How do hermits benefit the Church?
Hermits benefit the Church through their prayers for the Church. The power of individuals whose lives are close to God is made clear in Scripture:
- . . . and then God remembered Noah and all the animals, wild and tame, that were with him in the ark. So God made a wind sweep over the earth, and the waters began to subside (Gen. 8:1).
- Thus it came to pass: when God destroyed the Cities of the Plain, he was mindful of Abraham by sending Lot away from the upheaval by which God overthrew the cities where Lot had been living (Gen. 19:29).
- For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham. He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy (Psalm 105:42-43).
- God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jaco. (Exod. 2:24).
- The Lord saw that there was no one, and was appalled that there was none to intervene (Isa. 59:16).
- Thus I have searched among them for someone who could build a wall or stand in the breach before me to keep me from destroying the land; but I found no one (Ezek. 22:30).
- As for me, far be it from me to sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you and to teach you the good and right way (1 Sam. 12:23).
And then, of course, there is the example of the great prophets of the Old Testament who prayed and interceded for the people of Israel.
Hermits stand as an example of emptying oneself for the sake of the gospel and intercede for us in the Church.
Without always professing the three evangelical counsels publicly, hermits "devote their life to the praise of God and salvation of the world through a stricter separation from the world, the silence of solitude and assiduous prayer and penance" (Catechism, 920).
They manifest to everyone the interior aspect of the mystery of the Church, that is, personal intimacy with Christ. Hidden from the eyes of men, the life of the hermit is a silent preaching of the Lord, to whom he has surrendered his life simply because he is everything to him. Here is a particular call to find in the desert, in the thick of spiritual battle, the glory of the Crucified One (Catechism, 921).