|The Call to Solitude
A Christian Solitary is someone called by God to share on friendly terms in the life of God, in solitude, the simplicity of "no-need" and silence. If such a person can live in a hermitage, physically and visibly set apart, that is something with which everyone can come to terms. But what if such a call comes to someone living an ordinary life on an urban street, with clear obligations to other people that cannot in all Christian charity be renounced? The call to solitary life does come to people so placed, and it is such people that the Fellowship of Solitaries hopes to help and encourage, because such official provision as exists, available only to Roman Catholics and requiring celibacy, is not likely to commend itself to those with a simple desire to seek God.
The life of the Christian solitary, whatever form it takes, is essentially something to which God calls - it is not a thing that anyone can choose for her- or himself. For the genuine solitary the perception of God is not likely to come through other people, nor is it likely that the call to the solitary life will come through another person, though someone may say something that sparks off in us the search which is the response to God's call. A change in the circumstances of life such as retirement, the loss of a life partner or a setback in health may be a spur. Our response to such a situation constitutes our prayer, whatever form it takes; perhaps the most important aspect of that prayer is openness to God so that we can be led where God wills - we none of us know where we may be led. It's rather like falling in love - it has the same element of adventure. Perhaps the genuine solitary falls in love with God. This kind of sharing in the life of God by people living ordinary lives is very little understood in Christian congregations today, where the norm is to be involved, to be ministering and to be seen to be ministering; anyone not involved is regarded as odd, deviant, defective.