Those of you who watched “The Journey Home” last night on EWTN probably spotted the announcement that Brother Rex Anthony Norris will be on next week’s show. Brother Rex of course, is my friend the blogging Franciscan hermit up in Portland, Maine, who I have written about previously. I’m honored to serve on the board of Friends of Little Portion Hermitage (FLPH), which has been set up to establish a permanent hermitage for him and his successors, and we’re looking forward to seeing him on TV as the kick-off to our social media campaign.
For those of you on Twitter, I ask you to please follow the FLPH account @WithTheHermit; for those on Facebook, please “like” our Facebook page for FLPH. And if you want to bookmark the FLPH website, there’s a section where you can leave prayer requests for Brother Rex for your intentions; he tells me he is already receiving some wonderful ones from around the world. Not only do we feature short, inspirational posts from Brother Rex several times during the day, but in the weeks to come I think you’ll be very pleased to see some of the content that is about to be added – so you will definitely want to stick around!
Yesterday happened to be the feast of the hermit St. Stephen of Mar Saba – probably not a name that leaps to mind when you think of some of the more prominent saints in the Church. Stephen was the nephew of the great doctor of the Church St. John Damascene, and entered the monastic life at a young age with the encouragement of his uncle. At the age of 24, Stephen asked his abbot whether he could have permission to go off and be a hermit, since he felt drawn to the eremitic life. The abbot agreed, only on the condition that on the weekends, Stephen would make himself available to counsel others and serve as a spiritual director.
As a result, Stephen placed a sign on the door of his cell, which read: “Forgive me, Fathers, in the name of the Lord, but please do not disturb me, except on Saturdays and Sundays.”
Fortunately for us, Brother Rex lets us disturb him a little more often than that! But we hope to be able to give him the space he needs to be able to continue praying for all of us as he pursues the life of a hermit, one rich in prayer and poor in almost everything else. As we approach next week’s Journey Home episode, I hope you’ll consider joining us in this effort.