Holding On To Christ

I keep looking for ways to try to heal and move forward living with my disability, Proteus Syndrome. It still remains difficult for me to accept this disability and embrace it. This is my Cross€. I have always tried my hardest to overcome obstacles that stand in my way, to keep pushing forward, but the Proteus Syndrome has a life of its own and It’€™s taking over. I don’€™t like that, you know. It’€™s like I’m at war with it and I don’€™t want it to win. I hope this doesn’€™t sound too nutty. My mind and heart want to walk again but my body says. “No sir, your not going to do that”€. It’s quite the challenge. I am always thinking of new ways to overcome these obstacles I face, but now the Proteus has got me homebound. This is really difficult to accept because I loved being with people and being a brother to everyone. I was a Capuchin-Franciscan for 12 years. I took my Solemn Vows in 1996. I had to leave though. I blame my disability. The burden it placed on my Order. The friars didn’t have health insurance back then and my disability is quite expensive. I am still a Capuchin in my heart though and I pray every day to Christ Jesus that He will not reject me because of that decision I made those many years ago. My heart will always remain with my Capuchin brothers. I still have a deep desire to help save souls for Christ, so I began the Hermits of the Holy Cross from home. It’s a ministry in the Church for the physically disabled who still want to serve the Church in some way. We serve spiritually, offering up to God our sufferings that stem from our disabilities. Our second gift we offer is intercessory prayer for our world, our parishes, our families and friends. We pray for those who even hurt us and reject us. So far, for me, I’ve only been laughed at and ridiculed. No one has ever tried to physically hurt me, thanks be to God. There are now five Hermits of the Holy Cross. One of our members recently passed away. May your soul rest in peace dear brother Charles. We live in different parts of the world, in Canada, New York, Texas and California. Our spirits are working together to help heal the world. We, with physical disabilities, have a gift to give the world. You too have a gift to give. Your heart for prayer and your sufferings offered for souls. Please, never forget this. God created us the way we are for His purposes. We are His children. We have gifts to share. These gifts might be spiritual like our suffering offered up or our prayers for others and for ourselves. So, in closing, I just wanted to reach out to you, my sisters and brothers, to help lift your hearts with encouragement. I want you to know I am with you in the struggle and that there are other Hermits praying for you. Keep climbing the mountain, keep holding on, in hope and love, to that cross you carry. Soon it will be traded for a crown. Have a most blessed week

Your brother in Christ Jesus,


Hermits of the Holy Cross

A helper close at hand in times of distress

“And when Jesus saw their faith He said to the paralytic, “Child your sins are forgiven.”

(Mark 2:5)

