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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Morning 2011

Am reminded to search for poem that was response to vision of 1994, with poem kind of flowing out in 1995.  There is no time in God even though He created time for our ordered benefit while on earth.

Reading this again brings tears to eyes once more, as am continuing praying what spiritual director asked.  Jesus, I am willing, ready and able to do whatever You want me to do in Your Church, and please show me what that is.

Have been suffering much in various ways during Holy Week.  Friday in bed but improved hourly on Saturday, enough to be present in body at Easter Vigil.  Having prayed much for new bishop, at least brought a sense of bonding and understanding, very deep understanding of what has been shown.  Pray for his mission.

These lines remind me, and perhaps reflect the answer to the prayer, but will keep praying, adding on to please, Jesus, show my spiritual director, also, what it is that You want of me for the Church.  In the meantime, the sense of being outside looking in, continues, and the stiffness of priests who have scrutinized the state at Mass for a long time, is painful to bear.  The poem, yes, reminds me why it is as it is.  Thanks be to God for my spiritual director who is now comprehending the pain but tells me Jesus is very near even though it seems I have fallen far, gone backwards.  The guilt of failure?  He says do not go down that road; it is a bad road.  I will take this poem to heart, for it came from His Heart through my heart, and even now I see how I have sought elsewhere, even written other, than from His depths.


Listen to My Blood


Listen to My Blood, I tell you:
That's why I drew your ear to My wounded side,
pressed your ear into My Self, so you could hear
the message of suffering sacrifice,
so you could sound out My pain and know that you are not alone,
and know that My blood speaks for you and all who love Me enough to listen.

Listen to My Blood!
And you will hear the rhythm of the universe coursing through your veins from Mine,
whispering secrets of divinity,
of My loneliness and persecutions,
of My physical and mental torments.
Oh yes, I felt all human stirrings of desire and held My heart out to this world
of beauty, sensation, and tempting wonders.

But listen to My blood, you mortal--
you who would wish not to suffer so on one level yet yearn to be
one with My blood for now and ever--
listen well, for My blood flows into you and fills you with powers of forgiveness,
healing, hope, belief, and love,
and nourishes you with the peace to seek and find Me within your human heart.

Listen to My blood and smell its sweetness,
like the sickening pain so sweet that it seems unnatural for you to suffer so,
but I tell you that the strength of My blood cleanses your weakness,
washes your fears into the deep veins of faith,
floods your longings with satisfaction,
gushes My greatness into your soul which now is weeping, now laughing with joy.

For My sorrows are your sorrows, My loneliness your loneliness,
My joy, My life's blood--all yours, My love who hears with bloodied ear.
My love, My love, do you know My Love? Just listen!


(jem, 1995 and yet today this is all the more so)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Taking Care of Baby Jesus

This is no easy task, rearing a baby, especially Baby Jesus.  The problem is the caretaker's chronic pain and age, for the most part.  The issue that makes tending Baby Jesus more difficult in some ways is that He knows all one's thoughts, sees all that is going on, hears all, and comprehends all not as a baby and not even just as an adult, but as God.

So here we have a baby who is the preeminent, penultimate, primordial, eternal mystic.  But he is to be tended as a baby since he is in baby form, at least here, for now.

My spiritual director told me to show Christ's love to others, for I had told him that I challenge Catholics...particularly Catholics.  I was thrilled with the idea presented--not in showing people Christ's love as we usually visualize the adult Christ, but of showing people Baby Jesus' love.  So I mentioned this, and the director said that Jesus grows up.  And I said He hasn't grown up yet at my house; He is still a baby here, and I am to tend Him as a baby for now.

