It does not matter whether the person I am being introduced to is a member of my parish, or someone in the general community. The simple fact is, if I say, "Well, no I don't live in a convent; I am a hermit," most people seem to barely control the inevitable jaw drop and quizzical expression that says, "You are WHAT? What in the WORLD is a hermit then?? or, But it's the 21st century! Are you pulling my leg??" Well, contrary to popular opinions, hermits did not die out centuries ago, and the life is enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Neither are we unstable misanthropes who just need "peace and quiet," and can't seem to handle the "real world." We don't live in caves, we bathe regularly, and most of us (I can only speak for myself and the other hermits I know) LOVE people and are integrally connected to the rest of the Church and world in some real way.
After all, hermits are sometimes described as the heart of the body of Christ. They are the ones who help symbolize a still point in a turning --- and sometimes chaotic --- world, a point of consistency, stability, peace, silence, and constant prayer in a world marked and marred by instability, hostility and violence, noise, distraction, and irreverence. Hermits really are a counter-cultural reality, so it is no wonder people can't believe their ears when they are told, "I am a hermit." Evenso, without disturbing the essential silence, solitude, and prayer of the hermitage, sharing what this life is really about might be of interest to some and assistance to others. Consider this the window of the anchorite's cell; it allows you a glimpse of life at Stillsong Hermitage without intruding on my solitude and silence. With that in mind, I am going to post some about the theology of eremitic life and some other "nuts and bolts" from my "Plan of Life" written for myself and my diocese. (Some posts may allow for comments, others will not. I will evaluate that as this blog develops. In the meantime you might want to email me with comments or suggestions at SRLAUREL@aol.com)