The Meaning of the Eremitical Life in the Church

Eremitical life is, under certain aspects, the most complete form of monastic life and in this sense it is under the sign of gift….

More clearly than other forms of monastic life, eremitical life is a sign of liberty. Let us quote Dom Jean Leclercq who so well expressed that “the hermit is the person who, in the Church, is united to God with a minimum of structure.” The hermit’s vocation is “the greatest paradox: a vocation to practice without obedience to a superior, charity without brothers, and apostolate without action.” He liberates himself of the law by going beyond it: the hermit “who prays unceasingly, spontaneously, in the solitude of his cell is free from the rule of a prayer that is limited, collective, and obligatory to which the cenobites are commonly held.”

Marlene Weisenbeck FSPA, Ph.D., J.C.L. “Guidebook to Eremitic Life” Diocese of La Crosse, Office of Consecrated Life August 1997; revised November 2000: 69
Jean LeClercq, OSB (31 January 1911, Avesnes – 27 October 1993 Clervaux) also known as Dom Jean Leclercq was a Benedictine monk, and author of a classic study on Lectio Divina and the history of inter-monastic dialogue. His books include “Alone With God” (2008), a guide to the hermit way of life, based on the teaching of Blessed Paul Giustiniani. The book outlines the hermit’s vocation, his role in the church, the hermit life, the hermit prayer, his asceticism and how Universal Love is the Ultimate Goal.
alone with god


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