Saturday afternoon

A wonderful return to the early Saturday morning Mass and adoration at St Dominic infused reflections. Thoughts wandered around my conception that Adoration, sitting before the exposed Eucharist, was essential to my spiritual exercises. It was a concern whether the Carthusian life could prove rewarding since they do not practice such a form of worship. I thought of Father Prior’s words that one must consider deeply the Carthusian charism, not just the belief one wanted to remove one’s self from the world and focus singularly upon God. If one placed devotions such as commitments to St Jude or St Joseph above everything, a predetermined idea of worship, it would inevitably create conflict with life as a Carthusian. Placing words in his mouth, exercising control over what and how one was going to worship, above the constructs of the Carthusian ways, was an obstinance, a determination that one would do as one pleased—an opening of the door to disobedience. First, it was extremely odd that he would point out St Joseph and St Jude as they are the two saints I have been leaning on the most heavily. It concretely defined his point. I told him of my concern regarding Adoration and he smiled, quickly acknowledging this was exactly what he was talking about. Certain devotions and ways may be good, authentic, and proper, yet if one allowed them to be a means of inflicting self-will above obedience than one would experience strife as a Carthusian. He explained that there had been several incidents proving to him personally the validity of his words. Younger men entered the life unable to abandon their religious prejudices and preferences, causing unfortunate negative circumstances, creating turmoil within the community. Things happened that could not be resolved with later apologies, admissions of blame, that would allow a return to the monastery. Matters were gravely serious regarding obedience and submission. My thoughts during this morning’s worship dwelled upon the matter as an attending gentleman played the flute during the receiving of communion. I realized the life of a Carthusian would eliminate music from my life. Music has always been an extreme joy, as well as a plague with my obsession as a youth with alternative, serious to the extreme, music. The polyphonic Latin chanting would be the music and soundtrack to my days—the absence of one thing allowing the filling by another—when something is taken away another is given. This morning’s reflection mused upon the fact that during the lengthy one-on-one consultation with Father Prior, I spoke to him at certain points as if we were equals regarding the spiritual life. It was a correction I was able to curtail during the happening, demonstrating the natural ignorance to assume that my spiritual experience and exercises could be matched against a priest weathered by decades through life as a Carthusian, a prior travelling the world for the Church as an essential voice within the Carthusian order. There is a time one should listen when God places proper authority before us. Religion imposes the freedom of enlightenment, false or proper. Pride allows for such power to elevate one’s natural inclination to assume that one is the center of the universe.  It is not one’s duty to establish an all enveloping truth, rather to become supple and malleable before God.  Religion must not become simply a weapon to wield upon the world, which it will, if one is unable to let go of preconceived ideas, unable to remain unattached to one’s affirmations and deepest truths. One interacts, defensively or offensively, or runs from the world, on the terms of a spiritual master, convinced one possesses the keys to truth.  Being someone is more important than becoming something that is the fulfillment of being human.  I remember once reading that St Francis of Assisi, a true imitator of Christ, treated every individual he encountered as his superior. Adhering to his devotion to Christ with the greatest of strength, he presented weakness to others.  The Carthusian concept of the recognition and acceptance of mediocrity, without and within, soothes wounds deeply.


Leave a reply