Catholic Hermit Reconsiders Praise of God

The couple who brings me Communion on Sunday mornings has returned from their near-month-long mystery trip.  Yesterday morning they brought His Real Presence in the consecrated Host, and I'm the blessed recipient of their kindness in doing so.

They also felt I needed to get to a doctor yet that day, for my illness has continued on three weeks now, without significant improvement.  Sharp pains in my head have erupted in the past two or so days.  I did mention that I was not sure I could make the trip and back, but there was no offer to take me, and by that I know the Lord intends to provide for my needs Himself and that is the fact of such circumstances.

And so He did, although by the time I returned, it took all what little energy left to get my drained body and weak legs to manage the four deck steps so I could get into the hermitage and flop on the mattress.  

But the Lord and I managed the trip.  A nurse practitioner prescribed Doxycyclene which she said is stronger and a longer dose than the Z-pack that did help a little but was ultimately a "fail", as she put it--not getting rid of the sinus and lung infections.  If not a lot improved in a few days, I'm to get lungs x-rayed.

The man of the parish couple did offer to return with another when this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit is feeling better.  They will try to remove and replace properly the mattress apparatus of the sleeper sofa.  This is a huge relief to me, as the first contractor four years ago and the two college men he employed that spring and summer were employed by me to unload the truck.  

Those three decided they could not lift the sofa into the hermitage as it was heavy, even though always two younger boys where I lived previously had done so in my several moves.  The lovely sofa bed is useless if not corrected, and I am most grateful to the parish man who offers to bring another to help right the wrong.

God does provide!

I shared with the parish couple the various missteps of the medical community in my health care.  I mentioned that I am tired of people trying to take advantage, as I am as responsible for their souls as of my own if I knowingly or suspect others are doing wrong and let them proceed.  There have been ridiculous charges and misinformation.  I am being bled financially by Medicare copay insurance companies which willy-nilly drop medications that previously they would cover, or change plans without notifying and always to their advantage--or do not pay the bulk of co-pay on medical conglomerates' high fees on rather trumped up services.

I have no idea what yesterday's visit to a medical clinic in the conglomerate of doctor groups will charge; and I had to pay a high cost for the antibiotic.  Costco pharmacy is closed on Sunday, and I could not have physically made it the added journey to go there regardless so accepted a pharmacy near the clinic.  

Above all, I know the Lord provided the strength to get to the clinic and to allow another round of antibiotics for when I called Saturday, another clinic restated that they are unlikely to give antibiotics due to a "CDC crackdown" on antibiotics.  So many regulations and a lessening of individualized considerations are becoming the new normal.

Praise be to God that His Real Presence continues to deal with us to the specific detail and individualized loving care--God counting all the hairs of our heads and knowing each nuance of our temporal and spiritual lives, each nook and cranny of our very souls!

And this is so for our vocations and lives, and for our seasons of life.  Lent continues to unfold in exactly the prescribed manner that God chooses for each of us.  Increasingly I am reminded to not be discouraged and to simply wait, praying for faith and a true grasp of hope that is not seen, and as ever, to learn that the only reaction I must ever entertain is that of love.

A young spiritual friend emailed that she had been tempted to envy a week ago but battled back against those thoughts.  I admit that the Good Lord had allowed my own thoughts to be tempted to a bit of envy, I suppose it would be.  It had to do with another whose life has been like so many lives described by the Psalmists--that the evil doers seem to thrive when those who strive to obey the Lord's precepts struggle and suffer in this temporal realm.

But, I know that I am not without sin, and also that a huge chunk of my mission is that of my suffering being united with the sufferings of Holy Mother Church.  The challenge I have is to not resent the suffering but to let it be as it is, yet without focusing much on it.  

I simply sense that I am like a table lamp plugged in, and the current of suffering flows in and out circuitously, with the power of the Holy Spirt and the suffering of the Church and my suffering as one.  Yes, my task is to not resent the levels of suffering and that my life is one of suffering--seemingly odd sufferings in part--and that striving to praise God and rejoice regardless is what I desire and ought attain.

The young friend had written that she'd read Ecclesiastes and Proverbs as St. Bernard recommends prior to reading his Sermons on the Song of Songs.  I admitted I have not finished reading even one of the two Old Testament wisdom books.  But I have started, and that is better than nothing.  She also made the observation that the Old Testament Scriptures are filled with praises of God.  Yes, this is so, and I was pleased she'd seen that marvelous reality.

And I am thankful for the reminder, for that is what, in my determination to not let the unknowns of this current illness and its outcome, to be a discouragement but rather to be a praise-of-God event!  I have asked the Lord to heal my head and lungs, to return my energy and me to health.  There is now outdoor work accumulating as spring progresses.  I did feel an odd tingling in the upper left lung area and neck into head yesterday morning, but obviously I needed the tangible help of another round of antibiotics and continued mattress rest.

A friend from afar had mailed another box--jammed with nuts, protein bars, dried fruit, and even some Nutella--a treat I never would afford myself but feel quite thrilled to enjoy.  So I can get up enough to have something to eat that does not require cooking or even standing by the microwave.

And I consider these Scriptures from Isaiah 65 in today's first Mass reading.  They remind me once again, emphatically, to not think back over the past but to live in God's glory of the present moment of which each moment is new and fresh, filled with marvelous possibilities always assured of His love and mercy for His beloved children--us!  

And our praise of God  is love of God, and that love of God and others must be our only reactions no matter the situations or human circumstances.  If others make themselves our enemies, we do not have to be theirs.  If others in the reality of flawed human nature are tempted to take advantage in whatever ways or means, we must do what we can to not let them but otherwise accept the consequences without rancor and turn instead to the loving providence of God.

So it was when my financial advisor, a dear and solid Catholic friend as well, called this morning as I need to drain out yet more funds to meet the additional costs medically and otherwise this month, I told him that I have no idea what is to become of me, but that God does.  And that I will just keep enduring here, praying to get well, and then returning to what work I can do, hang on until the last moment before this "plane" crashes, and then eject--but not before.  And, if I lose all, I will simply begin again.

Anyway, these are the words from Isaiah 65 that so inspire me today.  You will see why, and I pray they inspire you likewise!  It is Lent, and each moment and each breath is being made new and fresh by our dear Lord and God.  Easter is coming with yet more promise of resurrection!  Let us praise God in all things, in all circumstances, and love Him for Himself--all love and mercy--and to love all others as God loves!

"Thus says the LORD:
Lo, I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
The things of the past shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
Instead there shall always be rejoicing and happiness
in what I create;
For I create Jerusalem to be a joy
and its people to be a delight;
I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and exult in my people....
They shall live in the houses they build,
and eat the fruit of the vineyards they plant."

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