Today's first Scripture reading from Mass, a selection from Jeremiah 15, captures a hermit's mind and heart. I am highlighting some of the lines that strike deeply this morning, for various reasons.
Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth!
a man of strife and contention to all the land!
I neither borrow nor lend,
yet all curse me.
When I found your words, I devoured them;
they became my joy and the happiness of my heart,
Because I bore your name,
O LORD, God of hosts.
I did not sit celebrating in the circle of merrymakers;
Under the weight of your hand I sat alone
because you filled me with indignation
Why is my pain continuous,
my wound incurable, refusing to be healed?
You have indeed become for me a treacherous brook,
whose waters do not abide!
Thus the LORD answered me:
If you repent, so that I restore you,
in my presence you shall stand;
If you bring forth the precious without the vile,
Then it shall be they who turn to you
and you shall not turn to them;
And I will make you toward these people
a solid wall of brass.
Though they fight against you,
they shall not prevail,
For I am with you,
to deliver and rescue you, says the LORD.
I will free you from the hand of the wicked
and rescue you from the grasp of the violent."
Of course, Jeremiah was conversing with the Lord, and he became a mouthpiece of the Lord to his people. As in all the prophets, the messages had a personal aspect to the prophet him- or herself as well as a message for God's people in the prophet's on time period, as well as being an oracle of truth for the people of future generations, including our own.
These words from God to Jeremiah and Jeremiah's questions and complaints to God remind this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit of God's relationship with a hermit and the hermit's relationship with God. Jeremiah the prophet presents to us various aspects of a hermit's heart and mind, how a hermit may feel and think and react, in daily life and in daily and nightly conversation with God.
Yes, today I am a Jeremiah hermit, taking the Living Words of Scripture to mind, heart, and spirit! And, I will repent as I attempt to make manual labor progress in Te Deum Hermitage here, despite my continuous pain, the wound of my back and neck, liver and lung incurable. There is also the inner pain, the inner wound of being a sinner--yet now curable through the salvation redeemed for us by the sacrificial love and mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Ah, but the Lord will restore me fully; and He will guide my life's mission, of bringing forth the preciousness of His Real Presence and the spiritual life, and leaving the vile behind.
God bless His Real Presence in us!