Finally took a small tin of St. Bernard Love of God Bourbon Balls to the monks nearby in thanks for bringing me aspirin one morning when needed it in order to go a distance to get stronger meds in civilization. Bad spinal headache, but not as bad as this past week, that is for sure!
The abbot had one of the priests give tour of their grounds. We talked of our shared experience with losing thousands of dollars to contractors. He said he felt so terrible because he thought he had been so careful and researched and trusted, then lost their money. Well, that was a shared experience down to the details.
The abbot offered again invitation to their Sunday morning service, with a "come as you are" statement, no doubt observing the paint stained jeans and old shirt. Some day that will change if live long enough and get the place fixed enough to have a closet.
The priest who showed the grounds also conversed. We spoke of the hermit vocation, and he shared of their times in the day of prayer, the Hours, as is called. They do not do them rigidly always at set times, other than early morning and evening are more feasible to have set times. And, they double a couple of the "hours" due to other work and efforts needing their attention, being two priests and a monk. There are three cells with another building with a room for a novice. One was there, but had not found his vocation to be a monk or priest.
Then mentioned the issue of coming to grips with this nothing Catholic hermit's vocation seeming to now be moving in a far more austere manner, and accepting this. Mentioned the parish life conundrum, as well as the disconnect with parish priests, as well as their seeming fear or concerns with the mystical state during Mass.
None of this phased Fr. P. of the monastery. He said emphatically that God is just showing that hermits are not intended for parishes, and parishes are not the place for hermits. He added that parish priests and most diocesan personnel also do not have much background in the eremitic life, not as it truly has been lived historically, other than a notion here or there that may or may not have accuracy-- but not the deeper grasp of the hermit vocation.
Thus, it is best for hermits to have some sharing at times with other hermits who are like-minded, and living our vocations with God guiding and not struggling with those who do not have this vocation, and thus also do not have experience to be giving advice or counsel.
In under an hour of viewing the grounds which took little time but noticed many books we share on our shelves, and found tremendous peace in their chapel, the conversation resulted in peace and calm. The Lord is kind and merciful. He had to reach in yet again and affirm His will be done, by yet another, and this time hermit priests who have been living the life for decades, to assure that now it is time to fully embrace this hermit vocation and do not enter in again to the parish realm.
There is a place to possibly worship, now, on Sundays, and on occasion may join them for Vespers if call in advance. By evening, this Catholic hermit is usually very worn out and in bed with dusk. And in the desert, dusk arrives earlier and earlier as we enter into the weeks toward the end of this liturgical year.
The hermit priest did say that on Sunday mornings, anywhere from five to 15 come for service, but usually the fewer number. After services, they have a shared meal in their community room. They observe Communion fast from midnight on, as will this Catholic hermit. Used to do that, anyway. A good meal once a week has its blessed appeal. But if am in pain and cannot get up in time for their early morning service, that is fully understood.
Yes, Fr. P. (a priest in his later years) said it is time now for this one, solitary hermit, to fully accept the evolving hermit vocation into its austerity and silence and solitude. He laughed when we discussed how this hermit has more quiet than do they, for they get calls from people wanting to visit their monastery and are known more publicly, even if a very small monastery. Am encouraged. Was not expecting such encouragement and PEACE.
It's an odd thing. This morning, early, was coming, within the deeper self, to the words that one must be true to His Real Presence deep inside--trusting, trusting--no matter what others may think or how they criticize. Sometimes there is no explaining to others, possible; and one has simply to trust in God and not doubt what He is ordaining through circumstances.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another, for love is of God!