Correspondence may be a prayer, or can be, if one writes prayerfully and of prayerful matters, of His Real Presence, of His Church and His Body (and this latter without falling into gossip), of the truth, beauty, and goodness of God's Being and All, of that which is all good in His Creation.
But there are many other aspects of the doings of Catholic hermits--all relating to prayer. Prayer is that on-going conversation with His Real Presence: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The prayer-conversation may be in considered words verbal or non-verbal. The prayer-conversation may be in thoughts. The prayer-conversation may be images. The prayer-conversation may consist of any aspect of His Creation, such as touch, sound, scent interacting in some way--conscious or not--with His Creation or reflection of His Creation and within His Real Presence.
The prayer-conversation may be conscious, subconscious, unconscious. One wonders at St. Padre Pio's praying the rosary continuously throughout the day, as is noted in various, well-documented sources. But, no one can enter into Padre Pio's body, mind, heart, and spirit to grasp how this praying of the rosary was actually effected. Perhaps it was such a deep prayer in his mind and heart, that it was a subconscious praying; he knew he was praying yet the words effectuated deep within, not conflicting with his conscious mind and body which attended to the many spiritual needs of many people, daily.
Yes, God gives us the capabilities to multi-pray.
The ability to multi-pray increases with learning to utilize the conscious in focus on prayer of the varying types and to learn that prayer has innumerable facets in its functioning, in the conversation with God. For as wide and deep and infinite is God's Being, is His Real Presence in all His unfathomable aspects, there are as many facets and forms of conversation, of prayer, between God and His Creation, including His angels and His souls (human beings, on earth and in eternity), and His created life of beings. Yes, He converses with all His Creation, in ways we may or may not fathom.
Some say that by training our minds--intellect and will--and hearts to set intentions of our every breath and thought and action being a prayer, a conversation with God--we can become in quite close communion (and communication) with God. Jesus Christ teaches this in His Words and by His Life. St. Paul and the other apostles, and holy souls throughout the centuries are those who say and write and live this practice of praying always and in all ways.
At times it does seem quite actual that the suffering this hermit or anyone endures physically (and thus mentally and emotionally, and all the more with increasing severity) is prayer, is quite powerful and immersed conversation with His Real Presence and in fact, with Jesus in His Passion, Death, and also His Resurrection. It may help to become more aware of the depth and breadth of the infinite facets of prayer, of conversation with God. But then, at some point, what has become first-nature between God and us, occurs without conscious knowing. Prayer becomes second nature to us, while being very much so of the First Nature of our prayerful, conversation which unites us all the more with God.
Yet a great aspect of such prayer is the fact and truth that with our conversation with God, He is conversing with us. And His conversing with us occurs increasingly when our consciousness of words, thoughts, images, actions--become subconscious or eventually unconscious to our bodies, minds, and hearts. All conversation with and from God, is at a soulful level--deep in, and deep out.
To promote the opportunity for this grace with and from God, some level of silence and solitude is helpful. Eventually, however, it may not be necessary. Consider the deep level of Jesus' conversation with the Father and the Holy Spirit when on the cross, amidst throngs of noisy, angry, (and also some very sorrowful) people.
Yesterday, this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit had to drive to civilization, once again. The sitting and driving greatly increases the bodily pain, but it could not be avoided in the temporal run of matter. The last time the hermit drove Precious Blood (the used pick-up truck), it felt and heard the grinding of the brakes. There had been no usual-for-vehicles forewarning--no squeaks or squeals, no having to step harder on the brake pedal in order to slow or stop. There was just suddenly a terrible grinding noise, metal upon metal.
So to the auto dealership the hermit drove with Precious Blood on Good Friday, thankful they had a slot open to assess and repair. The intake clerk showed the hermit the waiting rooms--like a hospital, it is--so as to wait until the mechanic ran tests and gave a diagnosis and plan of treatment. And, of course, there is the price tag for parts and services rendered. What can one do? Like one's child with appendicitis (or an adult, for that matter), we agree to the surgery no matter the cost. It is necessary.
In the waiting rooms were three separate groups of people. Even though the hermit tried to read a little of Pseudo-Dionysius on the "Being of God", the body, mind, and heart were called to focus some on the people, for their differences and needs became forefront, in what God pointed out to the hermit in that subconscious conversation which led to conscious awareness of prayer needs.
