Have been considering yet again, the most perfect rule of life, the Gospel Rule, the greatest of laws being the Gospel law, and God's law being the Law of Love, or charity.
I've noticed that The Catechism of the Catholic Church expresses these points concisely--of which I surely would not do as my thoughts and writings tend to meander through fields of feelings and thoughts, usually tinted and augmented by physical pain and extraneous examples from daily life.
This nothing consecrated Catholic hermit had yesterday a huge challenge to the great Peace of Christ that has dwelt within my mind, heart, and spirit since Lent. The devil was at work as is as always, but the physical pain siege wears down the resistance, and the evil one knows and swoops in. There was a nightmare of my last living aunt who has regressed into increasing pride and caustic comments.
Upon waking I realized it was but a nightmare with pokes and prods from the devil. My response was to pray yet again the Lord's Prayer for this aunt, as her only living child, nearly 70 years of age and I have agreed to pray the Our Father each day for as long as the aunt lives. I'm sure it is doing us much good, this prayer that Jesus taught us mortals to pray.
Yet there were other nasty pokes of recent memory and beyond. I realized it is unlikely I can finish this property and sell yet this summer. The work load seems endless--and that load seems all the heavier with increased bodily pain. There is pressure from an adult family member who floated a small loan to keep me working to finish and sell--ASAP, as I was reminded a week ago.
But the yard and gardens are past due for work efforts, and yesterday after doing a load of laundry and hanging on the line, I began what I'd been putting off due to interior work efforts. The vegetable garden area, 30x90 feet, had weeds and oat grass high and thick. Some parsley root had taken over a section of blueberry bushes to the extent that the bushes were not even visible. Blue Scotch kale had grown to over 7 feet tall, and nearly 3-foot tall oat grass is thick around the apple trees.
Each season there have been different weeds that seem to take over. None of them have been easy to rid out. Yet, I noticed that all the hard work effort of last summer has offered a gift of being able to extricate the weeds much easier than had I not done the time-and-cost consuming effort. I'd put down cardboard in all areas of the garden other than corn planting space, then had put down mulch that I'd brought in on the used pick up, "Precious Blood."
Preparation is helpful. I wish I'd realized a couple years ago that the garret attic gable room would develop into a charming little space. Had I then, I'd have shimmed the floor joists up there so that the finished floor would be level. It is not, and the only way I got subflooring up there was by heaving up through the gutted bathroom ceiling beneath, some 3/8" OSB board, two layers of it. Now to try to level the floor up there is going to be daunting.
The forces of darkness worked on these various thoughts, in addition to needing to cease interior work because the yard and gardens are so out of orderly control. I should have been working in them a month ago. Yet, as I began weeding, the frustrations and temptation to upset soon gave way to the peace that the Holy Spirit is given us to fulfill within our souls and to positively influence our temporal existences.
I considered God's law, the supreme and perfect law, the Law of Love. I thought about my granddaughter's grandmother--one of three they have--and the rarity in which I have contact with the girls. But the other day, a granddaughter made contact on her own, and we did what is known as FaceTime on our computers. We could see and converse with one another, long distance. One of her grandmother's lives with them, and I find this wonderful, as I've been told in the past that the son-in-law is all right with his parent but not with my daughter's parent....
Yet somehow the grandmother living there got the iPad and began conversing, and rather rubbed it in thickly how good it is that she is able to be there every single day and how much fun are the granddaughters, and how close they are, and so forth. It was laid on a bit much with some insinuation included, for it is known there that the adult daughter has chosen estrangement with me.
So thoughts of this situation, also, the devil taunted while I was weeding, my back and feet throbbing with pain and me fighting thoughts of how it seems my life here is not going to change other than if I drop dead while working. And then I realized that it does not matter, and that it is a marvelous thing indeed that I happen to absolutely love weeding!
I also realized that I've never once resented the grandmother having the delight of being with the granddaughters; it is a blessing God has given me all my life, that I have never been prone to envy. (I have plenty of other vices and flaws, to be sure, but at least not that one, and the fact of it amazes me--yes, 'tis a grace from God, that!)
So all is well, and there is nothing much I can do about changing matters, anyway. I am here and must keep working and praying, and so my prayers turned to this person who in tone and content had gloried a bit in her situation and favor with her son and my daughter, and that I am rather the outcast, the outsider, the loser.
Yet, of course, none of us in the Lord Jesus are lost whatsoever. The Good Shepherd looks after us and keeps us close! We have the Law of the Gospel given us by God, exemplified in teaching and His Life by Christ, and the Holy Spirit brings the law of love to our minds, hearts, and souls. As is stated so well, through the Holy Spirit the law of the Gospel becomes the interior (within us!) law of charity.
With gratitude, I had but thankfulness that the grandmother had such a marvelous situation in which she can live in a beautiful home with no work other than to take two darling girls to some after school activities and be with them for whatever other enjoyments in their growing up years. And in all honesty, my own pain issues would more preclude me from consistent usefulness. Even when I visited last for a few days, the added activity, driving, sitting and conversation brought on a pain siege while there.
Well, we see how this hermit's mind meanders through perhaps, rather than fields of feelings more the streams of consciousness. But within, it all seems to relate with how the Holy Spirit yesterday brought me out of the devil's attempts to dampen the gift of Christ's peace. His peace all returned, and there was a glorifying of God in the delight and love of others, and a thankfulness to be reminded that my aunt is in dire need of prayer for while I may die before her, her shelf life on earth is on a narrow trajectory at nearly 94 years of age.
And yes, I might not be able to finish here this summer, and the one who has lent the money might not be happy with that reality, but I was reminded that I am but one human being (and an old and pained one, at that) doing the work here of which inside or outside, either one, is a lot of hard work. It is miraculously so, abundant graces of God, that I am able to do much at all!
Then, as the Holy Spirit continued weeding the humanly vexing thoughts and feelings from my mind and emotions, there came the ineffable reality that there is not just one doing the work, but that His Real Presence is with me always, doing the heavy portion as He always does in our lives. He takes the yoke upon Himself, and we are lifted up and carried along like a dandelion fluff in the breeze.
That the divine law, the Law of Love is the work of Christ and is expressed particularly in the Sermon on the Mount will next carry me to a review of this section of Scripture. I so want the Law of Love, the Gospel Law, to be perfected in my inner and outer being. It is the touch of grace to be infused with charity for others, and to delight in their successes and also to be grateful, always, no matter what our own temporal circumstances.
There was true peace returned yesterday when I considered how marvelous all is at our judgment--and beyond--as then all misconceptions and miscommunications and misunderstandings will be laid out for all of us to listen and be shown. All that seems murky on earth between loved ones and even strangers who have encountered one another on earth, will be made clear. What a relief and how charitable of God to straighten out, once and for all, our earthly relationships!
Well, finally, here is the excerpt from The Catechism of the Catholic Church that has me pondering the glories of the Gospel Law, and the Gospel as the perfection here on earth of the divine law, the Law of Love. And I consider the Holy Spirit working infinitely to bring the Law of Love into our daily lives, into our most interior, innermost place of remaining in Christ. Within, and from within to without, we may breathe and live and exude charity.
"1965 The New Law or the Law of the Gospel is the perfection here on earth of the divine law, natural and revealed. It is the work of Christ and is expressed particularly in the Sermon on the Mount. It is also the work of the Holy Spirit and through him it becomes the interior law of charity. 'I will establish a New Covenant with the house of Israel....I will put my laws into their hands, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.'"