Hidden with Christ in God

“[The hermit’s] chief function in the Church is not to celebrate the liturgical mysteries so much as to live, in silence and alone, the mystery of the Church’s life ‘hidden with Christ in God’ (Col. 3: 3). … The heightened sense of unity in Christ is the source of the hermit’s ‘Eucharistic’ spirit and the fountain head of his thanksgiving.” ~Thomas Merton, The Silent Life


The Charism of Contemplation

“The fraternal life, understood as a life shared in love, is an eloquent sign of ecclesial communion. It is practiced with special care in Religious Institutes and in Societies of Apostolic Life, where community living acquires special significance. Nor is the dimension of fraternal communion alien…even to forms of the consecrated life lived individually. Hermits, in their profound solitude, do not withdraw from ecclesial communion but serve that communion by their specific charism of contemplation.” ~Pope St. John Paul II, Vita Consecrata, #42.

Our Spiritual Life Depends Upon God’s Initiative

“Every single action of our spiritual life depends upon God for its initiation and performance; the very preservation of our life depends upon His providence, and the final success of our efforts calls for a special grace called the grace of final perseverance. Some of these graces God gives us without our asking, for our Lord is always making intercession for us, and we have a Mother in heaven who is concerned in every good that comes to us—and the first of all graces must come without our request; but there are other graces, even necessary ones, that He will not give unless we ask Him to do so. It is true that He already knows our needs, but it is not to inform Him of them that He wishes us to ask, but rather to inform ourselves of our need of Him, so that we may acknowledge Him as the source of good, and that while teaching us to have confidence in Him, He may prevent us from taking Him for granted.” ~Dom Eugene Boylan, THIS TREMENDOUS LOVER

The hermit is simply a pioneer

“The hermit is simply a pioneer … in the way of the desert which the whole of humanity must follow of necessity one day, each one according to his measure and his desire. This eremitical vocation is to be found in embryo in every Christian vocation, but in some it must be allowed to come to its full flowering in the wind of the Spirit. It is not enough to affirm that the thing is good in itself, it is necessary that the Church and society do something, so that this life may be realizable, so that each may at least touch it, be it only with the tip of his little finger.” ~ Excerpt from: Allchin, A.M. Solitude and Communion: Papers on the Hermit Life

Separated from all and united to all

The charisma of the solitary life is to express openly this interior aspect of the mystery of the Church, its intimate and personal relationship with Christ, a sharing in his passion and his glory. In the heart of the Church, therefore, the life lived by hermits is exposed to the Spirit, by whose power their gifts are made fruitful in their fullness for everyone. In the measure that they allow the Spirit free action in themselves, ascetics are enabled to intercede for others, to whom they already manifest on earth the presence of the kingdom of God.

For solitaries, the words of St Antony, the father of hermits, become a living reality: ‘My life is with my neighbour.’ So solitaries are in the forefront of the fray, with no other arms than prayer and penitence. Although alone, they are one with all people who labour to hasten the coming of the kingdom. They are, according to Evagrius, ‘separated from all and united to all.’ ~Excerpt From: Allchin, A.M. “Solitude and Communion: Papers on the Hermit Life (Fairacres Publications).”

Pain is Mandatory, Misery is Optional

Expect that you will have sorrow, and that you will suffer injustice: expect this, and it won’t shatter your faith. Believe firmly that all your joy is with Christ, and you will be able to bear it if other sources of joy prove temporary, or are never found at all. And keep in mind that our sins assist the evil one and contribute to the world’s ongoing tragedy, so it is fitting that we bear part of the resulting burden.

Jesus said, “In the world you have tribulation.” You will, he promises; just take a deep breath, and accept it. In this world, pain will visit everyone sooner or later.

But Jesus didn’t stop with that thought. He went on, “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). Pain is inevitable, but it is also temporary, and that alone is a comforting thought. Pain is mandatory, but misery is optional.”~Frederica Mathewes-Green, The Jesus Prayer, p. 52-53.

Father’s Day 2015: In Praise of Fathers

Let us praise those fathers who have striven to balance the demands of work, marriage, and children with an honest awareness of both joy and sacrifice. Let us praise those fathers who, lacking a good model for a father, have worked to become a good father.

Let us praise those fathers who by their own account were not always there for their children, but who continue to offer those children, now grown, their love and support. Let us pray for those fathers who have been wounded by the neglect and hostility of their children.

Let us praise those fathers who, despite divorce, have remained in their children’s lives. Let us praise those fathers whose children are adopted, and whose love and support has offered healing.

Let us praise those fathers who, as stepfathers, freely choose the obligation of fatherhood and earned their step children’s love and respect. Let us praise those fathers who have lost a child to death, and continue to hold the child in their heart.

Let us praise those men who have no children, but cherish the next generation as if they were their own.

Let us praise those men who have “fathered” us in their role as mentors and guides.

Let us praise those men who are about to become fathers; may they openly delight in their children.

And let us praise those fathers who have died, but live on in our memory and whose love continues to nurture us. ~Kirk Loadman

When Everything Points To God

“When you believe that babies and bread can be God, then adventure permeates all reality. It’s a perspective we tend to lose sight of as we age, but the Church trumpets it perpetually and makes it happen. Creation is a sacrament, people are Jesus, and everything points to God—there’s no escape, but why would we want to escape?” ~Richard Becker, from his article Why I Remain a Catholic. Richard blogs at God-Haunted Lunatic

Feeling the Love of God

“None of us feels the true love of God until we realize how wicked we are. But you can’t teach people that – they have to learn by experience.” ~ Dorothy Sayer