In separate succession, into the rooms sat an elderly couple, a father with three, young children, a post-mid-age man. Each set of human beings with their bodies, minds, emotions and souls were divergent in ethnicity, intelligence, age, socio-economic status, political-cultural leanings--and these categories only touch the surface of all that makes up our human selves and our lives, our needs, our hopes, our relationships with others and our relationship with God.
In the last instance, the hermit was not allowed to simply observe. The man became very agitated to the point of anger, discussing his political ideas which included stark opposition to well-known facts--obvious truths. The situation became rather dangerous, in a way. If the hermit did not give eye-contact, nod or make some kind of noise indicating it was listening, the man became more irritated and wild in his viewpoints. Yet the hermit could not speak a word or his anger rose. The hermit made as polite-an-escape as possible before an impending, probable disaster, for the man was veering angrily out of mental and emotional control.
In the other sets of people, the encounters were not as dramatic but still had elements of concerns of the sort that we Christians, and especially those of us whose lives are consecrated more intimately in Christ and in the life of the Church, ought notice and listen.
What is it that God is showing us? Who is He touching and pointing out in our bodily or mindful presence? This is but one way He operates--converses with us--in our daily lives, either when we may be in human solitude or in a waiting room in which we could distract by watching a screen or using a phone, or reading or whatever else.
[In fact, when sharing today, when the hermit's adult daughter called, the situation of the three sets of people, and the one of the man being intense, she said that is why it is good to have a tech phone on hand so one can act as if busy with that and not pay attention to those around. But maybe that is how we people do not hear or see or sense God in His and our Present Moments? Maybe that is why we do not progress in intimate prayer with Him, or miss opportunities to serve Him and others through prayer?]
But perhaps the point here is that we can learn to pray, to converse with God, when we more live in the Present Moment and do that which God's Present Moments reveal. It is not that if we watched news or a movie on a big screen in a waiting room, or if we spoke to someone on our cell phones, or texted, or interacted with an author of a book and his or her ideas--that we'd not be doing good, not be praying or having conversation with God. We could then, too; but we could be doing that in the silence and solitude, just as well if not better.
Yes, it came to this nothing Catholic hermit that God was allowing the Present Moments in the waiting rooms, to be His means of praying, of conversing, with His hermit, this soul here that is "me", and alerting through the bodily senses and the mind and the emotions, and on into the intellect and will within the soul, that these sets of people, and then the individuals within the sets, and then the entire set of peoples on earth and in eternity, represent certain needs and situations, of personalities and actual LIVES.
His Real Presence desires this hermit to pray for them in and through the details shown in a short period of time, in two small rooms, in one car dealership, in one place, in one part of a state, country, continent, in this particular world and in that moment. And, to keep praying in any combination thereof: consciously, subconscious, or unconsciously.
What a blessed Good Friday for this hermit! Sent on a mission with Precious Blood (the deep-red truck named as holy reminder of Jesus Christ, the Son of God), just a temporal detail of needing new brakes rather urgently so--it ended up an intimate and faith-filled lesson on prayer, of all God's creation and His conversation with us, and our conversation with Him. Prayer is a form of venerating His Real Presence and His Being for us, and recognizing and appreciating our being only as a result of His Being: So much LOVE.
And now even with the reading of this blog post, some of you may have already been praying for them, conversing with God without realizing it in the very process of having read about these people, and praying for the hermit, for the clerk, for the mechanic, for the split-second thought of the traffic in the drive there and all the people in their vehicles going places, and maybe even in the visual of the truck, Precious Blood, of Christ.
Or you maybe--in a flash image or word in your mind--have remembered people you've encountered in waiting rooms of all types, or anywhere, actually, and ponder anew why it is you meet certain people who kind of get pointed out to you or stick in your mind. Why did I meet these people? For what reason did I notice? What is it that God is telling me, asking of me, in relationship and context of this person or that situation? Why does that dog or cat, or tree or road or sight of a certain building, even, stir the soul to prayer?
Prayer is eternal. It is on-going. Conversation with God, from us with Him and Him with us, is heightened in powerful love, as we progress in awareness, and then after awhile to the second nature aspect that makes conversation with God and in God, all the more mysteriously wondrous and effectively holy love of Creator and Creature.
What does a Catholic hermit do? It prays.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another. Let us pray one another. Let us remain in His Love. Let us remain in His Prayer.