I at times reflect about how I see my role in the Church which is the family of God and what it is I can offer to God and for my fellow sisters and brothers in this catholic family. I am using the small “c” and not the “C” for its meaning is “universal” And I wish to embrace everyone in the world no matter what religion or what country or what culture he/she might belong to. I seek to be all embracing. As a disabled person, now home bound, I find that the possibilities of carrying on an active ministry in the Church has become quite limited, so when I read this one line from the New Testament, it moved me deeply. This paralytic did absolutely nothing to get cured but also to get his/her sins forgiven. His/Her friends did everything for him/her. They provided the heavy lifting, they provided the heavy labor of removing the roof on the house and they lowered him/her down. They provided the faith. They provided the hope. They provided the question posed to Christ Jesus, which was, “Will you, Lord, heal our friend?” Perhaps they didn’t even bother to ask Jesus if He could heal their friend since their faith was so deep, so strong, so powerful that they just lowered him/her right down upon the Christ, the Anointed One while simultaneously destroying the roof of the Master’s house. Another thing too, we don’t even know if the paralytic wanted the miracle. We assume he/she did. However, what is most emphasized in this exchange is the fact that as brothers and sisters to one another, as friends to one another, we can intercede for one another. We can carry each other’s burdens. Offer them up to God for one another. Our life, as Hermits of the Holy Cross, even though we are disabled and no longer can participate in an active ministry is a ministry of intercession and offering to God the suffering we endure for the good of others. Our loving God takes both our suffering and our intercessory prayers and transforms them into grace. He heals our broken body, He binds up all our wounds and He purifies our souls together. Notice the family/friends all work together with Christ Jesus assisting each other in this transformative process. Even when we perhaps have no faith left in our heart, struggle with the virtue of hope, perhaps even contemplate giving up all together. Perhaps we are paralyzed in some way and are now in need of assistance from others, family and friends. (This can be a time of great struggle for us since we were so use to doing everything for ourself and did not have a need to rely on others to get our needs met) We now find that others can lead the way for us, if we only allow them to do so. The paralytic had to have a great deal of humility because it’s not easy to be so vulnerable being paraded around in front of so many people. They could have asked Jesus if He could take a couple of minutes to come visit their friend or family member instead of putting this person through such an ordeal. I’m sure Jesus would have obliged and gone to their house. But instead, they paraded him/her in front of everyone. It was all part of the process. Personally, if that were me lying on that mat, I would have been grateful, but at the same time embarrassed by the whole situation, especially laying there exposed for all the world to see so to speak, while the others were ripping the roof off the house. It’s so wonderful to see how we as members of the family of God can intercede for one another and God will hear our prayers and listen to our petitions for one another. What a tremendous gift this is. God is eager to restore us in both spirit and body when we work together to bring about His kingdom. Even if we are no longer able to have an active ministry we can intercede for one another. We can offer our suffering for the good of another. This gives us great meaning to our life. Even if we are paralyzed, our life continues to have meaning, we are just as important as the person who is actively participating in the work of God for we assist others in the corporal works of mercy by allowing them to help us who might be disabled. They are making their way to Heaven with help from us. They intercede for us and we intercede for them. Working in harmony opens the door to great healing for our souls and even at times healing for our body’s. May we continue to care for one another, to respect one another and to intercede for one another all the days of our life. Please continue to pray for the Hermits of the Holy Cross, that we may grow more deeply in love with the Heart of Christ Jesus. We will be praying for you. Let us always strive to accept every person for we all belong to the family of God. Let us be patient with one another, continue to hope and pray God will bring to each of us the healing we need and the forgiveness we need that we may all be united in that Heavenly Kingdom that our gracious God has in store for us in Eternity.

Peace and Goodness,

Your brother in Christ,


Hermits of the Holy Cross

Trusting In God’s Mercy

I want to write to you about all the craziness that is going on in our world today. There are so many problems with the weather going on around our world. Some don’t believe it’s anything out of the ordinary. Some believe, myself included, that the concept of Climate Change has a lot to do with the many powerful storms on the planet these days. I can’t understand how some will not question the possibility that the fossil fuel industry and humanity’s pollution is not contributing to climate change. Many of the world’s top scientists believe we do indeed contribute to the power found in these latest storms. The modification of the weather has been well documented for years now as well. Research “weather modification” and decide. One major problem is the main stream media news outlets are not reporting on any of it. They are barely even mentioning the topic of climate change. It’s as if they too are in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry. Perhaps they are. They certainly are in the pockets of the military industrial complex. They practically cheer whenever our military makes a move against another country. Personally, I am a Catholic Christian and these events around our world truly frighten me, but I believe in Christ Jesus and I trust in His plan for the human family. The Holy Spirit is in charge of this path for humanity. He created each of us and will never let go of His children. Christ Jesus died for all humanity. No one knows who will be in Heaven or not. No one knows when the end of God’s plan for humanity will be either, not even the Son of Man knows when the end will be. At least, if we trust in the Gospels. There are many false prophets out there claiming the end is upon us. Do not listen to them. Remember, not even Jesus the Christ knows when this will all end. So, please for the love of God do not listen to those who claim to know the world is ending. We are called to trust in God’s plan wherever it may lead. Do what you can to fight for a clean and healthy planet. Fight for the rights and for justice for everyone. Every human being on this planet is a child of God. We are not called to judge them, but to love them as we love ourselves. Fight for the voiceless, the poor, the outcasts, the forgotten. Fight for the injustices that we see every day in the news and on the internet. Make sure what you are being exposed to is true. There is a great deal of “fake news” out there groups and individuals with their own agenda’s. Make good choices that reflect Christ’s teachings. “Do not judge lest you be judged” “Love as God has loved you” and above all trust in His mercy. Be prepared and continue to walk in the light, knowing that God has us all in the palm of His hand.Pray for the Hermits of the Holy Cross. We will continue to keep each of you in our prayers.

Peace and Goodness,


Hermit Solidarity and Community

thUCJL39FTChronic Illness and Pain can often cause isolation even for Hermits.  Yes we value our Solitude, but we need to know we have companions along the way, just like anyone else.  The Early Desert Fathers and Mothers also had this need.  They lived alone, and in seclusion, yet they had a form of communion with each other, in that they met regularly for prayer and some social time together, after which returning to their Cells was a Joy.

