Tuesday, June 14, 2005


…may not be for everyone, but at times when I am overwhelmed with our busy society, it sure looks appealing to me. I struggle to pray the Divine Office daily, and it is then that I feel the most peace. I regret that I’m not able to do so more faithfully or as often as I’d like (seven times per day). Perhaps is also an escape that lures me to it though; an inability (or unwillingness) to subject my soul to the horrors of the headlines in these times. Just this morning I read of a mother convicted of starving her 18 month old boy slowly to death, and too many others that break my heart anew each day.

Not very "Church Militant" of me though is it? To just run like that off into the wilderness? It is a struggle I would be faced with if I ever came to that crossroad.

Newsweek introduces us to Agnes Long:

Today, Agnes Long is a Roman Catholic hermit. She lives alone in a thickly wooded section of Madeline Island, in northern Wisconsin. Her beloved husband is dead; she hasn't seen her children in years. She wakes before dawn, prays throughout the day, eats small meals, works outside, makes religious paintings, and rises in the middle of the night to pray. Although she sees people when she drives her little truck to the grocery store or to mass, she has no one you might call a friend. And though she answers her phone when it rings, she doesn't often engage in what you would call conversation. "I feel that my whole life has been in preparation for where God has me now," she says, as she slips the old photo back into the pages of her prayer book. "When you go into solitude, you find out who you really are."

Long's life may look radical, but she is following an ancient path. Christianity has a long tradition of hermits, dating back to the third and fourth centuries, when Saint Anthony and thousands like him fled the hardships of the cities for the desolation of the Middle Eastern desert. There they fasted and prayed with the sole intent of getting closer to God. They believed stringent solitude would help them glimpse heaven; the pilgrims who visited them said they looked like angels. These ascetics are known as the Desert Fathers, and there is not a contemplative monk or nun in the world who does not treasure their legacy.


Post a Comment

<< Home