I have spent 3 weeks in my hermitage up in Busay mountain. Today, being Sunday, I am down in the city to have lunch with my confreres of the Redemptorist Community in Cebu. I actually came down last night, with a backpack on my back and a head-lamp to light my way. I arrived in the monastery at 9:30 pm.
Whenever I spend time in my hermitage, I have always made it part of the rhythm of my eremitical life to come down on Sundays and join the Redemptorist community for lunch and dinner. Besides having a good meal, this is my way of expressing my connection with the community. It reminds me that even if I live alone most of the week, I am not isolated - I am part of a religious community. My vocation is not to a lifetime of total solitude and silence, but to be a member of the community - my religious community, the Redemptorist. My period of solitude as a part-time or occasional hermit is meant to re-energize me so that I can go back to my community and ministry with a renewed dynamism.
This coming week, I will be coming down from the mountain more often to join the gathering of the senior Redemptorists (age 50-65) on Tuesday and Thursday, for the profession of two new Redemptorists (Friday), and the common celebration of Redemptorist jubilarians (Saturday). But I will still going back to the hermitage at night.
Three weeks have gone fast very quickly, I still have 2 more weeks before I go back to my community in Davao. I am really enjoying my time in the mountain. I have more time to pray and reflect. More time for biking and running. The manuscript for my book in ecclesiology is almost finished.
I have also read some books - these are my companions in the hermitage:
Charles de Foucauld, Thomas Merton, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, John Henry Newman, Gerard Hughes, John Paul II, Edward Daly, the Dalai Lama.