October 29 is Hermit Day, and I’m definitely celebrating! We’ve had a lot of stuff going on recently and some family came up for the weekend, so now I’m ready to relax . . . alone! Of course, not everyone likes to be alone, and sometimes those that do need to get out more (some weeks I need to preach this to myself), so handle this holiday with care.
The first hermits are a rather interesting bunch to me. Shortly after Christianity became legal, it started to become popular, and many religious men and women found that their times of prayer and meditation constantly interrupted. Some of them withdrew from society to worship in private. These were the first hermits.
They lived in caves and on mountains, in small huts in the woods and (my favorite) on top of columns. Yes, a few of these hermits got so fed up of people following them that they actually climbed pillars and lived there, away from the distractions and temptations on the ground. There they would fast and pray, sometimes for years at a time. Simeon the Stylite (the Elder) is said to have lived on a one square meter platform for thirty seven years, where children passed occasionally passed food to him.
After thinking about that for a bit, you might be grateful that this holiday only lasts for a day!
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”