25 July 2016
Just sharing a wonderful image my delegate sent to me a couple of weeks ago. As I have written before, it is so important that the hermit's "stricter separation from the world" be about freedom FROM enmeshment which allows a very real freedom FOR compassion and genuine regard. We do not "wash our hands" of the world, nor are we called to leave it behind entirely. Rather, empowered by God's love for us experienced in solitude we love and embrace it in a new, creative, and prophetic way.
I would only change one thing about this image; For hermits and other contemplatives especially I would either add or replace the original text with [[Be Prayer for the world!!]] I say that because of Pope Francis' new Apostolic Constitution, Vultum dei Quarare (Seeking the Face of God) On Women's Contemplative Life. There he reminds us that contemplatives are set in the heart of the Church and the world and, in their contemplative lives, are a "sign and witness of the prophecy of the Church, virgin, spouse, and mother," or here, [[And how great is the joy and prophecy proclaimed to the world by the silence of the cloister!]]
or yet again, [[It is not easy for the world, or at least for a large part of it, dominated by the mindset of power, wealth, and consumerism, to understand your particular vocation and your hidden mission; and yet it needs them immensely. The world needs you every bit as much as a sailor on the high seas needs a beacon to guide him to a safe haven. Be beacons to those near you to you and, above all, to those far away. Be torches to guide men and women along their journey through the dark night of time. Be sentinels of the morning (cf. Is 21:11-12) heralding the dawn (cf. Lk 1:78). By your transfigured life, and with simple words pondered in silence, show us the One who is the way, and the truth and the life (cf Jn 14:6), the Lord who alone brings us fulfillment and bestows life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10). Cry out to us, as Andrew did to Simon: "We have found the Lord" (Jn 1:40). Like Mary Magdalene on Easter morning, announce to us: "I have seen the Lord!" (Jn 20:18). Cherish the prophetic value of your lives of self-sacriifice. Do not be afraid to live fully the joy of evangelical life, in accordance with your charism.]]
P.S., One of the most wonderful things about this document was that on the front page, below the indication this was from the Holy See Press Office or the Symbol of the Papacy and the large note that this was embargoed until the Feast of Mary Magdalene, below all of this official hoopla stood a single word: Francis --- followed by the title of his document. Not Pope Francis, or even Francis, Bishop of Rome, and certainly not His Holiness or Vicar of Christ, etc, but simply "Francis" --- a Brother religious writing to fellow religious and Sisters in Christ --- not forgetting his role of course, but setting a tone via which the text itself could be heard. I was quite touched by this.
Posted by Sr. Laurel M. O'Neal, Er. Dio. at 7:19 AM