This nothing Catholic hermit is so very grateful for those who read its thoughts. Thank you, readers!
Prayers and blessings to you on this Ash Wednesday! May we all recognize the nothing we are and the All that He Is.
While what this Catholic hermits writes and shares is not profound nor erudite, nor intellectual nor critical with temporal information that changes the face of the hermit vocation, the sharing is hopefully adaptable to your life situations whether or not hermit or other. Or, it may even be very good as a means of seeing what not to do, how not to be, and stirs your minds to far better living out in superior ways to the often trial-and-error strivings of this hermit.
It is true that living as a hermit with others about, or to be noticed and known to others as a hermit, or to have a superior near at hand--is quite helpful in order to be corrected quickly or even to be more motivated to strive to live up to a standard so that others will not be disappointed or to see a hermit-error lived out. St. John Climacus points out the benefit to such hermits who live more among others for this definite advantage in keeping up hermit appearances--in a good way.
As for the solitary hermit (such as this nothing Catholic hermit is, especially these past nearly two years), the margin of error is increased! It knows, for it has noticed the difference from even when it was able to go to Mass daily and receive the criticism of others, or the disapproval of priests, or even the kindly encouragement of its spiritual father.
This other--the more hidden, solitary Catholic hermit life--is much more difficult in the living out. The nothing Catholic hermit can wallow about for lengths of time, while the will struggles to build some strength from the inside out. Or it can start up some marvelous devotion only to falter...and then try to start again, yet slack again.
The ego tends to collapse in a vacuum, not so much being around people, for who is there to notice how devout or how holy. Is that the hermit over there? Did you know so-and-so is a hermit? I think a hermit should look and act like thus-and-so....
And indeed, then the more visible and known hermit might be encouraged to pull itself up in order to not disappoint the others, or for whatever other reason--perhaps to avoid shame if the hermit is not living up to its vows that well. Or the hermit might try to seem more adept at being a good hermit as it sincerely realizes others are looking and expect the more visible-to-others hermit to be specially good--based on those others' own notions of hermits--valid notions or not. Being inspired and motivated by others can truly be helpful in spurring a hermit (or any pilgrim) onward in this journey.
But in the very solitary life of a nothing Catholic hermit, there is none of that. It is only His Real Presence who sees, other than what the solitary might report to its earthly spiritual father. "Only?" do you ask? But the nothing Catholic hermit who is private and solitary, indeed has only God alone as witness and guide, encourager and enforcer. And His Real Presence tends not to be forceful but instead is gentle, merciful, meek, humble, and ever so patient. He allows the solitary hermit to crawl and doze, to stumble and also to pick itself up again. He allows it to run, as well, including running away from the hard parts of self-discipline and sacrifice and self-renunciation.
But the solitary nothing Catholic hermit sticks with it, and that is by His grace. His Real Presence strengthens through weakness, teaches through suffering, and encourages with unending love. After awhile, the solitary nothing Catholic hermit learns to not need the esteem or glances of others, nor the expectations of priests or parishioners, nor the understanding of family in order to be motivated or to strive, to pick itself up over and over and to simply keep going.
Cannot a risk of being a very solitary hermit [these distinctions come from saints of yore who are considered by the Church for centuries as experts in the field] include failing altogether in one's vocation? Perhaps so. We really do not know of failures because those who have been very solitary hermits, not living among others as much, can remain unknown other than to God, long after their passing. But of the ones we do know through others having met them to report, or through their own writings, we learn that while their paths are quite challenging with missteps along the way, God never abandoned them even if it sometimes it seemed so to the hermit.
These other more solitary types of hermits of the past told or wrote of their experiences--the failures allowed by God and the triumphs graced by God--and over time endured in solitude. This current, aspiring, very solitary, nothing Catholic hermit is slowly learning to desire only to please His Real Presence Who does not expect other than abiding in His Love, from His beloved-even-if-misfit, nothing Catholic hermit.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another! Remain in His Love! Thank you again for the prayers of any sorts or types offered and for whatever touch of love we have one to another, through the personal thoughts expressed in this blog. Much gratitude also for the readers from foreign countries who touch this hermit's heart from a distance. God bless you all!