So have been pondering here what it is to take care of Baby Jesus.  The first thing to consider is simplifying what I am doing, as in practical matters since tending a baby does require certain tasks.  I made a list of how my life would change, what it would entail, rearing a baby in this life phase, and not just any baby: Baby Jesus.  (The list is not in order of priority.  Not sure there is a priority, but maybe.)
  • Learn to play the harp well, not just proficiently, for Baby Jesus would feel at home with harp music, and it would soothe at nap and bedtime;
  • Keep up the gardens because it will remind Baby Jesus of paradise and of His Mother to whom the gardens are dedicated in part; plus Baby Jesus has a place to play and enjoy;
  • Make the hermitage a clean and orderly, and His room tidy and peaceful;
  • Read books for Baby Jesus, learning more about Him, what are His desires, and how to converse and interact with Him as He grows;
  • Protect Baby Jesus from outside influences that are not suitable for any child but especially such a Child as This; 
  • Cook the meals, do the laundry, pay the bills; maintain the daily life required for His life on earth;
  • Take Baby Jesus to Church and try being all a parent of Jesus ought to be.
This last part lends into what is most difficult for me.  The very first morning on the way to Mass with Baby Jesus, I had to say to Him (in His car seat in the back seat of the car), "Oh, Baby Jesus!  Your poor old surrogate caretaker is full of pain today and is very grumpy!"  Try as I might, and praying to pull out of the grumps, it didn't really happen until late in the day.

So I started to pray asking God the Father to please make rearing Baby Jesus so real and actual that I'd have the motivation and focus to push through my human failings in order to do a very good job.  Well, one can pray, but in this case, there needed to be change within the person praying, too.  There also needed to be recognition of just how humbling is this task of tending Baby Jesus.

I decided to practice the harp two hours a day, a bit at a time, and to get out in the gardens despite wind and chill and clear debris from last season.  Yet I could not seem to make the body do it, at least not to the goals set.  The grumpiness did abate some, but soon Baby Jesus' surrogate parent was distracting itself with email and video clips of daily news.  What a waste because Baby Jesus knows all about it, and would prefer my attention to praying for souls and the world.

Also, I tried to help a woman who is insistent upon going to a new-age type forum that is psychologically dangerous.  She had asked me what I thought of it, and to check it out.  Well, it is terrible and has been called a cult and scam and banned in other countries.  No one with common sense, let alone someone who says they are on the spiritual path, would or should attend, let alone pay a lot of money to do so.  The woman would not listen but rather argued and countered back.  I tried to approach the situation with Baby Jesus love, then Beatitude love (some woes in there), and finally with Jesus-clearing-the-Temple love...all to no avail.

There is much yet to learn about rearing Baby Jesus.  I confess I am not doing a very good job thus far.  But I am trying and have the desire.  Although a young priest registered alarm when I mentioned the dream and shared that I was simplifying my life goals so as to take care of Baby Jesus, I persist.  

The young priest advised, "Don't do ANYTHING for Baby Jesus," his brow furrowed and eying me as if I was verging on a breakdown.  "Just play the harp for YOU."  I explained that I don't want to play the harp for me because it adds back pain to sit to practice--not worth it just for me.  So the young priest suggested I find something else to do just for me.  But there is nothing other than to get into bed, offer to exchange my life of constant pain for someone who has cancer to be healed and live.  The young priest said to do that, then.

By the time I drove back to the hermitage, I knew that what I would do for myself is not what I ought to do, and rearing Baby Jesus is what I must do, even if I do so ineptly, even horribly.  I endured the neighbor woman making an obscene finger gesture at me, and then took out the trash.  Right now I am going to vacuum the carpet even though that is the hardest task on my painful back.  But Baby Jesus is having guests come soon to visit: Two adults and two little girls.  They will all be here with Baby Jesus, even though they will not consciously be aware that He is here.

Set out on the Comfort Chest in the small great room, is a tiny plaster (found out not wood yesterday when I accidentally broke His arm) form of Baby Jesus.  Maybe one of the little girls will discover Him there.  

My body feels broken all over this morning, but I'd better get the place ready for Baby Jesus' visitors.  (A very good thing about Baby Jesus is that He does not require temporal things in the same way we do, but He expects all to be temporally handled in as positive, truthful way as possible.





Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nudum Christum Nudus Sequere

Follow naked the naked Christ.  Am stripping and being stripped.  Being taken through the mystic portal is realized in nakedness.  Am not there yet but en route


The only verbal portion of Mass I recall today is a temporal intrusion in the priest's comments about a boy he spoke with  who told him excitedly about basketball players--their stats in detail.  The priest said he remained quiet and listened.  But this morning he told about the boy and the conversation, and had plenty to critique.  He said instead of talking about the details of basketball players' lives and playing successes, did the boy care or know all about Christ, our Creator?  

