Saturday, March 21, 2015

Catholic Hermit: Effect of Noise and Activity

For a consecrated Catholic hermit, the institutes of the Catholic Church stipulate a stricter separation or withdrawal from the world in silence and solitude, among some other specifications.  But to take the silence and solitude, as an example, a hermit can realize the effects of noise and activity after having lived the hermit life for several years.

Four days were spent in civilization.  Of the four, three were spent in quiet, with two family members.  The hermit remained mostly in their home, helping out with some manual labor and in loving rapport.  Three or four times the hermit assisted by running an errand, taking one of the family members to a couple activities, and joined in on a third activity.

The effect of the activities that placed the hermit among several others, even if in contained settings, is notable.  In each, the hermit found itself focusing on a book, or one of the family members, or in a conversation (cell phone) such as with the spiritual father, long-distance.  Without realizing, the hermit needed to eliminate the external stimuli of the temporal world.  The hermit is no longer used to the noise, the distractions, the outer activities, great numbers of souls embodied and busy with every day life.

The temporal world has its very good aspects.  It is marvelous to live an active life in the lay vocations of marriage and single life.  Families are blessed; the activities of a loving family are necessary for socialization, development of skills and talents, and to prepare for a career.  God's created world and all the lovely people in it, are cause for celebration and joy.  Live life to the full!

But for one called to the eremitic life, and for one who has been living that life for several years of praise of God, assiduous prayer and penance, of stricter separation from the world in silence and solitude--returning to the other is much like being dunked into icy-cold water when not conditioned to it.

This nothing Catholic hermit considers St. Bruno.  After a few years living what would later be known as the Carthusian life, as a hermit who had been a priest teaching at university in Cologne, Germany in 11th century--he was called to leave the silence and solitude of the Grande Chartreuse to assist the pope in Rome.  As soon as Bruno could, he finished what was requested by the pope.  Bruno established a charterhouse in Italy in similar format to the first charterhouse in France. There he lived out his hermit life, separated from the world in praise of God, prayer and penance, in silence and solitude.

For this Catholic hermit, the final day in civilization was spent in a skating arena.  A family member participated in speed skating races.  The hermit found itself focusing, of course, on the family member during his events, and otherwise observed a few people from time to time.  But mostly it withdrew silently into the soul, alone with God in thoughts of praise and love of the strangers all about.  It also pondered family members and friends, prayerfully and lovingly--those dotted throughout the country and around the world, past and present, living in the world and living in eternity.

Now and then, however, the noise and activity became such that the hermit's chronic pain increased so as to distract from the ability to be stilled within.  Then, the hermit would go to the truck to rest--even dozed for awhile.  One of the family members inside the skating arena signalled with cell phone when the skater began warm-ups for the next race.  A couple other times the hermit retreated to the out-of-doors, where traffic noise and people coming and going seemed minimal in comparison to the enclosed arena, where a couple hundred, kinetically charged people, were confined.

Therein were the racers, their families and friends, the announcers on loud speakers, and skating officials.  Four large screens mounted on the walls across from where onlookers stood and sat, displayed three different television cable stations' programs--national college basketball playoffs, a national skating event somewhere, a reality show.  Music blared constantly, as well.  Some in the gallery, watching skaters in the arena, also spoke on cell phones, texted, engaged with electronic tablets, or played tech games.  Little children played with toys or chased one another about; the snack bar had a constant line of hungry participants and observers, both.

Today the hermit is exhausted.  The pain level is high for various reasons.  A certain aspect of the increased pain and weariness is the shock in contrast to a life otherwise of praise and prayer:  of stricter separation from the world, in silence and solitude.

Amazing how the body, mind, heart, and soul adapt to a way of life.  Even a temporary change to the marvelous world with its people and noise and activities--nothing evil about it but busy!--can have quite an effect on a hermit.

Does the hermit have an effect on the persons busy in the world, doing what they do as part of their own vocations? Had not considered this aspect until just now while writing. Surely the presence of the hermit--not visible as a hermit by any external garb, items, or symbols--had some effect just as each and every soul has an effect upon its environment, people in their surroundings, and all of God's creation.

Even if alone in a hermitage, such as now, the bee that has come into the room via the attic space above, senses the hermit as does the hermit sense the bee.  At some point, the hermit will get its very pained body up and out of bed, open the window, and use a prod to guide the bee outside where it can better live its own vocation, its own purpose in life here on God's created earth.

A hermit who on occasion or for specific events, for charity's sake, re-enters the noise and activity of the world and the dear people in the world, ought keep in mind that its hermit life goes with it, despite the environmental altering.  The praise and prayer, the penance, continue yet are unnoticed outwardly.  The silence and solitude continues, despite being challenged.

This nothing Catholic hermit is reminded of the inspiration of--was it just two weeks ago?--to "Go with God's flow."  Yes, the noise and activity in the beautiful, busy aspects of the world affect the hermit's pain level and energy.  So today the hermit must rest and recover physically.  Physical pain affects the mind and emotions, and the mind and emotions affect the soul.  Time to go with God's flow:  through Him, with Him, in Him.

The work of making running water feasible in the hermitage is put off to another hour, or day.  Perhaps it will take all effort to carry in the 2x4's from the truck and to unload the pine tongue-in-groove ceiling boards.

First, though, to praise God for the bee and to pray for its careful and safe deliverance from inside the window to outside, where it can wing its way in the fresh air and fulfill its mission for which it is created and imbued by God.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Little children, let us love one another!  Remain in His Love, no matter where our bodies may find themselves!

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