As a Hermit of St. Giles, I am working with the rest of the Hermits to establish a weekly shared Prayer/Meditation Session where we could all be present to each other and offer to God our Intentions as a Community.  Perhaps 20 minute Prayer Sessions once a week to start.

Whether or not You are a Hermit, if you would be interested in participating in this effort, in Solidarity with us, feel free to join us!

You can find a Meditation Timer on our Page with the Guidelines for Centering Prayer. We will be announcing a Day and Time to meet for Prayer. To join us, simply Log In on that selected day and time, and begin to pray with us by starting the Timer at the chosen Hour.

If you prefer, you may also just say a Rosary or whatever Prayers you are comfortable with, instead.  Or just remain in Silence and Solidarity with us.  The Prayer is in the Intention.

Our Intention is to Glorify God, and to offer our Sufferings for all the people in the world who live in pain and/or with chronic illness, as well as for ourselves.

Please ask the Lord to Bless this humble effort of ours and grant that it may bare its fruit according to His will.  Thank You!

Yours in Christ,

+a Disciple of Jesus (HHC)


thZK5Z1T15Greetings to All –  Today is the Day to Begin Again…

Although I have my infirmities and pains to contend with, nonetheless, within my heart I align myself with God for the highest good of all suffering beings.  I practice a form of Christian Meditation called, Centering Prayer.  Fr. Thomas Keating is the Trappist Monk whose Teachings I have found to be most in accord with my own spirit.  It is a Surrender Practice as opposed to an Attention Practice like that of Fr. John Main, who uses a Mantra as a focal point.  I use a Sacred Word, but not as a Mantra.  Simply as a symbol to wake me up whenever I get lost in my thoughts during Meditation. It brings me back to my Center where I can again be united with God, and consent to His hidden presence and action in my soul.

TODAY and Hereafter, at 12 Noon and again at 5Aspm Eastern Time, I will be in Meditation for 20 minutes.  If you would like to join me in this prayer for All who are suffering, simply Go To the Page provided on this Site entitled Meditation Timer and Start the Bell on the Hour.  It will signal you when the time is up. Allow yourself a few moments after your Meditation to slowly reorient yourselves to full consciousness before rising.  NOTE: One does not have to be able to Sit to meditate. If all you can do is lie down, it will still have a wondrous effect!

Though we will not be able to visibly “see” each other, the Spirit knows of the bond established and will be present among us, regardless.  As PSALM. 95 says, “If TODAY You should Hear His Voice, harden not your Hearts“.

+Blessings and Peace – Theresa    PS – for Instructions on Centering Prayer, you can find a free pdf at  http://www.cpt.org/files/WSCentering Prayer.pdf

A Rule Of Life – Reflections for LENT

Greetings to All – As we enter Week 2 of LENT, I find it a good time to pause and look within, hoping to discern in just what ways I have been cooperating with the graces offered to me, thus far, this Lenten Season. As a person with many physical challenges and health concerns, A Rule of Life can sound quite intimidating.  Perhaps that word, Rule, just has too much baggage attached to it for modern ears. But, as our Desert Fathers have testified, it was never intended to sound so formal and obligatory. It was rather to be understood as a Guide; a simple Light for the Path of any sincere person seeking God.

So, just what relevance can a Rule of Life have for us today?  Well, for myself, I am participating in a free on-line e-Course discussing just that Subject.  Today’s Lesson invited all to reflect on our relationship with God through prayer.  I share it with you below. If you find it of some benefit for yourselves, as well, feel free to copy it, share it,  or comment about it.  Day by Day, I find it’s a Course that can really Grow on you!

Blessings and Peace,

+ Theresa  (Hermits of The Holy Cross)

Transcript for GrowRule @ SSJE.ORG :  FEB 20Saturday

In this phase, we’ve been exploring our relationship with God. We hope you have enjoyed it and we hope you have found something sustaining and inviting. And we’d like to invite you now to sit down and spend some time reflecting on your relationship with God in prayer, and reflecting on ways in which you can help sustain and develop and grow and deepen that relationship with God to be able to know more deeply that gift of life, which is Jesus’ promise to us. Rather like a garden, plants do need space to grow and our lives are often so incredibly busy that for many people prayer is the first thing to go when there are many other demands on our time. But if that does happen, life becomes even more stressful and difficult. So I would like to invite you to reflect on how you can give your life of prayer more space to grow and develop, and to think of particular ways and particular practices that perhaps you can adopt to enable prayer to take root more deeply in your life and that you may bear fruit to God’s glory.

– Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Your Suffering Has Meaning

For all who study and teach Scripture, our encounter with the Living Word will bear fruit in the lives of countless others.

by: Bro. Mark

I have been contemplating that God actually helps others through me when I study and read Scripture in a prayerful manner. How wonderful this is. That the grace and energies that flow through us during Lectio Divina can bring that same grace and energy to help others in ways we may never know. This brings me a great deal of hope as I try to find alternative ways in my disability to minister to others. My Reading Scripture can help others. Who would of ever thought that this would or could be the case. For those of us with physical disabilities that prevent us from having an active ministry, this can be a wonderful alternative. Of course, Lectio Divina should be a part of our monastic spirituality, but now we know not only ourselves can be effected and benefit by it. Others, through the grace it produces will also be benefited. What a wonderful gift this is for us who are physically limited. It is a tremendous blessing. It seems to me, God can use any means for us to grow closer to Him and this growth spreads to our neighbors. We may never see this growth happening in the lives of our neighbors, but when we get to Heaven we will learn how much we assisted God. So, remain strong in your infirmities and your disabilities. God is with us, using us any way He can. The more we try to grow closer to God the more He can work through us. It’s all in our intentions and desires. We can be stuck in bed all day long with great limitations but still become great Saints. Our heart and desire can create such great graces and positive energies. This grace can bring others healing and strength. I can’t emphasize enough that all of us with disabilities have a purpose in life. We, too, participate in Gods creation. Our sufferings have meaning. More graces and positive energies spring to life through these sufferings. Suffering becomes the gateway to life because Christ Jesus has made it so when He hung on the Cross for all of us. There are many who try to put those of us with disabilities away in institutions and “special homes”. They try to say we have no purpose or meaning in life, but this is far from the case. The suffering that stems from our disabilities produce positive results because God has blessed it. So, please remain hopeful and know your sufferings have meaning. Your life has meaning. Don’t ever listen to those who try to put you down, or try to convince you that your life has no meaning. It surely does have meaning. Through the suffering and crucifixion of Christ Jesus, suffering now has meaning and produces graces greater than we can ever imagine. My prayer for each of us is, that we remain strong with our heads held high and carry on with growing closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
God bless you this day. Please keep the Hermits of St. Giles in your prayers that we too will grow more and more closer to our loving Savior.
Your brother,

DAY 18 – How Should One Pray?

Abba Macarius was asked, “How should one pray?” The old man said, “There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one’s hands and say, ‘Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy.’ And if the conflict grows fiercer, say, ‘Lord, help!’ He knows very well what we need, and he shows us his mercy.”

Yesterday was about Surrender and I took it seriously. I sat with myself pondering all the false support systems I had surrounded myself with to ensure a certain feeling of safety, like I had somehow secured for myself a place where I could feel protected.  I suppose prolonged illness brings that fear to the surface.  I  know where everything is.  I know I have my little attachments. My coffee cup handy, etc.  I know how to connect with friends or buy stuff via the internet and social media.  Nothing out of the ordinary, right?  No terrible sins in any of that.  But today, in This Saying, I stood accused.  I asked God’s Mercy, like the Abba said to do, but realized that I still had not given up “relying on” any of those little attachments, just in case God wasn’t going to answer my prayer today.

Now I’m not saying we can’t have our favorite cup of coffee or any of those other things.  What I’m saying is that our mind, when focused on those little things, relying on them, cannot simultaneously be as open and receptive to God.  Divided attention weakens the will.  It’s that simple.

So Today, I ask myself to try to be aware  of how much of my psyche and my emotional self is invested in those things that seem so innocent, but represent far more than what they seem to. It is that level of investment, of reliance upon, that I challenge myself with today.  It is of that level of investment that I repent and ask God to show Mercy.

May God Grant Mercy To Us All,

+ a Disciple of Jesus (HHC)

DAY 14 – More Desert Wisdom

“A hunter in the desert saw Abba Anthony enjoying himself with the brethren and he was shocked. Wanting to show that it was necessary sometimes to meet the needs of the brethren, the old man said to him, ‘Put an arrow in your bow and shoot it.’ So he did. The old man then said, ‘Shoot another,’ and he did so. Then the old man said, ‘Shoot yet again,’ and the hunter replied, ‘If I bend the bow so much, I will break it.’ Then the old man said, ‘It is the same with the work of God. If we stretch the brethren beyond measure they will soon break. Sometimes it is necessary to come down and meet their needs.’ When he heard these words, the hunter was pierced by compunction, and greatly edified by the old man, he went away. As for the brethren, they went home strengthened.”

