921: "They manifest to everyone the interior aspect of the mystery of the Church, that is, personal intimacy with Christ. Hidden from the eyes of men, the life of the hermit is a silent preaching of the Lord, to whom he has surrendered his life simply because he is everything to him. Here is a particular call to find in the desert, in the thick of spiritual battle, the glory of the Crucified One."
Every so often I review the description of consecrated, eremitic life found in The Catechism of the Catholic Church. Just as the other day, I noticed anew the call to praise God (920).
Here, I highlight certain words. They mean something more to me now, like learning a new star constellation--one that now stands out more than before. Hermits are to manifest to everyone the interior aspect of personal intimacy with Christ.
I have explored doing this with more personal, intimate sharing of how His Real Pres- ence com- municates, loves, has mercy, guides, encourages and touches the soul in everyday life. The writing brings me a sense of peace, especially those experiences that have universal appeal in whatever message for any of us.
But some people may be put off by the personal sharing. It seems not the Catholic norm to share spiritual experiences of His Real Presence. I've pondered possibilities as to when the precedent for keeping our spiritual lives very private. Of course, it has not always been that way, or we'd not have the vast and detailed writings of others' spiritual experiences that inspire us in our spiritual journeys, generation by generation.
However, manifesting these is part of a hermit's job description--manifesting [making clear and obvious to the mind or eye] personal intimacy with Christ. It is to be a silent preaching, which can include overall lifestyle as well as writings.
Being hidden from the eyes of men presents some questions. How hidden? Should Catholic hermits not be part of a parish and not known as a hermit in a diocese or elsewhere, such as online? Would this not preclude hermits from Mass? What about the hermits of the early centuries and through the Middle Ages up to this time? Obviously, they were not hidden from the eyes of men or we'd not know about them. They would not have had "followers" nor would hermit-like religious orders have developed
Especially now, with public profession of vows as an option, hermits are rightly known as hermits in dioceses, and they are seen at Mass, just as privately professed hermits might be known to others as hermits, although that path of consecration can allow the option to not be known as a hermit to others.
I bring these questions to mind because I am praying to His Real Presence to enlighten me, and to do a little, hermit job-review. Am I currently living and honoring the hermit life that God has chosen for me and values very much (as reminded by my angel over 7 years ago)?
I have noticed religious hermits and others in videos. I tried it as a venue, but it has primarily allowed myself to be stripped and to see and hear as I really am. But, I suppose it would be similar to hermits of yore speaking to those who visit. In our time, people tend to visit through technology.
I have wondered if hidden means anonymous to the eyes of men? Technically, audible sharing is not silent preaching.... However, were not the early desert fathers and mothers ones who verbally shared and offered counsel when others asked them?
Obviously, they did not preach silently, as lovely and poetic as that turn of phrase sounds. Perhaps it is meant to emphasize the vital aspect of silence and solitude, so vital in a hermit's daily life and of which provides the stricter separation from the active life and the noisy world.
Yes, silence is a vital aspect of hermit life, and it ought to be a part of any Christian's life, for it is in listening to God in silence that we become aware, all the more, of His Real Presence having made his abode in us.
As for me, I am not so much inclined to continue the videos unless I have additional direction from my spiritual father or His Real Presence to do so. I feel adequately stripped and humbled, and see myself raw and unedited.
But the writing, yes. As for being more open in actual, face-to-face encounters with people, I think not. No one needs to know who I am or that I am a hermit, in person, other than a handful of closest friends--and only then to establish for myself, really, a means to fulfill the silence aspect and a stricter separation from the world, and my rule.
Since my rule of life is the Gospel Rule with the Nine S' as the platform of Gospel living, whether or not I am a Catholic hermit is an unnecessary point of information to those around me. In my writing it seems valid. Manifesting personal intimacy in Christ includes aspects of the Nine S': Silence, Solitude, Slowness, Suffering, Selflessness, Stability, Simplicity, Stillness and Serenity.
As for any Christian--not just hermits--we surrender all to Him for He means everything to us (or should!). But key for the hermit is that this is a particular call in the desert--culled out and apart from much of the world--to find the glory of Christ crucified. For a hermit, the call to this vocation as one in the "desert" is a defining aspect as opposed to how every Christian ought live. As for finding the glory of the Crucified One, again, all Christians are called to this, not just hermits.
The desert can take various forms, literal, symbolic, metaphoric, yet has certain, common features. But one can read elsewhere about that.