IT IS A TYPICAL NEW ENGLAND, winter day: overcast skies and temperatures hovering above freezing. Inside, our well-heated monastery makes for a cozy home, taking most of the effects of winter off our minds as we live another day of contemplative, monastic life near the Blessed Sacrament.
Given the comforts of modern living, even within amonastery, it is easy to forget that our Maronite monastic roots began, not only with the inconveniences of living in the deserts of ancient Syria during the fourth and fifth centuries, but the added choice of spending much of that time exposed to the elements.
Our father in faith, St Maron, and a number of his early disciples, both men and women, lived as open-air hermits, a unique form of monasticism even in its day. As our Maronite Calendar takes us through their feasts, beginning with that of St Maron on February 9, and going through several of his immediate disciples in the following weeks (curiously enough, during some of the least pleasant days of the year), we can reflect on their lives and the relevance they have for us today.
Nearly all we know about St Maron comes from scarcely a single page written about him by Bishop Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393–466AD). READ MORE