On the life of the wilderness

It is a new year in the Lord; and it is a new day in the hermitage; and the Lord shows Himself always to be the Bearer of this little soul; He carries him, for the little soul is weak, and therefore, he cannot see anything but the Truth that is in Jesus, his Redeemer and Lord.  Bless the Name of Jesus forever.

Amma Syncletica said, ‘There are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the town, and they are wasting their time. It is possible to be a solitary in one’s mind while living in a crowd, and it is possible for one who is a solitary to live in the crowd of his own thoughts.’  She also said, ‘Just as a treasure that is exposed loses its value, so a virtue which is known vanishes; just as wax melts when it is near fire, so the soul is destroyed by praise and loses all the results of its labor.’  She also said, ‘Just as it is impossible to be at the same moment both a plant and a seed, so it is impossible for us to be surrounded by worldly honor and at the same time to bear heavenly fruit.’

There are three lessons in this for the New Year before the little soul; our New Year is in the Easter message of our Resurrection Day:

  1.  We are always called to behave internally before God and do all things as unto the Lord.
  2.  We are actively to seek no praise from men; that is to be “liked” or “unliked”; our praise comes from a Life so ordered by Grace in the Mercy of God alone.
  3.  Worldly honor means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Dear ones, we bear witness only to the Truth that is Jesus alone; we are here in Montana a mere owl in the desert; a mere pelican in the wilderness; we are simply “a nothing” that is only seeing his “something-ness” in the Lord Jesus who is his all.

Dear ones, we also read in the apophthegmata patrum:

The brother asked, ‘In all of the affliction which the monk gives himself, what helps him?’ The old man said, ‘It is written, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”‘ (Ps 46.1)  The old man was asked, ‘What is the good of the fasts and watching, which a man imposes on himself?’ and he replied, ‘They make the soul humble. For it is written, “Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.” (Ps.25.18) So if the soul gives itself all this hardship, God will have mercy on it.’

We falsely believe that it is in our own strengths through ascetic practices that we are somehow “holy”; when we have no strength at all in our self!  Self is so weak.  Our “watchings” are clearly limited in their effectiveness; and they are only of value when we are watching and focusing upon Jesus.  Our strength is so weak that we cannot rely on anything to do with it.  Our Strength is only in our Lord Jesus Christ!

If one comes to the eremitical Life in Jesus; or even a semi-eremitical Life in Jesus that the little soul practices so weakly: we come to understand it is (none of this) “of our self,” for only in God are we fulfilled outside of our false self; only in God is our Blessed Hope; our Strength; and this is the message to those who come and seek the silence and the solitude that we share with others, when souls come to visit.  There is a degree of austerity, but it is offered to God in Joy and without grumbling.  Only as humility is obtained from God is it worth having through these watchings.

Humility is a gift from God through sufferings, the “watchings” that God gives to us by Grace through Faith in Him alone.  It is all about Jesus.

The Divine Office is our “food and drink”; the prayer of Jesus is our purpose in Jesus; the constant intercession; the constant thanks giving; the constant apology for having offended our First and Best love; our constant Love for Him who is our Perfect Love!

This is the Life of the monachos; it is a Life that is based in Love for God and Love in God, however, it is the Love that is  weak as it is toward our Beloved.  God must give us His Perfect Love through true Companionship with Him, (I John 1: 7).  It is not a “wild contemplative Life we have come into as “loners”; it is not as some have taught a ‘life” that has no Focus upon Jesus, as another monk advised me of a few days ago.  It is the Focus upon God alone without internal “prayer words” or “mantras”… it is simply Jesus, only our Beloved Jesus and we are “pondering these things” with Mary; pondering  this One within our heart in the places of solitude and silence. 

We hear His Voice: Be still and know that I AM GOD.

We share only in answer to what others have asked us.

May Jesus have all the Glory; for I want none of it, but to know He is honored dear souls.

The time is short; let us live for Him completely and bloom where we have been planted.

Dear souls, you are Loved.  Love Jesus.  Love Him fully; for He Loves you infinitely.

Abba Anthony

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