Wednesday, March 18, 2009


{ A friend about to be ordained and live the eremitical life, in poustinia is the term, wrote and asked reflections on priesthood and poustinia.}

My Dear Brother in Christ,

I have been praying over your upcoming ordination and for you, as well as listening for the right words to answer your request I tell you about my eremitic life, and was struck by a profound urgency in my heart to encourage you to be steadfast and courageous in your own priestly life.

The kiss of Christ, the embrace of Christ, the passion for us of Christ’s love for us echoes the cry of every man, woman and child on the face of the earth, in particular the unborn at risk of abortion, the endangered women and children throughout the world, such as in Darfur, the suffering Holy Father, the hungry, priests in danger of all kinds, husbands and fathers suddenly unemployed and unable to care for their families, wives and mothers bearing the burden of these uncertain times, government leaders and civil servants facing the challenge of a world gone mad and populations increasingly restless, for we are on the brink of global catastrophe and war and are in the depths of spiritual warfare of ferocious intensity.

Within the Islands, where Our Lady has led you, for centuries there has been and is extreme evil because of slavery, occult and modern causes; while here in Canada, as in the United States, the poison of relativism, and a tragic spiritual sloth, cries out to heaven for intercessory prayer and atonement that the grace of true repentance and conversion will permeate the ranks of Bishops, Priests, Laity that all might return to Christ.

To be a poustinik in these days means to be profoundly one with Christ in the depths of His Holy Kenosis, hence to be humanly powerless and as priest entering ever more deeply into the courageous meekness and humility of His Most Sacred Heart; to be one with Him in the depths of the Desert, that is being totally childlike of heart as the evil one seeks to disrupt, distract, threaten, batter, tempt, confuse; it is to be one with Him in the Garden, following the example of the Servant of God, Catherine Doherty, comforting the lonely Christ by allowing His agony, His prayer, His fiat, His love of the Father and of every human being to permeate us so completely we become more and more oblivious of self and truly, as Catherine says, letting Our Lady of Combermere there in the Garden, and on the Cross, and yes even in the Tomb, form our priestly and poustinik hearts so that, like Christ’s our hearts are pierced, torn open “..for the whole world to walk through”; it is to be one with Christ on the Cross so that, again as Catherine says and Our Lady forms within us, most especially when we are celebrating Holy Mass over and for the whole human family, all of creation, for the souls in Purgatory, but frankly also within the depths of every moment, which is both fulfillment of the duty of the moment and the moment of beginning again, always, in Him, we simply, humbly, hiddenly being be priest, love, serve, are crucified and crucify ourselves so that we “...may be lifted up and draw all things to Christ.”; thus in every Holy Communion, not by anything we do but rather by the lavishness of His Merciful Love we enter ever more deeply into His Holy Resurrection.

Oneness with Him in the tomb then is to be hidden in the depths of the poustinia, of the will of the Father, of the folds of the Mantle of Our Lady of Combermere, for poustinia must never be about anything we do, indeed neither should priesthood – both are of heart’s being.

Yes as a priest-poustinik there is the Divine Office to be prayed, and other prayers such as the Holy Rosary, the Jesus Prayer, letters, phone calls, the normal dusting, cleaning, cooking, there is being available to listen, to serve at the soup kitchen, help with family, blog, site, essays, manuscripts to write, but all of that “doing” of the duty of the moment must be, can only be, preparation for Holy Mass, being made ready to be lain myself on the paten, poured into the chalice, in a word to be both the one offering and oblation, and all the ‘doing’ can only be thanksgiving for Holy Mass and Holy Communion – priesthood, and indeed poustinia, should not, must not ever be about ‘moi’, but only about Him, for Him, in Him, with Him, through Him, while holding onto the hand of Our Lady of Combermere, deep in her school, so that poured out for every human being, like Catherine at night in her poustinia howling on behalf of the Church, priests, this and that person, the whole world and wounded creation, we too are poured out.

In that is the truth the priestly vocation IS a vocation of joy!

With my love and blessing in Jesus and Mary.

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