To this day, I can very much sense the presence of the angels in the hermitage and on Holy Souls Mountain, especially when departing or arriving. I think we can all recognize the presence of the angels, which is very much like the presence of Christ. That presence of Jesus is to be noticed as that bond of charity in all friendship which is stable amidst the ever-changing myriad of circumstances, so that we recognize that it is in Him that we live and move and have our being, although we are, at the same time, taking in by way of our senses all that which is presented to us in this world provided to us with such tender solicitation for our welfare.
Unchanging stability on the one hand, ferociously changing, must be taken care of circumstances on the other. Add to this our weakness before His strength, and we have the extreme sport of life, no? Rather mirthful, in the Chestertonian sense. The joy of the Holy Spirit. We are just so inept, but He holds us close to His Heart. I love that. The angels, of course, want nothing more than to encourage us to be in all out reverence before Jesus, what I call humble thanksgiving. Angels, mind you, are rather ferocious, and are patient with us only inasmuch as they see the work of our Lord within our lives.
With them around, we are reminded that we really, really, really want to be about doing the will of our Lord in our lives, staying away from sin, and being an ever simple child of God. Are we wretched as infernal hell without grace? Sure. And it is in knowing that that the joy of the Holy Spirit is all that much more enhanced. We know more just how good and just how kind Jesus is.
Meanwhile, Laudie is having a good time of it, watching me take a picture of her below the wood stove on a particularly icy-cold day. I suppose that she put on her donkey ears in order to enjoy listening to the fire crackle and pop just above her. A rather comforting noise, that. I’m wrong, of course. She’s ever attentive to noises outside, and jumps to attention wanting to go out at the first sign of possible trouble, like little branches burdened with ice breaking off and falling to the ground. And out she goes in full protection mode. Dogs, along with everything else, are a sign of God’s love for us.
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Meanwhile again, with the whole heavenly court all about on Holy Souls Mountain, and right in the hermitage (just as they are everywhere, interceding for us all, especially those like me who are sinners), I am reminded of sitting in the back of a chapel, in the corner, in the dark shadows, not to be seen, in an ever so ancient monastery in Italy very many years ago. The chapel was in two parts, separated by a massive iron grille, behind which was the choir for the cloistered nuns. One of the nuns had a habit (sorry for the pun), when she was looking for another nun, of racing through the choir, from one side to the next, calling out, “C’è nessuno?” which means, “Is there nobody here?” hardly waiting for an answer, but racing on her way. I wanted Jesus in the tabernacle to startle her one day by saying to her, “Yes, I AM here.” Yikes! A good lesson that would be for all of us, no?
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Today is the day after the ice-storm. No power lines down, but there is still ice everywhere, at least in these parts of the mountains. I went out to let the chickens out, and to throw them a bit of scratch feed to get them going for the day. As I looked in wonder at the icy beauty around me… CRASH!!! There I was, in a heap, sliding down Holy Souls Mountain just a bit, scratch feed everywhere. Hah! A good lesson, that.
We are all in danger of falling into sin one way or another at any time. We start not paying so much attention to Jesus, how He is drawing us to Himself, and because of that, with less agility of soul, we start not to recognize how we are paying too much attention to anything and everything apart from Jesus. CRASH!!! A fall. And we wondered how that happened. And then it is time for confession.
Today’s Saturday, a good day for confession in a church not far from you. Spend a little time with Jesus. He is there. He is Someone. He does love us. The angels are encouraging us. If your priest has made time to hear confessions, encourage him by going to confession. You might just save his soul in doing so.
Meanwhile, yet again, I am reminded of a horrific ice storm in Lourdes, when I was a chaplain some years ago. I was headed down to hear confessions when… CRASH!!! Down I went. And I was paying attention! We can be just that inept, that weak. And then, crash and crash and crash again. Fully five times. No broken bones, but I was a total wreck by the time I got to the confessions chapel. I was wishing I had had some ice-cleats. But, in the spiritual life, there’s nothing that can help us like Jesus Himself grabbing us and lifting us up. The sun came out in Lourdes, and all was well again. Jesus also shines on our souls, and then we rejoice exceedingly.