We all get the point.  But here is an example for my spiritual director who wants to know what it is about me that brings situations of rejection by others.  I know one huge facet, and that is: Coals have been put to my lips.  I speak.  I write.  I observe, learn and act on what comes from within to without.  

I would not have just listened to the boy, later talk about it to a chapel full of people.  I would have listened to the boy, then thanked him for giving me an idea for my life, and that is to eagerly learn all the stats I can about Jesus and to be even more excited about God than about ball players or whatever is my earthly interest.  I might have later shared gained insights from the boy's excitement and knowledge of ball players, or maybe not.  As it stood, the boy did not benefit at all from what the priest could have shared with him.  A seed that could have been fruitfully planted was not.  

Sunday morning I listened to a man talk anxiously about Green Ash beetles  destroying his trees and another beetle that might destroy his other trees; and a woman spoke excitedly of a forum she is attending [that in some countries has been classified a cult and psychologically dangerous]. I then shared what was on my mind: The dream about being given Baby Jesus to tend and rear, and now praying about how to do that in daily life.

The woman attending the mind-control forum said  I should not have shared my dream or vision, whatever.  She also told me that when saints were mistreated (I had been injured during Mass by a man wrenching my shoulder for the third time in three weeks), they said such as, "I deserve that!"  

I told her directly that: 1. I do not want to be a Catholic saint; 2. We have more than enough saints already of all walks of life, centuries, cultures, countries and continents; and 3. Canonization is far too costly now, time consuming, and unnecessary since we have plenty of saints to emulate.  

In the process of being stripped, I am challenged to get to the naked truth of my naked self and soul.  It is not all that lovely.  But I have discovered that in trying to fit in to some mold of holiness or a holy personage, that there are so many molds--one cannot pick, choose, imitate and become this one or that.  

Be thyself.  This self feels coals on the lips, speaks searing words and writes raw realities.  My spiritual director wants to discover how I can be utilized by the Church.  He repeats I have so many beautiful gifts and talents. Yes, it is frustrating, but frustration helps me see reality: The Church does not need "my" gifts and talents, and the view is stuck at how the gifts (and me with them) should be plugged into a temporal Catholic world utilization.

A block of chilled jello could more easily be sucked through a drinking straw than to fit someone like me into a temporal Catholic venue, wonderful as they are.  Ah, more raw truth in myself; pray to accept it.  I have been tempted with desire to be a part of that world, to have a temporally useful place in the Church or worthy project.  But even clearance to bake muffins for a coffee-donut event met with obstacles. 


I am supposed to pray and ask God what it is about me that creates the scenarios of rejection, or whatever one may call it.  The answer lies within the spirit, the soul, the assignment of the soul in this life here on earth.  And consider the assignment of the soul for eternity, of which the soul is being trained while on this earth.

This soul is more a garden tag describing for anyone willing to take time to browse and ponder in the gardens, what one may discover in the immense variety of trees and plant life found plotted and potted in an otherwise smallish subdivision lot.  

I can tell you there are few to none who have come browsing.  But there might be some day, or maybe not.  I have ceased inviting, although some curious might want to come; curious in comes motive out.

Someone dear to me says I should have pursued canonical approval as a hermit.  I say it is more naked this way, with no one adding yet more scrutiny and expectation based upon temporal Catholic world perceptions of what a hermit is or is not.  The current climate is more external of the past in hopes of reconstructing saints and symbols of yore.  The outer does not the inner make.

I must follow naked the naked Christ.  Look around.  See the totally impractical gardens.  I told my cousin (waiting for a new leg) that I recall five years ago a grumpy gazebo builder who would not agree to place the gazebo where I wanted it, so I was not going to go through with the project.  As I wrote a farewell check for building permits filed, he sneeringly said what I had in mind for landscaping was going to be "A LOT OF WORK." 

