Hermits: Reflections on Time, Space, & Place
Hermits do not distance themselves from humanity. Consider how someone surveys a Goggle map. There are two icons – an addition sign and a subtraction one. Clicking on the plus sign, one draws closer to the map revealing the details, topography, and if even closer, the streets and buildings at street level. If, on the other hand, the minus sign is employed, the viewer produces distance from said details while acquiring a more regional, national, and global perspective.
Hermits choose the latter as the perspective in which to operate. From that vantage point, one views the planet and humanity significantly differently. Prayer is no longer for a community or neighborhood. Instead, it is said on behalf of a world where national boundaries are nonexistent, and people's futures are not limited by political or military results but experienced as one human family.
Rather than isolating oneself, a hermit takes a much broader approach to mandates of service and prayer. Whereas a local parish will invest in the street-level vicinities of a city, hermits recognize their call to be a macrocosmic one. Neither expression of spiritual life is better than the other. As mentioned in numerous writings on the eremitical life, spiritual personalities, a deeper sense of union with divinity, and a call to contemplation are the compelling forces behind a person’s choice to be a hermit.
The nature of eremitical practice seems to be misunderstood as an elite spiritual minority whose concerns remain rather ethereal and esoteric for everyone else. While the
Dom Daniel Medina, csr