It is 6:22 here and it is pitch black. No long, lingering twilight one gets in England occurs here in Malta.
I do not mind going out at night in Sliema, as the entire city is out and about at night. But, where I am renting an efficiency flat, there are stretches of scary places. I do not venture out after dark.
By the solstice, it will be dark at 5:00 p.m. Now, Sliema is just waking up at 5:00, but in Valletta and where I am, the darkness sneaks into the houses, shuts the doors, and all becomes quiet, except for the busy streets full of cars.
The roads in my neighborhood, after dusk, belong to the Cats of Malta. I have one at my backdoor now, as I fed it chicken last week and actually shared my McDonald's with it today. I am feeding slave to this cat.
Of course, now in the darkness, I miss Mouse, my little cat who adopted me in NC, and followed me around all the time I was outside, and waited by my cabin door for me to come out daily.
I miss Mouse, and would have it in a minute with me. Sigh. It is too expensive to ship a cat from SC to Malta, and the famous Cats of Malta may not accept an American cat.
Here is the latest photo of Mouse below. I do miss this intelligent and friendly cat. In the darkness of this evening, I am reminded of the darkness of the Dark Night, wherein God detaches me from all people, all places, all things, and, all pets.....
Raissa Maritain writes of detachment: "A process of detachment is taking place in my soul. It is becoming indifferent to the judgement of others. It jealously guards its own treasure. I think I ought to enter courageously on the way of solitude which is bitter to nature, but very salutary. To live with God alone To see only him in everything. To count for nothing what comes from men. For "every man is a liar" even when he is a very veracious person for he lies without meaning to when he disappoints someone who has placed some hope in him. He lies when he give purely human advice to someone who is asking for divine light. He lies when human prudence directs him in his counsels.
Only God does not lie. The soul, in the silence of prayer, conforms more and more to this divine veracity, to this integrity in which there is no guile.
Before God, the soul is utterly confident. If it is in fault, it knows that He wants to correct it and forgive it. If it asks for divine grace, for charity, for humility, it knows its heavenly Father will not give it stones instead of bread. Oh, that is the one thing necessary! To live open before God, to implore Him unceasingly to purify our heart. To make every effort not to let ourselves pass over anything: to keep our eyes well open to our defects, to our sins, to make a very strict confession of them.
How good it is to live in the sole desire to please God. As regards our neighbour, only one thing is good: the love which is charity."
Raissa speaks for me today as I sit in the dark and think of Mouse so far away.
"God, my God, have pity on me, allow me to live in your presence with an upright soul, wholly lifted towards You; a sincere soul, drinking in your sweet Veracity; a very humble soul, looking only to you for all its good. But a soul that also has great confidence in its Father's goodness, and receives the manifestations of Your Love as simple as a child."
I last read these words in 2004, ten years ago, and in 1984, before I got really busy with marriage and a child. In those early years, I aspired to be in this state of complete dependency on Divine Providence. God has brought me here and Bjorn has sent this book just at the right time to see how far I have come in these ten busy years. Malta is my place of detachment from all people and things I love the most.
Raissa has been my guide since 1979, when I first bought the book, her Journal. The discovery of this book and de Caussade's book on abandonment changed my life. But, as my son reminded me recently, I was busy about many things, working hard as a single mum, and maybe not as focused on pursuing perfection as I should have been.
God changed all that in 2002, when I had a death experience, and since then, the process has been slow, but steady. I learned to be open and generous with God. One needs a generous heart to follow God. When I got cancer in 2009, I had another chance to be generous with God. Again and again, He has called me to give up, give in, give all to Him.
Goodbye, Mouse. I miss you. Like all things, places, creatures, and people, I give you back to God.
To be continued....