How many times in a day or week does it feel like this bow of ours called, Life, is about to break from having been stretched too far?  Whether by pain or pressure, by financial difficulties or family matters, we can each relate to the needing of a break to just relax a bit and lay back from the heaviness responsibility or sickness brings.  Life and all it involves was not unknown to Jesus or to any of His disciples, either.  They, too, had to find time and ways to take a break; from the crowds, the endless traveling, and the heat and hunger they faced each day.

When the hunter inquired of the Abba, he was left edified by the Abba’s reply and both he AND the brethren went away strengthened.  As hermits of St. Giles in this desert wilderness of suffering, we can empathize with our brothers and sisters who have the same challenges, of course, but also with those who have different challenges in life, simply because we are all human beings who have chosen to be on this Journey with Christ, following His lead and trying to remain open to the grace offered us at every moment.

So, today, let us all be edified by the encouraging words of Abba Anthony and take time for a true Sabbath Rest, giving thanks to God for the many blessings we do have.  And tomorrow, we just might find that a bit of that Rest remains with us all, as we once again go out to face the new day.

God’s Peace be upon you All,

+a Disciple of Jesus (HHC)

Disability & Spiritual Warfare

“Taking control” of our lives is often associated with freedom and independence. However, when one finds himself in the grip of disability and illness, control is the first gift that is sacrificed. Control is relinquished with great suffering at the heart of our emotions. We loose a great deal of our independence and our freedom. Our will is humbled. Our pride sliced in half by the invisible sword, not because we have deserved it, but because we have been chosen. Those who suffer from long term illness and disability have received the privileged gift of being a spiritual warrior if we choose to accept it. Our broken bodies and/or our broken minds are offered up for the good of our soul and dare I say it for all of humanity. God always comes with good purpose and good intent especially when it is veiled in brokenness. He calls the broken to be leaders on this journey of life. Our leadership is not to be found on the physical plane but more on the spiritual plane. St. Paul pleads with Christ Jesus three times to spare him of his affliction. Christ says to Paul however, “My grace is sufficient for you, Paul.” (2Cor ch12v8) Many commentators have argued over the years just what type of affliction Paul had. They came to the conclusion that it was an affliction to his eyes. After his encounter with the Christ, the Anointed One, Paul was blinded for three days. Just as Christ Jesus was entombed for three days so too was Paul entombed in darkness for three days. (Acts ch9v9) It was the power of Christ Jesus through the hands of Peter that the scales fell from his eyes and his sight was restored. The broken are called to show those who are struggling in this world the strength of God’s compassion, love and mercy. God’s healing shines through the brokenness of our bodies. We do not “put the light that shines from a lantern under a bushel basket, but place it on a lamp stand that all may see from its brightness.” (Matt ch5 v15) We were chosen by God. We would not usually chose to be disabled or suffer a long term illness, for brokenness always yearns to be made whole. I found myself fighting against my reality of disability and suffering for many years. But for my spirit, the part of my being that lasts forever, I saw the physical brokenness as weakness. But, in fact, it is just the opposite. Brokenness is strength in the eyes of God. When the soldier pierced the side of Christ Jesus blood and water began to flow from His side and the Church, the family of God, took root and bloomed. All was made whole in this, the greatest act of brokenness and lose of control. What does it mean that “all was made whole” when all we see around us is brokenness in our physical world? When we begin to view our world through the eyes of the spirit we begin to live in the eternal. We see the eternal within the brokenness of our disability and within the suffering that accompanies it. The disabled and the long suffering are indeed warriors of the spirit. We are chosen out of the many to lead in spiritual warfare. Maybe today is the day you pick up your sword and ride into the realms of the spirit where all will be made whole again. Remember, there is purpose in disability, in long term-illness. There redemptive qualities reside in the realm of the spirit and the corporeal works of mercy. If you question the reason why you are disabled or are suffering so much with illness contemplate the spirit. Your answers might just be found and you too become a spiritual warrior.
Pax et Bonum,
Bro. Mark
Hermits of St. Giles