Today is huge. Not only is it the day celebrating the Ascension of Jesus from the temporal earth into the mystical, spiritual world of heavenly eternity, it is the birthday of St. Padre Pio. Plus, it is the feast day for another favorite of mine: St. Mary Magdalena d'Pazzi (mystic, stigmatic, victim soul). And, it is the feast day for Venerable Bede of Middle Ages fame and that of Pope Gregory VII. (The latter I know least about, but information is a Google away!)
My son is on his way on another solo bicycling trip from Hamburg, Germany to Zurich, Switzerland. He will follow the Rhine River the bulk of the trip. I continue to pray for his safety but also for the fascinating experiences--expect the unexpected!--along the way. There are some temporal dangers traveling alone; but I always have noted that a person does gain perspective and depth when not traveling with family, friends, or a group of relative strangers.
For example, whenever we are with others, we interact with the others: speak, observe, relate, hear, and so forth. When alone, we are totally open to whomever and whatever the Lord decides to visit upon us--persons, experiences, thoughts, observations.
This is true in the spiritual life, of course, and in our daily temporal lives. Thus, when someone emailed concern as to how to handle a co-worker who resents the person from going to her car on lunch break from their working at a busy Walmart store, I found it of interest and also linking with something I'd read in one of John of the Cross' poems.
The person who contacted me is trying to do her spiritual reading on her lunch break and to have a bit of quiet time--respite from so many people in the work venue. Her co-worker has tried to shame her--"So you are trying to avoid PEOPLE?" Yes, she is doing just that.
I suggested she explain to the single co-worker who likes to chit chat on breaks and during lunch, that the person who desires a half hour of peace and quiet and time to do a little spiritual reading, has not that opportunity once work is finished. She is married, and her husband resents her reading or praying at home, for he does a bit of what the co-worker is attempting: control over another person.
While going along to get along is how it, at this phase of their years of marriage, is wisest for various temporal reasons, the person has had to give up the spiritual reading and quiet time of more formal prayer at home. The outcome otherwise is uproar. But to have a co-worker attempt the control over breaks and lunch time is a point of setting boundaries.
Hopefully, simple communication and explaining the home situation and the person's need for quiet time and yes, to get away from people for the few minutes out of a day and night, is crucial to her spiritual well-being. We shall see. Darkness does not like the light, and this person has lived out the battles of darkness against light in her marriage; and when we have a pattern of being controlled, the devil delights in having others line up to try to gain control, also.
I thought of Jesus, taking leave of the disciples and crowds, from time to time. He'd go off to the mountains, or take a boat himself to cross the waters; the crowds and disciples would try to follow after, try to find where he had gone. Ultimately, to get some peace and quiet to pray, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his disciples to act as guards of sort, to help insure he had privacy and hiddenness so that he could pray on the night of all nights--prior to his pending crucifixion.
Then in John of the Cross' poem, these words from the Bridegroom (Christ) to the bride (John of the Cross, the soul--any of us) made a point excellent for a hermit but also for anyone.
From "The Spiritual Canticle":
from the Bridegroom-
"She lived in solitude,
and now in solitude has built her nest;
and in solitude he guides her,
he alone, who also bears
in solitude the wound of love."
Today I went to civilization to get some supplies, get gas for Precious Blood (truck), and got a huge load of black bark mulch. A young Haitian man is going to come Saturday to help this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit do some yard work. First thing this morning, I sold nine trees at greatly discounted prices. Need to keep to the process of detaching.
It is not easy to live in the temporal world and be consciously aware of and thinking of Jesus ascending, or of Jesus in any of the details of his life on earth. Or to even consider what Jesus is doing right now, while we are about our daily, temporal activities--do I know Jesus that well? Am I with him, in him, as he ascends, for I do consider that Jesus is in some ways perpetually in a mode of ascension, and those of us who love him, know him to any degree, and who desire to be with him, are in some aspect in ascension with the Lord.
We can ascend, in some ways, by being guided in solitude. We can ascend and yet relate when needed, when truly needed--not a controlled need or a neediness need. Our Lord was certainly assertive--not aggressive but also not one to allow others to manipulate.
He ascended. That act and fact--temporal and mystical both--give a solid glimpse into how our lives can be in Christ. Know, love, ascend with and in Christ.
I suppose we won't necessarily know if and when we are ascending in and with Jesus. But, we do know that there are certain conditions which do assist us in being guided by Christ, and assumed into Christ, of sorts. Some periods of external and interior peace and quiet certainly assist in the process.