Solitude of a Saint

GB | ET Student

Intimacy with God. It’s harder now more than ever to separate from life’s distractions to get good “Jesus time.” The Holy Island of Lindisfarne has been a place of refuge and pilgrimage for years due to its ability to give those who visit the solitude they may be seeking.   

Saint Cuthbert (634- 687 AD) lived on the island for years first as Prior, and eventually as  Bishop. After his time as Prior, Cuthbert sought solitude off the main island, first onto a land mass near the Northern coast line. He desired a simple lifestyle as a hermit along with surroundings that allowed for intimate opportunities with God. This did not come without challenge.  

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Cuthbert’s first place of attempted hermitage. | Photo by Greta Benson

For Cuthbert, the first island he moved to was far too close to the mainland for him to fully get away from the public. When the tide descended, people walked to him. He graciously took these people in, but soon relocated to Farne Island farther from the coast line. It is said that he fought against spiritual warfare but was content with his private time with God. Cuthbert remained on Farne Island for years until he was elected and persuaded to become the Bishop of Lindisfarne.

As one who visited this beautiful place for a short time, I would fully support the notion that God is doing something special around there. I took it upon myself to find some solitude while I was on the island in light of learning about Cuthbert’s dedication. We are not in anyway required to become hermits on secluded islands, but I think God appreciates us coming to him, alone and intentional in any setting. For me, this was a walk of prayer and reflection along the shore line. The business of life often gets in the way of good quality time with our creator. Some avoid the intimate time for fear of conviction and guilt — I know I have. I do not believe that solitude is running away from reality, but rather facing it head on. Cuthbert’s dedication through his whole life can continue to encourage us.

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