Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Catholic Hermit of the Streets of Rome...and a Catholic Hermit Gaga

The Feast Day of St. Philip Neri was a couple days ago.  This saint is known for having instituted "The Oratory" [of St. Philip Neri] with its priests being called "Oratorians."  St. Philip Neri encouraged daily Mass, daily Communion...and daily confession. 

It is fact that he came to such a high degree of love of God, that his ribs physically grew out around his heart that enlarged to such an extent that when he prayed, it could be seen and heard beating from across a room.  Be assured, upon his death, St. Philip's heart was excised, his bent-out ribs examined, and the phenomenon was verified for all time.

A lesser known fact about St. Philip Neri is that when he first went to live in Rome, as a young man, he received a vocational call from God to be a hermit.  He spent his first 16 years (some documents cite 18 years) designated along with other eremitcs of  that time:  "Hermit of the Streets of Rome."  

St. Philip needed lodging, and he was offered a room in the home of a wealthy gentleman in exchange for tutoring his landlord's young son.  Few realize this saint, known mostly as the founder of The Oratory--a community of priests--and also for his gregarious and fun-loving personality, began his early adult years as a hermit.

Some men and women called by God to live the eremitic vocation are later called to other missions or additional vocations.  Consider this effect as a sapling with a strong, central leader, developing over time into a multi-branched tree, capable of holding numerous birds at once and multitudinous leaves. 
Yet other hermits live various vocations in the world early in life; but in later years are called by God to the hermit life.  Some have initial years of more solitude and less contact with people but later are enlisted by God with many people seeking the hermits' spiritual guidance and prayers. 

St. Philip Neri came to mind not only on his feast day, May 26, but also on May 27.  I had been called from my hermitage, Te Deum, with a request to watch over and teach a young boy's home-school curriculum.  My assignment was to be for three days, two at his home and the third day for him to come to the hermitage.  I was not called to tend and teach due to my vocation as a hermit, as my vocation is known to the parents but with no need of mention.  But I thought about the connectedness between a Philip Neri, a Catholic hermit and tutor, and Gaga, a Catholic hermit and tutor.

In fact, this Catholic hermit (and victim soul) is grandparent to the child and parent to the mother.  I was offered a new tool as gift for the teaching, but I decided against needing the tool so returned the money.  Rather, I enjoyed two nights of comfortable lodging in a home with a kitchen and bathroom,  a hot shower, a couple of hot meals, and was plied with $20 to help with transportation to and from their location.  

Tomorrow my grandson will come to Te Deum.  I told him to bring his work gloves and school books, both.  While only 7, he is quite capable.  We will do some planting, and a new hole for the latrine needs digging.  He loves to dig deep holes.  At times we discuss the spiritual and pray.  He knows his Gaga is a Catholic, is a Christian, but identity as a Catholic hermit is irrelevant for now.

Outwardly, as a named, known person, it seems unnecessary to "generally" identify as a Catholic hermit to those one knows or meets--unless a God-directed, specific need or reason.

The main purpose [thus far] in writing of this identified vocation is to anonymously chronicle a Catholic hermit's process and to serve as a motivating reminder and benchmark reflection, to this hermit's benefit.  If any others ever find or read the blog--hope it helps in whatever good for your life, be it Catholic, hermit, Christian, vocational or as a mere human, spiritual, soul.

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