I smiled and said:  I LIKE WORK.  Now I wonder. But I must  live liking work; life is very much work.  All of it.  The gardens: No one in his or her right mind would develop gardens such as these in an ordinary subdivision and even less would buy this place that provides yet more pain for someone with a constantly painful body.  

The harp:  The pain of sitting makes practice all the more foolish, but is one of the main goals for entertaining Baby Jesus.  So why now be tempted to finish  a temporal counseling degree when I have finished degrees unused from the temporal world of degrees? 

Years ago the Lord spoke in a way that Dr. H. tape-recorded.  We were told I should stop viewing from above but rather perceive and understand from beneath.  And also that much will be shown me and more, for the espousal of others.  I later looked up that word: espousal.  Archaic meaning is to wed.  And that has significance.  But it more fully defined means: to make a cause one's own, to talk it up, to take up the cause.

At another time, I was told that I must drink deeply of the chalice.  And that I would write; yes I would write much, and I would teach.  Teach?  Yes. I would teach men and women how to stabilize their emotions through spirituality.

I am not one to blindly follow nor do I like to be followed.  But Christ, yes, I follow, and now I am learning to tend the Baby Jesus.  Not all that well do I tend Him but am trying; it is a full time job.  And as I commented to my spiritual director when he asked me to pray about what it is I need to change and what is God's will and how to be utilized, I said I want to write something so that no one else will endure what I've fumbled painfully as a Catholic.  I want others to live the mystic life courageously, successfully.

Following naked the naked Christ means a transparency that stuns and makes others uncomfortable. It can be rather shocking for oneself, at first, and can also seem to break the expectation of how a holy person ought to appear, do, think.  To follow naked Christ's nakedness, one must learn to exist in love and truth being in the buff.



Monday, April 11, 2011

A Dream

A very young woman, extremely pregnant, enters.  She gives birth to a baby boy, but the birth process does not occur.  At one moment she is ready to give birth; at the next moment she is placing the baby in my arms.  He is beautiful!

In the purity of dream intention, from my depths I speak in that way one speaks in dreams:  I want to rear this beautiful baby!  I want to take care of him as he grows, even though I am old!  I know deep within, in that clarity of soul that is exposed in dreams, that tending this baby is now my life purpose.

In dream fashion, somehow the young mother has disappeared from the scene.  I hold the baby, and we see some framed photographs on a small table in an adjoining room.  The baby amazingly speaks.  He tells me all about who is in the photograph, and explains the person's life and that the photo was taken in 1924.  He speaks more and tells me many fascinating things.  

I am astounded and exclaim to a priest and a few others who have appeared across the room.  "This baby is amazing!  He knows things no infant would know.  Not even adults would know what this baby understands and speaks!"  The priest shrugs and says, "That baby did not talk.  He's a normal baby."

He takes the baby from me as we enter another room.  He sets the baby on a sofa upon which several people are sitting, including a couple children.  They are watching a TV set, and the children are horse-playing.  The baby is ignored even though he is propped amidst the people on the sofa.  

I watch from across the room, as if not noticed, but I complain to the priest who is nearby that no one is tending the baby!  I was stunned to see that no one notices how amazing and beautiful is this baby boy and am unable to enter their space.  I can only watch, fearing he will fall unnoticed, from the sofa's edge.

When I awaken from this dream, only then do I recognize who is the young mother and who is the infant:  Mary and Baby Jesus.  The other persons in the dream are symbolic of some of us who are distracted by things of the world, or who are religious in vocation yet seem not to see with inner sight, the spiritual realities in our midst.  

I ponder this dream and am surprised that my first words and instincts were that I loved that beautiful baby and wanted to take care of him as my purpose in life even though I am old.  Age did not seem to hinder the desire, although briefly I did recognize that yes, I am old and not as capable, perhaps.  But still, overwhelmingly, with certainty, I would rear this child!

And the baby's young mother had immediately placed him in my arms, then simply, dream-like, disappeared into backdrop haze from the immediacy of the dream scene.  The more I consider this purposeful dream, its significance heightens my awareness.

