Talking to Hermits

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.

Mar Saba Monastery, West Bank

Mar Saba Monastery, West Bank

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4 thoughts on “Talking to Hermits

  1. May the grace and peace of Christ be with you. I wish all success to the endeavor and blessings for Brother Rex in his ministry and life. It is interesting to me that clearly there is a Franciscan aspect to this (Little Portion ~ Porziuncola) . The Franciscan Rule of Hermitage was one which pointed to a time when friars withdrew for extended periods of time for prayer and contemplation, but the fraternal element was never left behind. Two or three others always accompanied the friar to “act as mothers.” But we Franciscans, if we are anything, are certainly flexible about these things. May the friends of Br. Rex “act as mothers” to help and, as St Francis wrote to St. Anthony, may all his endeavors not extinguish the “Spirit of prayer.”

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    • Thanks very much! And yes, Brother Rex spends a lot of time away in prayer, but he also reaches out to others and helps when he is needed. I hope we can continue to encourage and support him in is work.

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  2. Brother Rex uses the working of the Holy Spirit as a Spiritual Director and confonts those who ask for direction with the fact that their faith is like a precious gem that only one side is visible to the beholder. His job is to make us turn the gem to see the facets that we otherwise would remain oblivious to. May God continue to bless his ministry. Pax et Bonum, Deacon Jeff Lewis, Diocese of Portland, Maine.

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    • Deacon Lewis that’s a wonderful thing to write, and I can tell you from my experience you’re absolutely right. He sees straight through to the heart of things. Thanks for reading and for your support!

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