Robin on window sill
We have probably all heard of the word, BLISS, in connection with some marvelous spiritual attainment which somehow transcends our natural state of awareness, bringing us into the realms of the great beyond. Although I have no doubt that such momentary experiences are genuine, for this post, I prefer to address that state of bliss which can be known in the here and now. Even by, and maybe more especially by, people with extreme physical challenges. A Bliss of Quality, largely unknown by people blessed with good health. A Bliss found in what I call, a moment in-between…
A moment in-between…an all night bout with pain that ceases, for some inexplicable reason, just before dawn, and just long enough to see the sun rising outside one’s window before it returns.
A moment in-between…. a sleepless night’s end, when suddenly a bird sings and the world outside falls silent, as if all sirens and traffic all over the world have stopped to listen.
A moment in-between….the waiting room and the next Test, when the doctor says he made a mistake and you’re ok and can go home.
For myself and maybe many of us with chronic disabilities and illness, Bliss is never really a matter of some long duration of time away from our illness, but rather the Quality of those simple moments in time, when everything just stops, in the face of an eternal present, and we know from deep within the center of our being That God IS…
Todays e-Course Lesson asks us about the Weeds that have insinuated themselves into our Spiritual Gardens where Christ alone is meant to dwell with us. The most threatening of these weeds for those challenged by illness and pain is the Belief in our own isolation; a seed sewn in our garden by the Evil One and his only real power against us… the Lie! The one he most often uses because of its effectiveness as a weapon that especially assaults those set apart by illness such as ourselves. He knows he cannot touch us because we belong to God. But he is permitted to enter our thoughts.
TODAY – Let us pluck this weed immediately through calling upon the Name of the Lord!! Our Faith is not in lies, but in the Truth of the power of God to crush the head of this father of Lies and ground him into the very desert dust where he belongs! Praise God!
Psalm 91 – Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Blessings and Peace
+a Disciple of Jesus (HHC)
Lesson Transcript Below
In this phase of our growing a Rule of Life, we are focusing on your relationship to yourself. There are some wonderful words in the prophecy of Isaiah: “You are precious in my sight and honored and I love you.” We have been created by the love of God, for the love of God, in the love of God. This is what God is up to, and God is up to in your life. This is how God is operating, so cooperate. Cooperate with how God is operating in your life. How you love yourself will make a world of difference in how you relate to others. It will set the bar for how you relate to others. Loving yourself is so important. You’re worth it.
Some of us have qualifiers. Some of us have had “weeds” sown into the ground of our being, which may go all the way back to childhood and they’ve never been eradicated from the garden of our soul. I have got some drive inside of me that says “should” a lot. I should be able to get this done, I should be able to do this, I should be able to perform or complete something at a certain level – and I seldom get to that level. And for me what I get in touch with is some weeds that go way back, which I have not yet completely eradicated, and for which often times I need help with fellow gardeners to be able to live a whole life and really, really bloom.
– Br. Curtis Almquist
Hermits of St.Giles
I had an appointment today with the dentist to have two teeth pulled both abscessed, happy to see them go. My neighbor was to take me but canceled on account of the weather. So I called a cab and as usual they arrived at the last minute. The dentist is close only about a quarter mile from my house. The procedure went smooth. I called the cab to go home and was told they were busy and it would be at least an hour. I felt the prompting to simply walk home. As a kid I loved to talk in the woods when it was snowing. So I set off, took it slow and offered up the pain to Our Lord. If he could walk to Calvary carrying a heavy cross, beaten half to death I could get my self home. I said “The Jesus Prayer” most of the way. At about the half way point the mailman stopped and asked me what I thought I was doing and if I was crazy? I replied I was walking home from the dentist and had been crazy for some time. He could not offer me a ride as it is illegal to have a passenger and he could get into serious trouble. There are plenty of telephone poles and trees to lean on. This was the longest I have walked in some time. I got home exhausted but happy I had made it. Knowing that Our Lord can take even our most feeble efforts and make them into gold when offered through Our Blessed Mother. Tomorrow I will question the crazy part when today really takes effect. But for now I have hot tea and a fuzzy belly that needs rubbing…the cats not mine. It struck me that as we enter into Lent and cross our desert with Jesus, be it sand or snow we truly never walk alone.
May Our Lord Bless and Keep You-
All My Love-
“Taking control” of our lives is often associated with freedom and independence. However, when one finds himself in the grip of disability and illness, control is the first gift that is sacrificed. Control is relinquished with great suffering at the heart of our emotions. We loose a great deal of our independence and our freedom. Our will is humbled. Our pride sliced in half by the invisible sword, not because we have deserved it, but because we have been chosen. Those who suffer from long term illness and disability have received the privileged gift of being a spiritual warrior if we choose to accept it. Our broken bodies and/or our broken minds are offered up for the good of our soul and dare I say it for all of humanity. God always comes with good purpose and good intent especially when it is veiled in brokenness. He calls the broken to be leaders on this journey of life. Our leadership is not to be found on the physical plane but more on the spiritual plane. St. Paul pleads with Christ Jesus three times to spare him of his affliction. Christ says to Paul however, “My grace is sufficient for you, Paul.” (2Cor ch12v8) Many commentators have argued over the years just what type of affliction Paul had. They came to the conclusion that it was an affliction to his eyes. After his encounter with the Christ, the Anointed One, Paul was blinded for three days. Just as Christ Jesus was entombed for three days so too was Paul entombed in darkness for three days. (Acts ch9v9) It was the power of Christ Jesus through the hands of Peter that the scales fell from his eyes and his sight was restored. The broken are called to show those who are struggling in this world the strength of God’s compassion, love and mercy. God’s healing shines through the brokenness of our bodies. We do not “put the light that shines from a lantern under a bushel basket, but place it on a lamp stand that all may see from its brightness.” (Matt ch5 v15) We were chosen by God. We would not usually chose to be disabled or suffer a long term illness, for brokenness always yearns to be made whole. I found myself fighting against my reality of disability and suffering for many years. But for my spirit, the part of my being that lasts forever, I saw the physical brokenness as weakness. But, in fact, it is just the opposite. Brokenness is strength in the eyes of God. When the soldier pierced the side of Christ Jesus blood and water began to flow from His side and the Church, the family of God, took root and bloomed. All was made whole in this, the greatest act of brokenness and lose of control. What does it mean that “all was made whole” when all we see around us is brokenness in our physical world? When we begin to view our world through the eyes of the spirit we begin to live in the eternal. We see the eternal within the brokenness of our disability and within the suffering that accompanies it. The disabled and the long suffering are indeed warriors of the spirit. We are chosen out of the many to lead in spiritual warfare. Maybe today is the day you pick up your sword and ride into the realms of the spirit where all will be made whole again. Remember, there is purpose in disability, in long term-illness. There redemptive qualities reside in the realm of the spirit and the corporeal works of mercy. If you question the reason why you are disabled or are suffering so much with illness contemplate the spirit. Your answers might just be found and you too become a spiritual warrior.
Pax et Bonum,
Hermits of St. Giles