Mar 27th - John of Egypt
Christians hermits show us that there is really no one who is a hermit as we use the term today. The early Christian hermits left the world to get away from it, not God or His people. Therefore they opened their caves and their hearts to those who sought help. It was the world they despised not their fellow humans.
John spent many years seeking and discerning God's call, living with many holy hermits and monks. His long path seems to have worked because according to contemporary accounts he developed a rigorous and highly disciplined ascetic life. It is said that he spent five days a week alone in conversation with God and the other two days, he spent with people seeking spiritual direction and advice with whom he spoke to through a opening in his walled up cave. He was considered wise and admired by the likes of Augustine and Jerome. Most probably because of his hours spent in solitary contemplation of God he was able to easily discern what was in people's hearts and help them. Crowds would gather on those two days to hear him preach. Completely walled in he apparently subsisted off the mercy of God and the kindness of those who brought him food and water.
If devoting your life to Christ does not carry with it all that doing so implies then your are really not devoted to Christ but to self-indulgence or self-destruction. Even the orders that are cloistered pray not for themselves but for the world around them, for those of us not called to such an intense life of prayer. We accomplish our devotion because they pray for our strength in our ministry. Let us pray to for them in theirs.
When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.h But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. Treasure in Heaven. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
-- Matthew 6:5-21
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