A reflection on a discovery of the deep truth that is alive in the heart of my vocation and the vocation of every person: on the mystery of childhood that unites us all as one. For me, the vocation to be a hermit is not to be raised up above others, but the reverse, to descend to being the littlest and least of all, simply a little brother of every person, united to them in the Heart of Jesus.
The “silence of solitude” is a very rich term, steeped in centuries of tradition. It is a way of expressing a reality that occurs and that is sought at the heart of the eremitic/hermit life; yet I believe it is also an invitation for each and every one of us. So many people in our world–in a way, all of us–experience a profound solitude and loneliness in the center of our life, even though we are surrounded by people. Yet God invites us to encounter him here, so that “aloneness” is transformed into a space of meeting and encounter, a place of ever deepening intimacy and communion. Then silence is a way of more deeply hearing the word, and solitude a rich and fruitful garden of joyful embrace.
This is a poem written shortly after moving into my “hermitage” near Saint Mary’s Cathedral, a momentous step for me after many years of searching. It reflects on the mysterious “desert” than can be found right in the heart of the city, the deep solitude that lies in the heart of each one of us, reaching out towards God and towards our brothers and sisters.
This reflection seeks to give a glimpse of the reality of “maternal” prayer, not through analysis or explanation, but through opening the door to the atmosphere of intercession and love through images and emotion. This term–maternal prayer–comes from the Carthusian tradition, used to explain a period in the middle of the night when the brothers lay prostrate on the floor of their cell, interceding for the world. Even the deep meaning of this prayer remains more or less hidden from the one praying, I believe that God is always profoundly at work whenever someone abides before him in prayer for the sake of others.
This seeks to enter more deeply into the union of solitude and communion which is a trait of all experiences of love in this life, and how the two always grow into deeper unity with one another, pointing towards the fullness that awaits us in the new creation: where we shall never again be alone, but abide in perfect intimacy with God and with every person.