It is not easy to speak of the "spirituality of hermits", since hermits, like religious orders, exist in many variants. There is a clear difference between the life of a hermit in the desert, who does not speak to anyone for months, and the life of a "mere loner living in a hermitage-place of pilgrimage", as Father Theo calls himself. To put it simply, the spirituality of Notre Dame de Colombier rests on three pillars: Catholicism, monasticism, and silence.
First pillar: Catholicism
The first pillar is that of faith in Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church.
The hermit lives from the Sacred Scripture and the Sacraments. Holy Scripture is the Bible, read and ruminated day by day. The Psalms and the Gospel occupy an especially important place. The sacraments are rites of the Church that Christ Himself instituted to make and keep His love present among and in people. The adoration of the Eucharist - the Body of Christ hidden under the form of bread - is also part of the fixed prayers in the chapel / hermitage. In addition, the sacrament of penance and reconciliation plays a great role in the life of the hermit.
Second pillar: Monasticism
The second pillar could be called monastic spirituality in general.
"Monastic" is the adjective of the name "monk". Monastic could be translated: "in the manner of the monks." The monks have a number of things in common because of the fact that all Christian monasteries ultimately have the same origin: the "Fathers of the Desert.” Their way of thinking and acting is characterized by common sense. The hermit desires to live at the Source, to go radically at the heart of things, not without humour, and by trying to surrender entirely to God. As with the desert fathers, spiritual leadership by an "elder" is vitally important to grow in his vocation. In this respect, the words and ideas of the Fathers of the Desert play a great role.
Another typical element of the monk's life is the "Office" or "Liturgy of the Hours". These words designate a succession of times of prayer which cover the whole day, and which make it "sanctified", as it is said nicely. The heart of this Liturgy of Hours is the biblical book of Psalms, which is sung in its entirety, and which is completed by hymns, intercessory prayers, readings and responses. As with all monks, life at the hermitage consists of an alternation of choral prayer and work. The times of prayer in the chapel, accessible to the public are:
3:45 a.m. Matins *
6:30 a.m. Lauds * (07H30 Sunday and solemnities)
8:00: a.m. Terce and Eucharist (08H30 Sunday and solemnities)
12:00 p.m. Sext*
2:15 p.m. None *
5 p.m. Vespers*
8:15 p.m. Compline *
* Depending on the occasion or by appointment in the chapel open to the public, or in the hermitage in private; always check the calendar on the website.
Public prayer times may be cancelled depending on the circumstances. Please excuse the hermit if he ever forgets to announce it.
Third pillar: Silence
The third pillar is unquestionably silence.
Silence is indispensable for a hermit and for the monastic life. It is only in silence that we can listen to the breath of the Spirit and the word of God. This place of solitude "Notre Dame de Colombier" would like to be for everyone who stops there an oasis where the soul drinks in the permeating Presence of God.
"Listen, O my son, to the teacher's teaching,
open the ear of your heart! "
(See the first words of the Rule of Saint Benedict for the monks).
Above all, we are invited not just to be silent but to listen. It is because God is Word that men are silent. For us, pilgrims of God in this place, to be silenced by listening, to give up too much external communication, to say no to the noises that overwhelm us in order to taste the Peace of God ... what a Gift awaits us.
Therefor the second call of the Lord is for Father Theo "to be in silence with Him who is". This is why a deafening silence rises from Notre Dame de Colombier proclaiming that God is present in the human heart. Before being found in the desert, long before being found in solitude and silence, the hermit-life proclaims that the true desert is in us, in our souls. And that is why Notre Dame de Colombier wants to be a haven of peace through the witness of silence.