Hilarion lived in the fourth century. He was an unbelieving teenager when he left his home in Palestine. He was on his way to Egypt to go to school. There he learned about the Christian faith, and soon he was baptized. Hilarion was only about fifteen at the time. His conversion started him out on a glorious journey leading him closer to God. Before long, he was off to visit the famous St. Anthony in the desert. (We celebrate his feast on January 17.) Hilarion wanted to be alone to serve Jesus, whom he had just come to love.
Hilarion stayed two months with St. Anthony, but it was not quiet enough there for him. Many people came to St. Anthony for help. Hilarion could not find the peace he was looking for, so he left. After giving everything he had to the poor, he went into the wilderness to live as a hermit.
Hilarion had to battle many temptations. At times it seemed to him as if none of his prayers were heard at all. Yet he did not let these temptations stop him from praying even harder.
After twenty years in the desert, the holy man worked his first miracle. Soon many people began coming to his hut to beg his help. Several men asked him to let them stay with him to learn from him how to pray and do penance. In his great love for God and people, the saint invited them to stay. But finally, when he was sixty-five, he began to travel. He went from one country to another in search of peace and quiet. However, the fame of his miracles of mercy always brought crowds of visitors. A few years before his death in 371, Hilarian at last felt that he was truly alone with God. He was eighty years old when he died.
The value of solitude was well known to this saint. Is there a time in my day when I can be alone with God?