Hospice work proves essential in a deeper calling into immersion, an encounter with Christ. Taken out of my life and into others develops interiorly, supplementation, nurturing a sound anchoring in Mass, the Eucharist, and prayer. The ‘Dago’ called today. Her husband passed away. What can one say? Kind words, a text of consolation offering support, and prayers. Always, faith, hope and charity. God is good and all giving.
A call from the Hospice yesterday redefined priorities and established a schedule. There are eyes upon me at the Hospice and I like it. It is good for me in all aspects. The conclusion of the conversation produced a weekly routine of visiting the Jennings Center on a set day. Daily Mass is conducted at 9:30 AM, allowing attendance and then commiserating with assigned patients. I am coordinating schedules with Mary to allow her to accompany. The Easter gift complication made me realize our friendship is important to her on a level I did not comprehend. I am committed to assuring she is rewarded through our acquaintance. I recognize how important working with the elderly is to her. She is good at it. The patients adore her. One patient I have neglected due to her distance I have become focused upon. The last visit she sported a Rosary around her neck and a crucifix. I have concluded praying the Rosary with her is a must. We will sit in the gathering area as many of the patients in the Marian Gardens take interest when there is a visitor. The prayers will be shared with many. The affirmed structured commitment to the Jennings Center stimulates the desire to pursue becoming a Eucharist Minister. The retreat at home established a rootedness within my Hospice activities. There is no doubt it is where God is calling me at this time. I received serious attention and assistance from many when I struck my bottom in that hotel room in Toledo. It is time to give back. All for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.
Father Gerald Vann in ‘Divine Pity’ details dying to one’s self and the world within Jesus Christ not to be a renouncing and rejecting of the world, rather a deeper immersion into the world through faith, hope, and love. Father Vann utilizes Catherine of Siena as a loving example.
For it was Catherine who, after this ‘mystical death,’ became one of the most famous and the most powerful women of her century, endlessly active, Popes and princes, traveling, negotiating, issuing orders, determining policies, shaping the life of Christendom. What had intervened during her lengthy near death religious experience? She had learned the truth expressed in the words of the pseudo-Dionysius: Omnium divinorum divinissimum est cooperare Deo in salute animarum: of all divine things the most divine is to share with God in the saving of souls; she had begged Our Lord in ecstasy to take her back to her eternal home (to allow her to remain in death), and she had been reproached by Him—for her egoism. She had been taught by Him: “You cannot render me any service, but you can help your neighbor. The soul in love with My truth gives herself no rest but searches ceaselessly to help others. You cannot give back to Me Myself the love I demand, but I have put you beside your neighbor so that you may do for him which you cannot do for Me. What you do for your neighbor, then, I consider as being done for me.”
I received a sane, educated email from the ecclesiastical minister detailing our continued gathering after the culmination of ‘Arise’. I like the plain, simple, learned approach of her mind, the intentions of a woman able to humbly and easily adapt herself to communal life. Nothing strange, no visions, no spiritual superiority, nothing extravagant, no weirdness. It is becoming essential to my spiritual life, ways anchored within quiet still prayer, contemplative Adoration. Recently, I encountered a wonderful Vietnamese woman, a delight whenever we meet. She is always insisting everyone witness her supernatural photos of the Eucharist hovering about, and other incredible extra ordinary events she captures with her camera. Observing the photos, I noticed the beautiful Adoration chapel at St Clare was included in her supernatural wanderings. I pointed out how much I enjoyed the chapel, mentioning the statue of Mary. She became elated and excited, barely able to contain the abundance of words bursting forth. She told me of placing her hands in the hands of Mary, a motion of mercy I myself have practiced, and then Mary lifting her into the air and tossing her about. Mary raised her from the ground, rocking her back and forth, swinging her mightily, her hands glued to Mary’s while her feet flew to the right and then dramatically to the left. I could only laugh, and stammer ‘Oh my gosh’, while inside thinking with tickled cordial calmness ‘no, no, no, NO!!!’ Of course it is not a matter of believing or not believing her, rather being absolutely opposed to the necessity of supernatural events being a part of one’s spiritual life. St John of the Cross is adamant, as well as others, that the supernatural is not to be sought, nor to be romanticized. NOT at all!!! Anyway, back to the structured methodical ways of those I was blessed with through the ‘Arise’ gatherings. I am posting a part of her email:
I looked for the book that we were interested in. It is part of a series of four books entitled Why Catholic, based on the Catechism. The volume that most people were interested in was called Live: Christian Morality. The first six chapters, which we could cover by the end of June, “present the moral teachings of the Catholic faith, beginning with the Beatitudes and explore the principles of freedom and responsibility, conscience, virtues, morality, and grace.” The last six sessions, which focus on the Ten Commandments and their implications for Christian living, we could save for a later time.
