Someone I know says that he has never seen a picture of Holy Souls Hermitage rising up above the forest floor at the top of a ridge in these Blue Mountains, these Smoky Mountains. In the above slideshow we are, of course, looking due East.
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is no longer there. No tabernacle, no altar, no angels, all gone. In October 2019, I will have been in the parish here for six years. There was urgent movement being made on selling the property underneath the hermitage for quite a while. It’s a little less urgent right now. Off the market, in fact.
I still go out to the hermitage every week for a “day off”, even if only for minutes, so that I can tell my Vicar Forane that, yes, I’m taking care of myself, taking a “Day Off.” He likes when the priests in his vicariate in the diocese get a bit of a change of pace, a change of scenery, some recreation. I often end up doing lots of “priest stuff” as I mysteriously call it, driving the curious batty as they try to figure out what “priest stuff” is. But the hermitage is a welcome refuge.
What happens at the hermitage for those minutes or hours? Target practice with timers are variously placed and sized targets, sometimes moving targets on ropes or whatever, takes up some of the time. The Vicar and I just spoke, in fact, about what kind of ammo I got yesterday. Just boring ammo: Federal brass 9mm FMJ 115 grain target practice ammo.
Sometimes it’s reading some complex email communications. Sometimes some more complex phone calls are made. Sometimes just a bit of quiet with the Lord. Always the Angelus many times for the bishop and priests of the diocese.
Always I try to look around for flowers for the Immaculate Conception. The joyful appreciation of Jesus’ good creation with the end of having the joy of giving Jesus’ good mom a flower is, how to say it, a simple joy, always, every time.
If I have enough time, today I plan to read Pope Francis’ letter to priests. The best laid plans of mice and men and donkeys like me are often laughed at by the Lord. But, we will see what happens. There may be other “priest stuff” to do today. But I would really like to get to this letter. It may be that a return letter, a response, equally public, may be in order. Have you read that letter? Any ideas on that?
/////////// Later… I made it to the hermitage. Some prayers were said. Some target practice was accomplished. First thing, 25 feet out, 7″ pie plate, six rounds in 1.74 seconds, and accurate. Later, two to the body, one to the head in 1.27 seconds. Both flukes, though. I’m not that good. Far from it.
Here’s what the window looks like now:
2:30 pm… I read up to paragraph 8 of the Pope’s letter to priests and had to stop. This may take more exegesis than I can do on my phone. Anyone with comments on paragraph 8?
A bit more target practice. Then it’s off to visit a few people, check the UPS store, and then do some priest stuff….