Sunday, August 28, 2016

Aspiring, Inspiring Hermit Constitutions of a Religious Order

I suppose, of course, as a consecrated Catholic hermit, I would zero in on this section of Constitutions when reading over a certain monastic order's inclusion of the hermit way of life amidst their overall substance of their monastic aspirations.

Reading this section the other night created again the longing which, rather than perceiving it as wanting to escape what is, now had turned to a seeking what can be.  I am ready to again ask His Real Presence to do whatever He wills and desires in "tweaking" my own hermit way of life.

I do think and feel what seems so beckoning in the following hermit section of a certain order's Constitutions, is the tightening of loose ends that hermits privately or publicly professed may have frayed over time without realizing.  I personally am going to use these points to re-visit and upgrade my own hermit vocation and will share some of the thought-processes and results in blog posts.

Regardless, enjoy, ponder, be inspired and motivated if you wish, by this section on hermit life in a monastery Constitutions.

Our Eremitical Orientation and our Life as Hermits
As ["X" Order of] Monks, we hold in special regard the eremitical tradition of monasticism. As such our common life in the local monastery is characterized by an eremitical orientation. Moreover, the self-governing monastery, its dependent monasteries and confederated monasteries may have hermits.
 X a) A hermit is a monk of the self-governing monastery or one of its dependent monasteries who, completely separated from people and from the world, occupies himself totally with the contemplation of the things of heaven.
b) Every hermit is to live on the grounds of the local monastery in a place (hermitage) separated in a special way from the world and from other parts of the monastery.
c) Only a monk who has been perpetually professed for at least six years may become a hermit. It is necessary that he first obtain the permission of the abbot, given with the consent of the permanent council. For just reasons the abbot, with the consent of the permanent council, may withdraw such permission at any time even against the will of the hermit.
d) A hermit may not hold an elected office in the monastery. If he accepts an election he gives up his status as hermit. Moreover, a hermit may not hold any appointed office or fulfill any ordinary monastery function that is not reconcilable with his life as a hermit.
Y  The following rules govern the proper observance of the life of our hermits and protect the eremitical life from being used for reasons other than that which should characterize a [X] hermit. These rules will eliminate from hermit-living those puffed up with pride, infatuated with the novelty of anchoritic life, deluded by a misanthropic temperament or seeking life in a hermitage for merely human endeavors and escape:
a) monks aspiring to be hermits must have sufficient physical and emotional health and spiritual maturity to bear the task of eremitical living;
b) every hermit remains under the authority of the superior of the local monastery who is encouraged to visit the hermitage from time to time;
c) the first duty of every hermit is to pray, meditate on the Scriptures and practice exemplary virtues. He will increase his monastic discipline; for instance, by observing a greater silence and by rising during the night for prayer and adoration, if he is able. With the permission of his superior, he may fast or abstain more than the community;
d) every hermit ordinarily follows the daily schedule of the monastery. Over and above this, he will strive to give more time daily to adoration before the Blessed Sacrament which may be reserved in the hermitage chapel;
e) the hermit should join the community of the monastery for major feasts and participate in its activities: the Divine Liturgy, the divine praises, the common meal and the recreation of the monks. As the sacred author exhorts: “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and to good works, not neglecting to meet one another, and all the more as you see `The Day’ drawing near” (Heb. 10:25);
f) under the direction of his superior, every hermit should do some designated work daily as a powerful remedy for many temptations, as a proof that he is not deserting the human obligation and in accordance with the stern injunction of St. Paul: “If anyone will not work, neither let him eat” (2Thess. 3:10);
g) the hermit is not permitted to wander from his hermitage enclosure. He should go out only for necessity and only with the permission of his superior. At the same time, he is encouraged to get exercise and, with the understanding of his superior, may take walks in the fields and woods, provided these are solitary and without distraction;
h) there should be no visiting at the hermitage. Its silent seclusion and enclosure must be carefully protected. This is the duty of the superior of the local monastery. However, the hermit may administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the hermitage to members of the monastery.
Z  a) With the permission of the superior, monks may spend shorter time in solitude or make days of recollection, living the hermit’s way of life whether in their cells or in hermitages which may be available for this purpose. Novices, by way of exception, may also spend some time in like manner with the permission of the novice master and the abbot.
b) Superiors should allow and encourage all who can profit by solitude to spend some time in eremitical retreat. They should arrange the disposition of the schedule and duties of the monks to provide the opportunity for greater solitude.

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