The Lord commanded Abram, “Go forth out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and out of thy father’s house, and come into the land which I will show thee. And I will make thee great and bless thee and magnify thy name” (Gn 12:1). Commenting on this, Father Geiermann explains that it is good for a person to withdraw from the world, at least in spirit, from time to time. He writes: “These words the Almighty addressed to Abraham of old. He repeats them to every soul of good will. To be His devoted children we must withdraw at least in spirit from that world which is at enmity with God. We hearken to this invitation of the Lord by cultivating a spirit of retirement. This spirit consists (1) in being indifferent to the follies of the world; (2) in shunning notoriety; (3) in appearing in public only when actuated by some good reason.”
But, a temporary withdrawal for spiritual solitude is no escape from the troubles of life. Father Geiermann notes: “It is impossible to escape all suffering in this valley of tears. Our only choice in the matter is between the patient endurance of the sufferings Providence sends us, or the enforced endurance of the greater sufferings of our own choice. Patient endurance of the sufferings of life (1) gives stability of character; (2) grounds us in self-knowledge; (3) dispels delusions; (4) detaches us from things of earth; (5) broadens our sympathies for struggling mankind; (6) disposes us for the grace of God; and (7) leads to solid virtue and true spiritual progress. Patient endurance in the trials of life is facilitated (1) by not wasting our energies about the past; (2) by not worrying about the future; (3) by not magnifying our present trials; (4) by recalling the sufferings of Christ and His saints; (5) by cultivating conformity to the holy will of God.”
Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).