Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The New Urban Hermit


The Saturday Evening Post has an article about "The New Urban Hermit" in its May/June issue.

The article describes a trend in which some people seek "the silence of solitude, and the spiritual contemplation it allows." Among those featured in the article is Sister Laurel O'Neal of the Camaldolese Benedictines, who lives in a one-bedroom apartment in California's Bay Area.

The hermits support themselves with some kind of work - Sister O'Neal does some spiritual direction - and do mix with other people, at least occasionally. In addition to meeting with clients, for example, Sister O'Neal goes to daily Mass, and plays violin in an orchestra once a week.

Some also communicate in limited ways through social media and blogs.

But they also spend a lot of time in prayer and spiritual pursuits.

The article appealed to me because I could imagine myself doing something like that. Many summers I have almost no contact with others except for daily Mass.

I can't be a complete hermit - that would not be fair to my wife. But I might try to be more of one when the school year ends.

Apparently there is a newsletter for hermits called Raven's Bread, Food for Those in Solitude, and a site, Raven's Bread Hermit Ministries.  Gotta check that out.

Pax et bonum

3 comments:

Do Not Be Anxious said...

I have been open to a spiritual director for some time. I sought one once, but it was a waste of both our times. I liked (I think it was) William's book which gave specifics on what a spiritual director should do --- set targets for your growth. How I wish I could find someone like that, who might give direction to my wanderings through so many books, finding only perhaps 1 in 5 really helping me grow spiritually.

I have only a couple of friends with whom I can speak seriously about spiritual matters; I wish there were more. Have you ever thought about forming a "faith discussion" group?

A Secular Franciscan said...

I haven't thought about forming a faith discussion group - do you mean locally in the "real world," or on line?

I do belong to two groups where I engage in faith discussions. The first and third Friday of each moth I meet with my Secular Franciscan fraternity, and the first and third Saturday morning of each month I meet with a men's group (Fishers of Men). With the men's group, we've been going through the Father Barron Catholicism series, viewing a portion then talking about it.

I too have searched off and on for a spiritual director. I even tried one; we didn't click. Still something I'd like.

The irony of the group idea is that the post was about being a hermit, and hence not part of a group!

Do Not Be Anxious said...

I'm not sure what I meant as far as "where," my friend. Online would have an advantage in that you would write thoughts, which means you would have time to think about them rather than just blurt comments to be sociable. But "real world" does have other advantages --- you can get a hug if you need it!

My comment was aimed at what I perceived a yearning by you to grow in holiness. Certainly meditation has its part in growing closer to God, but we are in the world, and growing in love of neighbor also helps us grow closer to God, being more like Him.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the love we learned as babies, the unconditional love of mom. Some of us learned to yearn for that love, and never get over that yearning, and wind up "looking for love in all the wrong places." But some of us learn that it is not the love we RECEIVE that we are to learn to desire (that desire is a natural thing), but it is the love freely GIVEN that we are to learn to desire. Not to get love like a baby, but to give love like a parent. Were I to be in an open faith discussion group, one of the things I'd like to discuss is: how do you teach someone self-giving love, especially an adult who only knows how to crave love. But of course, there are many other topics which would come to mind; my extensive readings give me many things to ponder on; it would be nice to discuss some of them with like minds.

That is what I perceived you as desiring, and so I suggested as a possible aid the formation of a discussion group --- if you can find like faith-filled friends.

I wish you well.