Here is my email response: The program sounds interesting, fitting in well with a Father Gerald Vann book I have started titled ‘The Divine Pity’. I will see you next week. The cost of the book is no problem. A final note. The importance of the program for me is not introducing new ideas, expecting to learn things I have not been introduced to before, rather invigoration and enhancement, refined defining solidifying mature fellowship. And above all it is a practice in humility, not an opportunity to plague others will self-perceived brilliance, a crowd to bore with indulgent delusion–in reality establishing foes rather than friends. One must be careful and mindful moving forward in the spiritual life.
This is the opening page of my copy of Father Gerald Vann’s ‘Divine Pity’.
Saint Augustine’s Prayer
O Lord Jesus, let me know myself, let me know Thee and desire nothing but Thee alone.
Let me hate myself and love Thee; and take whatever happens as coming from Thee.
Let me humble myself and exalt Thee; and think of nothing but Thee alone.
Let me die to myself and live in Thee; and take whatever happens as coming from Thee.
Let me forsake myself and walk after Thee; and ever desire to follow Thee.
Let me flee from myself and turn to Thee; and so I may merit to be defended by Thee.
Let me fear for myself, let me fear Thee; and be among those who are chosen by Thee.
Let me distrust myself and trust in Thee; and ever obey for love of Thee.
Let me cleave to nothing but only to Thee; and ever be poor for the sake of Thee.
Look upon me, that I may love Thee.
Call me, that I may see Thee and forever possess Thee.
A translation of posted Spanish, the message sublime in savoring.
Unite the soul and God
There is an intimate union
As faith penetrates hope and love,
And hope penetrates faith and love,
And love is driven by faith and hope.
These are the virtues most important to the Christian life.
A strong morning of Holy Spirit inspiration, filling and overflowing. Last night, I ended the vacation retreat at home with dinner at Tasty Pizza on Mayfield with Jim Nagel, enjoying the Monday special of buying one pasta dinner and getting a second free. Gail from the Hospice ended up sleeping for thirteen hours, declining a dinner invitation. I was surprised to receive wonderful texts from her this morning expressing her disappointment, insisting we must do something this weekend to make up for the lost time. I perceived a lowering of defenses within the morning message. I trust her immensely, associating her with the Hospice in general. She is in upper management at the corporate office intriguing me with her interest and efforts. I am positive this is something a woman like her does not do easily, nor often if even ever. If I could speculate I think the women within the Hospice have been talking. I am stunned she knows my vigils, providing details regarding my Hospice efforts I had no idea she would be familiar with. It only makes me chuckle. I cannot deny that anything associated with the Hospice comes easily, conversation with her breezy and flowing. God is good and all giving. It seems a dating experience is being placed upon my platter. There are several things simmering right now, a project with Father Kevin keenly within focus. The vacation retreat proved enlightening in regards to formation, a defining through non-defining, allowing insight through the perception of ways not to be. There are many efficacious thoughts that do not need to be expressed. A loving and nurturing nature preceding forward. I do not need to be right, nor demonstrate destructively. Once again, I will end with admiration for the mindset and spirituality of Abbot William in the anchoring of his life within prayer. It is where I am able to properly place myself before God. I would like to say that it was broached that my efforts with the Hospice must be anchored in humility. I have no doubt regarding my authenticity, no inclination to justify myself, while appreciating all caution provided by others. One of the strongest, and most effective, attributes is my absolute insecurity when sitting with a patient. I become consumed with fear that my frailties and imperfections will become an obstacle,. My faults demand to be addressed, my thorns examined. I am able to focus upon the patient through the realization and acknowledgment of my sinful tendencies. I fear I am not enough, and therefor able to touch upon truth, for I am not enough. There is no illusion of holiness pushing me forward, rather a proper apprehension that God penetrates me to the core. A fear of God propels forward. I plead with God to use me not for my sake, not to reject me for my failings, rather to use me for the one lying awaiting his judgement. Mercy an overwhelming cry. I find God is using me, allowing me to say proper things, and behave in ways I could not do on my own. It is truly marvelous to experience.
