Saturday, August 12, 2017

Catholic Hermit Amidst Suffering

Not sure why, but the low back has kicked up a fuss.  Pain radiating through intestines; just trying to manage pain, recalling last year's ambulance ride to ER.  Yes, pain med I-V toned it down, but I don't need that drama repeated.

So, I am mostly on the mattress, now moved from the small room to the living room (which now has floors leveled and new hardwood installed, of which I enjoyed the process and effort with grateful results).  Was able to pick strawberries this morning, green beans, squash.  Set them on roadside stand and all is gone but some of the zucchini.  

Perhaps the bending to pick berries and beans did not help the low back; but it surely stretched out some muscles which is always a benefit.  And my mind was far off in praying about not sure who or what, but at the present moment it was all quite clear and lovely within, with the Lord and life and soul.

Yesterday was able to leverage off the truck, one of the two double-door closet unit, with frame.  While leaning on tailgate, I then had to take off all shipping brackets holding the frame with the two doors intact.  Next, I removed the hinges from the doors and a piece of wood across the bottom, also holding the doors and frame in place. That done, I could lift each door, one at a time, from the frame and lean them against some other doors in the pole barn.  The door jam frame itself I was able to carry into the hermitage.  Getting it upstairs to the near-finished room for the closet will have to come another day and perhaps with someone else helping to make sure I do not gouge the stairwell walls.

This evening I forced the body to go out and leverage off the second and last closet door unit.  I admit I feel quite ill from the effort, but there is moisture in the mornings; the doors are not solid wood.  Best to be under cover other than the cardboard I had over them in the truck bed.

Am back into spiritual reading somewhat, amidst suffering.  I probably pray more about it than do it--do the reading.  But today's reading of introductory comments to another section of St. John of the Cross' writings in itself felt good.  Yes, it simply felt very good to read about what I will next read about in what the saint is going to instruct.  The sections have to do with ridding out attachments--attachments to things and aspects of the physical, of the senses, and attachments in the spiritual elements.  We humans, of course, are both sensory and spiritual beings.

I read the writings of John of the Cross a decade or more ago.  That is, I read through most, but for whatever reason stopped prior to finishing--drawn off by some other spiritual book or writings of another mystic saint or hermit.  I'm finding that now, in this present moment, there will be far more meaning in what John writes and advises; for I've had far more experiences in these years--more "death therapy" as I call it.

Perhaps it is quite blessed that I've had increased pain bouts lately, of the type that nail me to the cross.  I'm at the point in which I am crying out to the Lord to have mercy on my soul.  And I'm reaching for the spiritual writing that will help me endure in the unknowing of how long, how painful, how on  earth of anything here!  I continue with the daily Mass readings of Scripture.  The Living Word is powerful--but I also admit I return to the Scriptures, particularly the Gospel, off and on in the day to remind me.

Painful suffering does tend to make short term memory not hang on to much.  I suppose it is as well, for each time I re-read some portion of Scripture or even review some of what I've read in John of the Cross, the mind is absorbing in the present moment.  In fact, it is no doubt best that way--to live and think and read and do and feel and love God and others in the present moment--not in the past nor the future.

Yet I'm utilizing thoughts of the past to remind myself that usually the pain sieges lessen, and I am able to return to the manual labor and exterior upkeep required here to progress in order to sell and be out from under the financial dearth.  The lender of the short term loan would like to be repaid sooner than later with the latest being spring.  My bodily pain is not making it happen sooner; and it could be that the present moment will not allow completion.

Faith is like that--not knowing other than in some deep and blindly hidden way we know God is with us, God will take care of us, God loves us.  And the taking care of us--that is what trips us up often enough if we have expectations of what we think we need or how He should provide.  

That is one aspect that John of the Cross repeats about the spiritual path to union with God.  God takes us along the path and takes us to Himself, and He does so with whatever means such as many trials and sufferings that we must pass through, endure if we can to some degree or other, and on to the sweet release of finding ourselves in His love fully and completely.

All I know is that I'm on the journey; and this is what God needs for my perfection--or what John of the Cross prefers in terminology rather than spiritual perfection: union with God.

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