“Set among the pine trees along a stretch of the Black River in northern New Jersey is a foundation of Catholic hermits. Known as the Bethlehem Hermitage, they live in what is called a laura – a colony of separate dwellings situated at some distance from each other around a chapel and central house. Their life is one of prayer and penance, silence and solitude. Abandoned to the will of God, they live at the heart of the church, gaining for all the world the many graces which flow from the Heart of the Word.”
-Notes from the Desert – A Canticle of Prayer by Deacon Joseph Moscinski
The spirituality of the Hermits of Bethlehem is based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ as lived in the spirits and teaching of the Desert Fathers and Mothers of the early church. The desert wilderness experience is the realm of the human heart. It puts one in touch with the reality of the false self and truth of God. The hermit is led by Jesus, the Lord of the Desert, to wait and to listen in silence to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit, and to find there in the forging and healing love of God the Father.
Jesus, gentle and humble of Heart, You are the bread of life; help me to live my life hidden in Your Eucharistic Heart in the Presence of our Father united in the love and power of Your Holy Spirit.
Give me a listening heart, a heart to love You for Your own Sake, to love You in myself, and to love You in my brothers and sisters as You have loved.
Consume me in the fire of Your Love.
Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word and my Mother, you are the first “house of bread.”
Help me to live in perfect love by being: the bread of Humility and Abandonment to the Father’s Will; the bread of Sincerity and Truth, the bread of Purity of Heart; the bread of Word and Eucharist; the bread of Simplicity, Poverty and Littleness; the bread of Silence and Solitude; the bread of Prayer and Contemplation; the bread of Reconciliation and Peace; the bread of Interior and Joyful Suffering; the bread of Charity and Desert Hospitality, broken and offered with Jesus to the merciful Father and shared for the salvation of the world.
Holy Mary, Lady of Bethlehem, Queen of the Desert, guide me in the journey of the Spirit that, together with you, I may participate in the wedding feast of the Risen Lamb until at last I may sing an eternal Magnificat of Love and Praise, face to Face, before our All-Holy Triune God. Amen.
We are called to live in the mysteries of Christ, hidden in His wounded Heart before the Father. We live an eremitic, contemplative, sacrificial life, as provided under Canon 603, in the silence of solitude, separated from the world (in order to be more present to its spiritual needs), and consecrated by public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Nurtured on the Bread of the Word and the Bread of the Eucharist, we become bread for the Church and the world, praying especially for priests, deacons, seminarians and religious and for the unity and sanctity of family life in union with Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word.