What a strange and wonderful final afternoon of a vacation retreat at home. A whirlwind of activity, coalescing within Mass at St Paul Shrine. The initiative blossomed to attend the Mass as a Hospice scheduler, a pleasant woman of casual acquaintance, has insisted time after time that she would like to meet me for Mass at the Shrine. I was never clear how she knew I attended the Shrine, speculating the news made it her way through the trainer I am working with in regards to educating the Franciscan Third Order on volunteering opportunities. Mass at the Shrine immediately proved remarkable as word of Mother Angelica passing away on Easter Sunday flittered about. The extraordinary only multiplied as John the Hermit explained to me this man from the Shrine, Tony, was assisting him in repairs upon his car. Of course, I know Tony as he is Ann’s cousin. I have been imploring John to just pay to have the repairs done, yet he declares he can do the work himself. Finally, an obvious solution presented itself. Yesterday, Easter Sunday, a strange thing happened that I have been struggling with. Mary gave me a wonderful Easter Card, thanking me for all I do for her, for allowing her to accompany me on visits to the elderly. Her thirty year career, a life she cherished, involved caring for the elderly at nursing homes as a nursing assistant was revisited by taking her to see patients. She is very good with patients. They love her small, soft, gentle Oriental way. Yesterday, we prayed a Rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet with the favorite patient in Huntsford. The patient is so much better, although I see feeling better for her only means the opportunity to complain and scold the nursing home staff. Her words to me: ‘They treat me like a dog around here, kicking me all the time. Let’s go to my home and have some nice cold drinks’. I explained that would not be possible, and that the staff was only trying to help her. Mary was very good in calming her, telling her to tell all her complaints to the Virgin Mary, who would then personally take her sorrows to Our Lord. Anyway, back to the Easter Card from Mary, upon opening the gift I found a hundred dollar bill. I did not know what to do. I felt it was not proper, yet something told me not to give the money back. My first reaction was I must give the money immediately back to her. Hearing about John’s car trouble a light turned on. I mentioned my discomfort with the hundred dollars from Mary, informing him that now it was clear what to do with the money. I begged him to take the money and use it to fix his car. It all worked out beautifully. This all swirled around the visit of the Hospice worker, Gail, to the Shrine to attend Mass. Something is up there, something good, yet calling forth patience. I am not sure, desiring not to define. She is inviting, breaking forth in approaching me on a personal level, yet hesitant, obviously fighting with herself about matters. She wants to get together, then pulls back, and finally we shared Mass together, although she arrived late. We were unable to touch basis before Mass. I remain patient, pleased with her advance. Now we wait upon dinner tonight. We could not have lunch, since she had a doctor’s appointment. She learned she has a respiratory infection. Dinner tonight is contingent upon a nap, a registering of how she feels. I am honored she even considers, smiling internally. There amidst it all was Ann, eliciting so much forth it is best not to comment. Yet within it all is a tremendous respect and desire to have her a part of my life. There is such a strong attraction she has upon me. God is good and all giving. This has been a special Lent, and a blessed Easter retreat at home. I did not even mention an amazing bedside vigil yesterday, the woman passing away early this morning. Nor did I say anything on an incredible and efficacious morning session with Lilly my Spanish tutor. Once again, God is good and all giving.