A Carthusian

Growing old with the Holy Spirit

According to Guigo, Hugh kept strict custody of the eyes and the senses in general; he practiced poverty and was pious. His continual prayers, fasts, and vigils made him a true contemplative, a man who had an experiential knowledge of God and who had received the gift of tears, which at his time was considered as the summit of the spiritual life. Hugh shed tears of contrition and of thanksgiving, especially in periods of sickness, a trial which began very early in his life and conformed him to the suffering Christ. Little by little he became senile and lost his memory almost completely, except concerning the things of God (prayers), which he remembered perfectly until his last day. –‘A Dwelling Place of God; Saint Bruno, and Saint Hugh, Bishop of Grenoble, Founder and Co-Founder of the Carthusian Order’ Charterhouse of the Transfiguration

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St Bruno Carthusian founder

“If the bow is stretched for too long, it becomes slack and unfit for its purpose.”

“The cross is steady while the world is turning.”

“The ambiance of solitude, the absence of any disturbing noise and of worldly desires and images, the quiet and calm attention of the mind to God, helped by prayer and leisurely reading, flow into that “quies” or “rest” of the soul in God. A simple and joyful rest, full of God, that leads the monk to feel, in some way, the beauty of eternal life.”

St Bruno quotes

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The destiny and daily life of man

The value of work with respect to prayer depends very much on the attitude we bring to it.  Work is a human reality willed by God, and has intrinsic value, if we accomplish it with all good will.  Apart from the intention with which we do it, it has been explicitly willed for us by the Lord: ‘The Lord God took man and set him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it’ (Genesis 2:15).  We have to acknowledge, however, that in certain cases the work, if it is done conscientiously, is not compatible with prayer, or that the actual dispositions of the monk make it impossible for his work to be effectively a prayer.  Prayer and work will then be juxtaposed, and not directly related.

We can be faced with several possibilities:
–work is an aid to prayer,
–work seems to be neutral in regards to prayer,
–work is actually an obstacle to prayer.

‘The Wound of Love’ A. Carthusian

 

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Emptying while fortifying

If we are to pray with the necessary fervor and purity, the following discipline must be carefully observed.  First, you must completely surpass all the anxieties of the flesh…renounce all unkind and empty talk, gossip and clowning.  Above all, you must entirely expel the emotions of anger and sadness; you must uproot the noxious seedings of sensual desire and the spirit of possessiveness.  All such vices, that are visible even to our fellow men, must be cut away and destroyed.  But after this preliminary work of purification has received its crown of innocent simplicity and purity, the foundations must be laid; unshakable foundations of a deep humility, capable of bearing the tower that is to rise even to the heavens… –St John Cassian ‘Conferences’ quoted in ‘The Wound of Love’ by A. Carthusian.

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A life within the Church

“The ambiance of solitude, the absence of any disturbing noise and of worldly desires and images, the quiet and calm attention of the mind to God, helped by prayer and leisurely reading, flow into that “quies” or “rest” of the soul in God. A simple and joyful rest, full of God, that leads the monk to feel, in some way, the beauty of eternal life.” ―Carthusian Monks

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He said to them, “Take nothing for the journey,

Profession, whether simple or solemn, cannot be an end in an absolute sense.  It is an end with regard to the past, it is a point of departure with regard to the future.  And Paul insists on saying that we must be straining forward to what lies ahead.  Th road that lies behind is to be forgotten: no more useless regrets, no more ‘if onlys’, no complacency about the spiritual riches we have accumulated.

In the presence of God, we are always unworthy servants, forgiven sinners, poor men.  We are not to close our hands on empty space, but keep them open towards the Lord in order to receive the generosity of his love.  We are sons and daughters to the extent which we are born of God; and we are born naked.

The power of forgetting is very important.  It allows us to free ourselves of resentments and marks of honor, of defilements and external burdens from our past; in order to keep only what is inscribed in the essence of our beings, through which we are what we are now.  Thus unburdened, we can run forward, agile and unattached, straining with all our efforts towards our end, in a manner that leaves all attainments behind, without ever pausing in this life: ‘Draw me after you, let us make haste’ (Song of Songs 1:4).  Christ is always ahead of us.  Union with God comes to us as a perpetual novelty, a beginning ever renewed.  Supported as we are by the ladder that links earth to heaven, which Jacob saw, God calls us to ascend to him. The ladder is Christ, and each rung always leads to another above it.  We are constantly at the beginning in respect to what is above us.  ‘The Wound of Love’ A. Carthusian Miscellany

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The Word of God

Through the sacraments of the faith I am reborn by water and the Spirit into the life of Christ.  God’s life is rooted in the depth of my heart as a treasure hidden in a field; a seed of life, of knowledge and of love.  My ascetic efforts are aimed at ploughing and clearing the land so that the seed may grow unobstructed.  I remove the other plants and seeds in order that all energy in the soil may be available to nourish the one essential seed, and there be absorbed and transformed into it.  –‘The Wound of Love’ A. Carthusian Miscellany

“A sower went out to sow his seed.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled,
and the birds of the sky ate it up.
Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew,
it withered for lack of moisture.
Some seed fell among thorns,
and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew,
it produced fruit a hundredfold.”
After saying this, he called out,
“Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

Gospel of Luke

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