Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Inner Anchorite

If you could see the picture, it's called an "anchorhold". It's a small room or cell attached (or anchored) to a church. It has a window so that the one inside the room can hear Mass, receive communion, make Eucharistic adoration, etc., and another window where he can receive visitors.

The person inside the anchorhold is called an anchorite or an anchoress. His life is built upon prayer and fasting. I do think theirs is a hard life. Anchorites/anchoresses are locked inside, sometimes the door is too heavy to be opened, sometimes there is no door at all.

Their life is harsh and dull - this is according to the "worldly perspective." But with the eyes of faith, one can see a tremendous amount of treasure, and it's called love.
The anchorite entered out of love. He didn't enter the anchorhold simply to hide. He entered for a purpose. He is locked out of love for God. The anchorite then realizes the dream of the Psalmist: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of his life, to enjoy the sweetness of the Lord (Ps 27:4). Although physically caged, he is really flying with the wings of dove. He has made a new home in the desert (Ps 55: 6-7).

The anchorite has carried all the people in his heart. He is locked to intercede for them, just like Jesus. The anchorite imitates Jesus in great details. Blessed Charles de Foucauld said, "Imitation is the daughter, sister and mother of love." Thus, the anchorite dies to himself and lives solely for God.

These days, anchorites are very rare. But that doesn't mean the anchoritic spirit has died. In fact, Jesus is inviting all of us to be inner anchorites. Yes, all of us.

We anchor ourselves to that thing which makes us truly alive - His Heart. Yes, His Heart is the Church where we attach our anchorholds. And we are attached forever. There we gaze upon him day and night. And as we attend to our daily duties, at our work, study or household chores, we remain in our anchorholds. No one could convince us to go out; there are no door for we have resolved to remain in Jesus. The world couldn't see the enclosure, but the eyes of faith could see the radiant joy on our face. This is the fruit of being an inner anchorite: joy.

I can't help but think that heaven is like a huge Church and myriads of anchorholds are attached to It. There we gaze upon our Heavenly King - our Creator, our Father, our Beloved, our All - face to face! This time, joy is ineffable. Only those who have been in heaven could explain such joy. Amen.

May God bless you!


  1. A Beautiful Blog Worthy to be Followed

  2. I'm glad you liked my blog! God bless you!

  3. Where was the Anchorite's toilet? Who would feed them and wash their clothes?