Hermits are hard to come by these days.
The town of Saalfelden (Austria) recently advertised for a hermit to occupy the hermitage which is over three hundred and fifty years old and built into a cave just above Lichtenburg castle.
There are a few conditions though. You have to have a “Christian outlook”, cope with no heating and no running water, and be prepared to chat with the numerous visitors to the site.
Imagine the job interview:
“What makes you interested in this opportunity?”
“Well, I like my own company. I could use some peace and quiet right now. I have some spiritual work to do and this time of silence and contemplation is what I long for. I need to hear what God has to say to me.”
“That sounds great. There would be some deprivations – you know – like no heat, no running water. How would you cope with that?”
“I think I could manage that for the summer months, anyway. People have lived here like this before, right?”
“Right. Um, we have a few expectations.”
“Yes. We’d like you to look like a real hermit.”
“A real hermit?”
“You mean sackcloth and ashes and all that stuff?”
“Oh no. A twenty-first century hermit – long hair, jeans, ruddy complexion, but holy – you know what I mean?”
“Mm. Holy – I think I get it.”
“And – we need you to talk to the tourists.”
“Yep. Lots of them. They’ll be coming up the mountain in considerable numbers to meet the hermit.”
“Yes. And we’d expect our hermit to be chatty and approachable – good company. Do you think you could do that?”
“And talk with people about this spiritual place and the spiritual discoveries you are making.”
“And one final thing – we would like you to sign up with the Austrian Actors’ Guild. Would that be OK?”
It would seem that being a hermit is not exactly what it’s cracked up to be.