Saturday, the 28th week of Ordinary Time
Mass at noon: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday - Thursday at 7p
Saturday at 5:00 - Sunday at 9:00 and 11:15am
When the people gather for prayer, all are welcome.
Saint of the day - Hilarion
Readings for today’s Mass
The purpose for the rigors of aestheticism is a personal and private spiritual journey of prayer. Hermits seek God by ridding themselves of distractions that get in the way of prayer. To this end, it is important they they find a place of Solitude. Remote caves and desert sites were popular choices. This freed them of urban distractions and kept other people away because of the arduous trek to their camp and no place to stay once they got there. This didn't always work out as many people wanted to learn from the hermits.
Fasting was part of the hermits life; believing that physical discomfort could be a distraction from carnal desires and other sins of the flesh. In his biography of Hilarion, St Jerome describes his diet as "a half a pint of lentils moistened with cold water, and after three years he switched to dry bread with salt and water. Eventually, perceiving his sight to grow dim and his body to be subject to an itching with an unnatural roughness, he added a little oil to this diet."
As towns people found where the hermits lived, their need for solitude was frequently threatened. Moving to new and more remote places would have been difficult had they amassed a lot of baggage. Simplicity was the key to easy mobility when they needed to move. Hilarion had just a Bible. Again, from St. Jerome "He never washed his clothes, changed them only when they fell apart, and shaved his hair only once a year." Recall Jesus' words: "Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic or sandals, or walking stick." St Hilarion took these words to heart.
The purpose of all of this, of course, is to foster prayer. Hermits were after a profound spirituality and prayer that was not available to them in the rush of the city. That's what the common folk found attractive in their lifestyle.
In varying degrees, these practices are still around. They are seldom so severe and harsh as taken on by Hilarion. We still seek solitude. We call it a retreat. We still encourage fasting, especially during Lent. And how often do i find people longing for a simpler lifestyle? Perhaps if we spent more time seeking an abundant prayer life, those other things would fall into place as well. How are you doing with that these days?
“There is a mighty lot of difference between saying prayers and praying.” ~ John G. Lake