A friend emailed, stating that another online blogger is "a cancer" to this nothing Catholic hermit. Others have noted the differing styles of writing, the differing paths in the hermit vocation, and they are angered by many of the suggestions made, the slights, the insults, the negative inferences toward their friend. They come up with reasons why this person would behave in such manner, none too positive.
Of course, the hermit's friends want others to see this nothing hermit as they do, knowing it as they perceive it. But their perceptions, even if personal knowledge over years, can be skewed. There is nothing quite like having a persistent critic, for otherwise a hermit (or anyone) can feel just too fine and dandy about itself.
However, the nothing hermit responded to the friend's comment that the other person is a cancer, not doing any good. But nothing Catholic hermit has come to love this other person, for it has come to grasp how beneficial to be put down, defiled, defamed, de-whatever'd. Rather, this hermit is the cancer to that other one. Why and how?
Well, this hermit has obviously gotten under the skin of the other to the point of causing frustration, irritation, repetitive refuting. Someone even commented the other wrote about wanting to physically shake this nothing Catholic hermit, not that there is much of worth or substance to shake.
Nothing Catholic hermit explained the love it holds for this other person, for if nothing negative about the nothing hermit is written, implied, inferred--there would not be the examination of conscience nor the self-questioning, nor the opportunity to experience what Christ and all the spiritual masters of the past centuries say is a blessing, a means of spiritual growth.
In fact, in yet another step described by John Climacus in The Ladder of Divine Ascent, a positive function of hermits or religious living among one another, such as in a monastery, or those who live with two or three others, is that of providing insults, slights, challenges, trials, and confrontation to one they find irritating for whatever reason.
In this nothing Catholic hermit's case, the Lord has called this hermit, for now, upon a path of intense solitude and silence. The days can be met with tremendous trials of utmost frustration, of temptations to hopelessness, of feelings of being repeatedly raped by those in the world who have taken advantage financially and in working situations. In such conditions, also, if all went well, the mind would turn toward pride and feelings that it had somehow achieved some level of goodness or holiness.
There is no one physically here in Te Deum Hermitage to provide the criticism that can be of such benefit! There is no one physically here to deride and doubt this nothing Catholic hermit's vocation, or mental status, or pain level, or spiritual experiences, or sinfulness. So, having another, from a distance, provide the criticisms, doubts and questioning, is just what this nothing Catholic hermit needs!
That is why it is so thankful and blessed, and feels the criticisms well-deserved. For one thing, this nothing hermit expresses its life in candor, as a type of case-study, a chronicle of its life as a consecrated Catholic religious eremitic. Sometimes, the life chronicle can be filled with current despairs, or demonic trickery and assaults, or consolations, or self-doubts, or spiritual gifts, or exultations of love of His Real Presence.
The review and criticism by another is a welcomed asset in the hermit's spiritual life. For another thing, it assists with humility and the reality that a hermit ought never be assured of its being secure on the narrow path, or on the narrow path at all.
Consecrated eremiticism is a vocation of unique and individualized training and leading by His Real Presence; and perhaps the best one can do is to expect the unexpected, and that includes suffering as well as all the trials that the books of the hermit saints of yore have written and left for us as helps along the way.
Yes, by these classic writings of those holy by learned, wise, and earned experience, we can better identify that we are not experiencing anything worse or different or better than any other who God has called to the solitary life of praise, prayer, and penance, in deep and abiding love of Him and all His creation.
That this nothing Catholic hermit is the awful cancer to the other, is yet another indication of how dreadfully this nothing presents its thoughts and experiences. It is true that the writing in this blog leaves much to be desired, and it pales to others' writing, and especially to others' virtuous and vocational lives. But that is all part of the journey, for this hermit here, who feels sorry that it has become a cancer to the other, as it has been a cancer to people of the past--evidently an annoyance to priests, parishioners, family members, friends, and strangers!
The nothing Catholic hermit never intends to be a cancer, nor to get under the skin of others, and does not realize its cancerous effect until pointed out by others, or is told by the persons themselves sickened by this nothing Catholic hermit.
However, all that can be offered is an apology, but also a debt of gratitude, for without others despising and trying to correct by criticism or any other means, this nothing Catholic hermit's flaws, a major element of spiritual growth would be lacking.
In the next step that John Climacus describes on the ladder to holiness, that of realizing and accepting that one deserves all the ill will and trials it receives, is explained as a necessary good. Love can seem tough; love can seem as if it hurts.
Those who feel called to chastise, question, and criticize others are sincerely fulfilling their good work of providing a form of chemotherapy on the likes of this (or any) cancerous, nothing Catholic hermit.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another and remain in His Love!