This morning, while seated with a steaming hot cup of coffee in hand, I looked out the living room window of my small apartment. My gaze came to rest on the bricks of the building’s adjacent walls where the skyline appears to meet the top of the bricks, though a great distance lies between them, in reality. I thought about that visual illusion vs its true reality for a while. But then, it occurred to me that my spirit had been lifted in an ever so subtle way for the entire length of that gaze, before I had actually begun to ponder it in my mind. So, I stopped thinking about it and allowed the experience itself to convey a reality all its own. This, for me, was a moment of realization; some new awakening to a higher, and even more profound reality than one that could be pondered with the mind – it was pure, unfiltered spiritual joy!
Just what was it that was so new? Well, in that particular instance, I didn’t have to make the usual conscious effort to first focus my attention away from my bodily ailments before gazing. This time, my spiritual understanding was somehow simply enriched. Like some place within me of silence itself was meeting with the silence of God, and not by any method of my own, nor even by reflecting back upon what was seen. No, it was simply the silence itself that carried the mystery of spiritual joy.
Being a hermit of God, for me, is not about hoping for spiritual ecstasies or moments of extraordinary supernatural light, which I have read about countless times in the lives of the Saints. It is rather about moments like I just described; about seeing God more and more in the everyday experiences of my actual life, such as they are. Less about the satisfaction that stems from accomplishments such as putting on a shoe after some crippling spasm has made that an impossible task for weeks prior.
More about that interior space made empty by God for silence to announce its joy; a simple feeling of attunement; a harmony with God through a moment of unusual spiritual significance, though I know not why. Sometimes I can feel it even in the experience of life itself and simple being.
Perhaps it is precisely in these most basic, yet often, least acknowledged of all our human experiences that God can speak most freely to us. And the more our hearts are opened by God’s hidden graces, the more we might hope to come to appreciate such ordinary moments in ways that those with health and mobility may simply never be able to.
May I be ever more grateful for this hermit calling that offers my soul so much access to the wine cellars of God’s Love, even if it must come disguised, through the door of chronic illness.
+ May God Bless You All Today
Hermits of St. Giles
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