I am to take care of Baby Jesus.  I hold him in my arms, I see his beauty, he talks to me and tells me amazing things.  I place my old cheek to his tender baby cheek, and my love for him is inexpressible.  I face the responsibility; but a hope flickers that now I will not be so alone.  Somehow I know taking care of Baby Jesus is the purpose for my life, in what time God gives, remaining.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mysticism, Underhill

Finished reading Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism: The Preeminent Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness.  Will provide a quote, but first to mention also that am feeling much better after plenty of bed rest for pain.

Monday was a busy day, getting the Da to the hospital and all that entailed.  He said to plant the Japanese Maple 'Irish Lace' on his grave.  I doubt where he is to be buried will allow that, but when the small tree arrives (probably in May), there will be some fitting spot to plant it, as a tribute.

Today am thankful to be up and carrying forth with peace and joy for all is a passage, and the temporal is always passing away.  Perhaps I view deaths differently than many, but having had a profound death experience 25 years ago this July 28, I appreciate death to a high degree, and find goodness in deaths along the path of life: spiritual deaths and physical deaths.  There is always a resurrection.

Now, for some words by Evelyn Underhill concluding her classic on mysticism:

According to the measure of their [mystics] strength and of their passion, these, the true lovers of the Absolute, have conformed here and now to the utmost tests of divine sonship, the final demands of life.  They have not shrunk from the sufferings of the cross.  They have faced the darkness of the tomb.  Beauty and agony alike have called them:  the time of the singing of birds is come.  From the deeps of the dewy garden, Life--new, unquenchable, and ever lovely--comes to meet them with the dawn.

Et hoc intellegere, quis hominum dabit homini?  Quis angelus angelo?  Quis angelus homini?  A te petatur, in te quaeratur, Ad te pulsetur, sic, sic accipietur, sic invenietur, sic aperietur.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Truncation: Extreme Spring Pruning

Am experiencing a necessary truncation. It is time.  The rose-colored glasses are to my detriment and must be removed.  Extreme pruning occurs; nothing must grow in this situation, trusting Jesus.  Time to go forth and allow another to go forth.  

The Da has come to a death for nothing, and nothing has been truncated.

It is physically painful in some ways more than emotionally.  Have needed to rest in bed all afternoon and heading back for the night.  Yesterday exhausted.  Today, with sun and clouds vying for attention, snow flurries swept by wind reminded nothing of parents' wedding anniversary 70 years ago on this date. 

We do pass, we humans, and our commemorations.  But we continue to grow, our souls needing pruning, and on occasion a truncation.  

Finishing a book begun 18 years ago or so, before my conversion to Catholicism:  Underhill's classic on mysticism, of that title.  Picked up where the marker was placed--a note from one of my children, when a child.  The pick-up point in the book is chapter on ecstasy and rapture, then on to dark night of soul, then unitive way, and now conclusion.  Notice in the bibliography that within the last six years have collected many of the books Underhill utilized in her epic study on mystics and mysticism.

Am to meet Thursday with spiritual director.  The Lord knows it will be fine if he has to cancel.  Am very tired and still praying, sorting through the twigs and branches of many yesterdays, the Da's death to nothing and nothing's truncation, and of continuing prayer: Lord, please take me through the mystic portal.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It Is Lent

I'm encountering people every which way who are having extra crosses during Lent.  Maybe they have them all the time, but it seems accentuated during Lent: cancer, heart problems, car accidents, teen deaths, fussy people, contentions, wars and other disagreements among people.

Wept through noon Mass as much as a body can weep when all faculties to move are suspended.  So the tears started to flow out of the eyes, more the right eye because the head tends to fall to that side.

Had a rough night and morning...all minor compared to the major crosses people have.  My life is quite blessed with so much, yet am also blessed with whatever little trials come in order to see myself as I am: a sinner, a weak person, pathetic.

The birds are returning from their wintering in warmer climes.  Trying to keep the seeder filled.  Recall a Christmas homily of St. Francis who said on Christmas Day to make sure the birds and animals are given a feast!  

It is Christmas every day around here, and I must not forget that fact of body, soul, heart and spirit.  Feed the birds, feed the trees, feed the poor people, body and soul.