St Hesychius

(entered heaven some time in the fourth century)

Dear Zeke,

You probably feel so frazzled because you aren’t taking any time to spend alone with God in reflection, prayer, and silence.  If you don’t make a point of doing so at least every week (better to do it for a little while every day, but you can work up to that if you need to), who will?  If your life is to be harmonious, full of the beauty that God wants for you, you need to make some space for him to work with – just like the flute can make such sweet music because of the hollow space inside it.  If solitude and silence rank towards the top of the saints’ list of priorities, it’s for a reason.  You ought to learn from their example.   Take today’s saint, for instance.

He was a devoted disciple of another saint, the wonderworking St Hilarion, who founded a beloved and revered monastery in Palestine, where Hesychius first met him and studied the spiritual life under his guidance.  When the monastery in Palestine got too crowded, Hilarion sneaked away to Egypt with his young apprentice.  His fame preceded him, however, and his miracles continued to increase his popularity.  In hopes of a purer retirement from the noise and bustle of the world, Hilarion secretly departed Egypt and sailed to Sicily.  Hesychius was crushed.  He felt that he still needed the close guidance and attention of his spiritual master, and so he sought him up and down the coastlands of the eastern Mediterranean.  Finally, while he was in Greece, he heard rumors of a holy man who had appeared on Sicilian soil, and who performed marvelous miracles.  Much to the younger saint’s delight (and benefit), they were reunited, and from then on continued together their pursuit of perfect solitude and silence.  Wherever they went their example and wisdom encouraged Christians and inspired young men and women to give their lives wholly to Christ.  Soon Hesychius began to act as Hilarion’s envoy, visiting his brother monks back in Palestine and checking up on other groups of disciples.  By the time Hilarion died, Hesychius had been thoroughly schooled in sanctity.  He inherited Hilarion’s worldly goods (a few clothes and a book of the Gospels) and accompanied his master’s body back to the first monastery he had founded in Palestine, where he eventually passed away as well.

These two humble monks are the rule rather than the exception: time spent in prayerful, quiet reflection (always in accordance with one’s state in life – i.e. a family man would be off track if he spent five hours a day in the chapel, and a priest would be off track if he spent all his waking hours at his desk) fosters interior peace, joy, and union with God.  When you feel overly stressed or frazzled, the first thing you should do is check up on the quality of your quiet time.

God bless,

Uncle Eddy

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