Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Catholic Hermit: Octave of Easter, Divine Mercy Gifts!

How the Lord blesses us!  The more this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit adapts and accepts increasingly the Lord's unfolding of this life--each of our lives--the more we might notice, see, hear and accept the gifts that He often gives us--particularly on those days of great Christ-holiness.

On these days in which aspects of Jesus' birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and bequeathing the Holy Spirit--in addition to those persons in His life and ministry whose days on earth are remembered and lived anew in us--Jesus gifts us in so many special ways.

Of course, every day holds many blessings imparted by the Trinity and the many holy souls and angels who love us very much.

So it is that this Lent, this hermit has noticed increasingly the reality of the blessings, the gifts, the graces from His Real Presence and His emissaries of Divine Love.  And during the Triduum and especially Easter, more gifts given.  Then on Divine Mercy Sunday--additional graces and reminders of years' past, of particular, loving graces and gifts given.

And yes, the more we recognize and appreciate, the more we openly and lovingly accept all that God wishes for us.  He delights in gifting His beloved children!

I noticed someone made a comment relative to friendship.  The person said that friendship is a two-way street, and if the person wishes another a good day, is it not right and correct for the other to respond and wish likewise?

Others responded with agreement, and one other responded that we should not have expectations of others, of friends, or of what friendship ought to be in return for our friendship offered.  I thought about it some, as I, too, consider that while we are very human and of course want friendship to be returned when we offer a kindness, but there is, once again, the reality of the temporal and the spiritual views and realms.

These are my shared thoughts on the matter:

I suppose in the spiritual life--that of life in Christ--we hear Him remind us to serve, and to love God in Himself, and to love others as God loves.  He asks us to love and serve in love, unreservedly, mercifully.  However, it has been amazing the people who have told me they love me, such as siblings, yet do not answer a phone call in nearly 13 years, nor rarely respond to emails or if so with little content other than mentioning loving me, nor do they remember a birthday.

Reminds me, also, of when my earthly spouse left, rather cruelly so, and wrote to my dad of all that was wrong with me in my spouse's estimation, and then added that [the spouse] loved me.  My dad responded to the letter, writing back that if this was love for me (and our children), my spouse certainly had an odd way of showing it.

So the temporal view and the spiritual view for those of us who follow Christ, must increasingly be to the spiritual view with increasing selfless understanding and holy detachment, yet with much love and mercy.

We continue to reach out, to pray, to remember such human aspects as birthdays and to share our lives in some degree or other, in whatever appropriate ways.  We may stop trying to make a phone call or share less depending upon the reception or none, as there are always others who God places in our lives who desire and need more of what we can offer.

I suppose in the spiritual realm of the Way, Truth, and Life--to live in Christ is perhaps more a one-way-street:  Following Jesus as He lived and lives yet, and loving as God loves, difficult as that is for us to do sometimes!

In this hermitage, I continue to be in drywall mudding mode.  The coughing continues but to be expected even when wearing a mask during sanding and clean up phases.  There is otherwise so much dust in an old place being remodeled, that results of a recent lung x-ray are not surprising.  No active pneumonia but signs of interstitial lung cell hardening, indicative of COPD and also thoracic degenerative disc disease.  Typical, these findings, of chronic and age-related issues.

Granted, four years living in rough circumstances can affect the body; but what difference does it make compared to all that has benefited the soul?  There is not growth without some growing pains.  There is not spiritual progression without sacrifice.  There is not learning to love God in Himself and to love others as God loves, without learning to detach from fear of not being loved by others, nor being accepted by this temporal realm.  

Fear is the flip side of faith, the Lord once told me, years ago.  He followed up with a dream in which I was fighting a grizzly, old woman who in the dream was said to be fear.  And then I was shown that to conquer fear is a quest and process; the victory comes with faith overcoming fear.

This quote I heard a month or so ago.  I was listening to a priest preaching a sermon live-streamed by Eternal Word Television Network.  [I have since not been able to live-stream EWTN due to the stream breaking every 3-4 minutes--not practical to get off ladder or to put down mud tray and wash hands in order to get the stream up and running again.]  The quote has stayed with me, although paraphrased when I first heard it:  A coward dies a thousand deaths; the brave die but once.

I mention "first heard it."  Well, doing some research, I discovered that William Shakespeare is the author of the quote, and I've read it in the past and heard it at a Shakespearean Festival as the playwright had Julius Caesar speak the words.  Shakespeare penned it thus:

"Cowards die many times before their deaths.
The valiant never taste of death but once."

Seems relevant to many aspects of our lives, especially our spiritual lives, our spiritual journey, our spiritual progression toward loving God in Himself and loving others as God loves.  To exist in fear rather than in faith is to die as many times as we fear.  To live by following in faith, Jesus Christ, is to let go of fear and to live fully in the present moment, disregarding whatever might hinder by what and where and how faith leads.

The other day in the Gospel selection for Mass, Jesus explains that we do not know from whence wind comes, nor do we see the wind or know where it is going next.  So it is with our belief in God, that we may not see Him, do not know from whence He came or where He leads, but to have faith and believe in God and in Jesus as the Son of God assures us of eternal life with God.

We are each and all going to die of something.  Let it not be of fear many times over in this life time.  Let us live in faith and die but once to this world--yet die to ourselves as often as need be in order to have life in Christ and have it abundantly.

The couple returned on Divine Mercy Sunday with Communion.  I thanked them once again for their offer of time, energy, and expense in order to bring His Real Presence.  I have accepted that the Lord is not opening the door for a physical return to Mass, not at this time.  The couple continues to not interject otherwise, and the priest certainly did not encourage.  I remain in an exile that has become one of spiritual renewal, grace, and unexpected holy expectancy.  May God be praised!

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Let us love God in Himself and others as God loves!

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