Monday, October 24, 2005

Knock, Knock!

The guidance, if you will, for the way I try and live faithfully each day the life of an urban hermit priest comes from first the example of Christ in the Desert, in the lonely places, in the Garden.

My second source of inspiration comes from the Desert Fathers and there is no better synthesis of all this wisdom, from the Gospel, from the Church East and West, to my mind at least, than in the classic work of the Servant of God, Catherine Doherty: POUSTINIA.

On page 52 of her classic the Servant of God stresses that: “ For a…hermit…Anyone at any time of day or night can knock at his door. Remember, he is in the poustinia not for himself but for others. “

For the modern urban hermit that ‘knock’ can be the phone ringing, the computer pinging an email has arrived or there can literally be a knock on the door.

Today such knocks involved encouraging a senior seminarian in another country who is going through a rough patch; a call from a priest in another part of this country who is simply exhausted; conversation with another ‘poustinik’ about a mutual friend who needs our prayers as he is very ill; visiting and helping at a local soup kitchen; visiting a dear elderly brother priest in the cardiac unit of one of the city hospitals.

This meant ‘my’ routine and plan of the day turned to dust, as well it should have.

I try, and beg your prayers I do better, to live each day the maxim of St. Gerard Magella:
“ Here the will of God is done, as God wills, and as long as God wills.”

The ‘here’ of course must be the present moment, for we should live only in the present moment, faithful to the duty of the present moment.

I believe when the disciples asked Jesus where He lived, and He said to come and see then immediately set off, He was leading them into ‘the moment’, the moment of His Father’s will, which is truly where Jesus ‘dwelt’ on earth.

So since I want to dwell with Him always while on earth there is not better place than in the reality, the grace, the duty of the present moment!

{ Poustinia is available at }

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