giovedì 2 ottobre 2014

The Asketerion

The Hermitage of the Three Holy Hierarchs is pleased to announce that the online journal of the Hermitage, The Asketerion, has been launched, and includes a new blog as well as feature articles, a prayer requests page and

venerdì 6 settembre 2013

Praying for Peace

"To some men peace merely means the liberty to exploit other people without fear of retaliation or interference. To others peace means the freedom to rob others without interruption. To still others it means the leisure to devour the goods of the earth without being compelled to interrupt their pleasures to feed those whom their greed is starving. And to practically everybody peace simply means the absence of any physical violence that might cast a shadow over the lives devoted to the satisfaction of their animal appetites for comfort and pleasure.

Many men like these have asked God for what they thought was “peace” and wondered why their prayer was not answered. They could not understand that it actually was  answered. God left them with what they desired, for ideas of peace were only another form of war.

…instead of hating the people you think are warmakers, hate the appetites and the disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed—but hate these things in yourself, not in another."

T. Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, p. 122.

sabato 9 marzo 2013


"We are not satisfied with the life we have in ourselves and our own being. We want to lead an imaginary life in the eyes of others, and so we try to make an impression. We strive constantly to embellish and preserve our imaginary being, and neglect the real one. And if we are calm, or generous or loyal, we are anxious to have it known so that we can attach these virtues to our other existence; we prefer to detach them from our real self so as to unite them with the other. We would cheerfully be cowards if that would acquire us a reputation for bravery. How clear a sign of the nullity of our own being!"

From Christianity for Modern Pagans, Pascal's Pensées, Edited, outlined and explained by Peter Kreeft. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1993, p.79

domenica 3 marzo 2013

Hermitage prayer for this period interregnum 

Let all who love their words come together and honour with hymns
the three luminaries of the light-creating Trinity:
Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian,
and renowned John Chrysostom,
who have enlightened the world with the rays of their divine doctrines,
and are mellifluous rivers of wisdom
who have watered all creation with streams of divine knowledge;
they ever intercede with the Trinity for us.

---The Troparion of the Three Holy Hierarchs (Tone 1)

O God and Lord of the Powers, and Maker of all creation, Who, because of Thy clemency and incomparable mercy, didst send Thine Only-Begotten Son and our Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of mankind, and with His venerable Cross didst tear asunder the manuscript of our sins, and thereby didst conquer the rulers and powers of darkness; receive from us sinful people, O merciful Master, these prayers of gratitude and supplication, and deliver us from every destructive and gloomy transgression, and from all visible and invisible enemies who seek to injure us. Nail down our flesh with fear of Thee, and let not our hearts be inclined to words or thoughts of evil, but wound our souls with Thy love, that ever contemplating Thee, being enlightened by Thee, and discerning Thee, the unapproachable and everlasting Light, we may unceasingly render confession and gratitude to Thee: The eternal Father, with Thine Only-Begotten Son, and with Thine All-Holy, Gracious, and Life-Giving Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Along with the Three Holy Hierarchs: We believe and confess, O Lord, without any hesitation at all, that Thou hast promised a continuous duration to Thy Church while the world lasts—and we confess before Thee, that we are in no doubt or trouble whatever, we have not a shadow of misgiving as to the permanence and the spiritual well-being either of Thy Church itself or of its rulers. Nor do we know what is best for Thy Church, and for the interests of the Catholic faith, and for the Pope, or the bishops throughout the world at this time. We leave the event entirely to Thee; we do so without any anxiety, knowing that everything must turn to the prosperity of Thy ransomed possession, even though things may look threatening for a season. Only we earnestly entreat that Thou wouldest give Thy own servant and representative, the Pope, true wisdom and courage, and fortitude, and the consolations of Thy grace in this life, and a glorious immortal crown in the life to come. Amen.

For the intention of the Cardinals that they may be open to and guided by the Holy Spirit during the conclave: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.

Three Holy Hierarchs, pray for Christ's Bride, the Church, Amen.



martedì 26 febbraio 2013

"Let no one, I beg, spread false reports about me and my lords the bishops, as though they had proclaimed another bishop in my place against my will. But being in great need, owing to my feeble health, and fearing the responsibility of a Church neglected, I asked this favour of them, which was not opposed to the Canon Law, and was a relief to me, that they would give a Pastor to the Church... If any be of opinion that it is not right to ordain another in the lifetime of a Bishop, let him know that he will not in this matter gain any hold upon us...." (St Gregory of Nazianzus, Epistle CLXXXII).

We pray for Benedict XVI. We are guided by his wisdom as we have been through his papacy. We thank God for him as our Pope, and we pray for his peace and nearness to God in his last years.

sabato 15 settembre 2012

"O my brother, the contemplative is the man not who has fiery visions of the cherubim carrying God on their imagined chariot, but simply he who has risked his mind in the desert beyond language and beyond ideas where God is encountered in the nakedness of pure trust, that is to say in the surrender of our poverty and incompleteness in order no longer to clench our minds in a cramp upon themselves, as if thinking made us exist. The message of hope the contemplative offers you, then, brother, is not that you need to find your way through the jungle of language and problems that today surround God: but that whether you understand or not, God loves you, and is present in you, lives in you, dwells in you, calls you, saves you and offers you an understanding and light which are like nothing you ever found in books or heard in sermons. The contemplative has nothing to tell you except to reassure you and say that if you dare to penetrate your own silence and risk the sharing of that solitude with the lonely other who seeks God through you, then you will truly recover the light and capacity to understand what is beyond words and beyond explanations because it is too close to be explained: it is the intimate union in the depths of your own heart, of God's spirit and your own secret inmost self, and so that you and He are in all truth One Spirit. I love you, in Christ."

from Thomas Merton, The Hidden Ground of Love

martedì 27 marzo 2012

A hermit "is"...

We rarely question the value of religious orders when they teach, nurse, or even make honey. The notion of the hermit is a trickier one. What "is" a hermit? The Russian classic, The Pilgrim Continues His Way, has a succinct 'job description'. A hermit discusses three of his roles.

The first is in analyzing and contemplating his moral existence. It behooves the hermit to meditate on the interior life, to theologize if he is a theologian, and to share his insights with others, in written or spoken forms.

The second is that the hermit is an example-- and this may be even truer in today's secular and fast-paced society. The hermit throws a gauntlet of solitude, prayerfulness and holiness down at the feet of a world which seems to be rejecting such notions, even as it most desperately needs them.

The third is to lead by moral example, shunning sin. St Isaac of Syria is quoted in the book: "It is better for you to free yourself from the bonds of sin than to free slaves from bondage."

But, for the priest hermit-monk of this hermitage, there is an even more central charism, and that is the endeavour and fruitfulness of prayer. The Divine Liturgy and Office are prayed daily, each with a specific intention-- sometimes requested by people far away, sometimes regarding a global concern, sometimes about something close to home, sometimes abstract, sometimes specific.

Every time we are united to the heavenly liturgy something changes here on earth. Here at the hermitage the belief in the power of prayer is strong. The good that it will do is unquantifiable by human hands, but anything is possible through the grace of God.

According to St. Basil the Christian life is to become prayer, and prayer is to enliven life: "Thus you will pray without ceasing; if you pray not only in words, but unite yourself to God through all the course of life and so your life is made one ceaseless and uninterrupted prayer" (Migne, PG 31, 244; St. Basil, “Homily in Honour of St. Julitta,” nn. 3-4). 

So what is a hermit? A living prayer....
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