Father Albert Peyriguere

Big Water Vocation

I long to be there and to be quiet.
One can fill one’s soul with Christ only by being quiet
From time to time.
But will I find silence?
A whole crowd will rush at me,
Clamoring for me,
Little hounds and full chase.
But never mind.
Even then it will be living Christ
And not talking about Him,
Living His kindness,
His weariness,
His infinite compassion for souls,
I will find Christ where He is for me.
He does indeed ask of me the greatest sacrifice,
I am a contemplative by vocation,
By inclination.
In actuality, I cannot be a contemplative.
I shall never be able to be a contemplative.
As a monk, yes, I am a contemplative.
But since I am myself a whole community,
A whole congregation,
I am the brother doorkeeper,
The brother orderly,
The brother cook,
The brother Gardner,
So how can I be a contemplative?
But the point is to let Christ live
The kind of life on earth that He has chosen to live.

Father Albert Peyriguere ‘Voice from the Desert’

Lake Erie from the Hospice of the Western Reserve.

Lake Erie from the Hospice of the Western Reserve.


Passing beyond one’s efforts

I have noticed my reading has centered upon a French spirituality. Father Thomas Philippe amazes, stunning in relevancy, broadening and deepening contemplative ideas. I am also completing a St Paschal Baylon Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament priest’s biography on St Peter Julian Eymard. Then there is the comical desert tramp Charles de Foucald, always ripe for the pleasing. Another Frenchman, another Sahara desert dweller, I also discovered while in North Dakota, Father Albert Peyriguere, a devotee of Foucauld. Father Peyriguere’s writing is in the tradition of two French religious, St Francis de Sales and St Jane de Chantal, that is spiritual direction through the exchanging of letters. The poignancy of Father Peyriguere’s writing is his ability, similar to Father Philippe, in advancing contemplative ideals beyond the idealistic. He pulverizes concepts while actively pursuing his individual path through the directing of another. Demonstrating the contemplative life is not a matter of knowledge, nor a silly self-consumed game of superior and inferior, a need to surround one’s self with weakness in order to feel comfortable in spiritual preeminence. The contemplative life is not a game, an intellectual pursuit, nor a social activity. The only way properly done, it is not of our doing. A deeper introspective spiritual life is more than learning concepts espoused by saints. It is more than articulating phenomenal spiritual acumen. I will quote my own writing, words from a young man: Damn this random effort and too many books. It is time to throw away your books, and all your puerile words you thrust at others as if they were daggers, sharpened for stabbing, victory for attaining. Quit vomiting all over yourself, and leave others alone. And what about the writing you do manage to accomplish, you treat every word with such a reverence…it’s disgusting…and the truths you do manage to conclude through reasoning…well, I never. I do not understand this behavior, as a matter of fact I find it despicable. You are an intellectual old man while not advancing and that is a stagnating state. Let go, unlearn, release and unwind, slowdown in order to be like a child. I’ll tell you what to do, interiorly evolve to the point you are able to smash your conclusions, affirm a reality, a truth if you need to call it that, and then be done with it and throw it aside. Avoid dwelling upon your conclusions for you will only warp reality into your personal perversion. Through the centuries, the world has been polluted enough. Ideas like the dark night of the soul, detachment, abandonment, contemplation, meditation become absurd in spiritual fantasy, minds scheming and dreaming attain an absurd status within imaginary perfection. Father Peyriguere, advising a seasoned nun, is acute in penetrating through a dedicated spiritual life failing in regards to advancement exceeding decades of practice.

What pleasure you gave me when you wrote that your life is “simplified”, calmed and illumined.” It was so complicated, so involved, so tense and tormented, so befogged with book learning. But we cannot stop struggling when deep within us there remains a bit of ourselves; or, to put it another way, since we must never look at ourselves even to deny ourselves, as long as we are not solely Christ. But you may still be looking for Christ outside of yourself, far from you, as for someone you want to draw towards you.

You are still trying to go to Christ in two stages: 1) You leave yourself, displeased with self, disapproving of and denying self. 2) You try to bring Christ in.

Proper means of unification: 1) You empty yourself. 2) You let Christ fill the void.

This is still too complicated. The trouble with this system is that in the long run, by being continually confronted with our faults and failings, we may grow tired and depressed and, at the same time we may minimize the part played by Christ in us, it is our doing, when really we had nothing to do with it.

Christ is not captured, is not conquered. We allow Him to come in and expose ourselves to Him. We do not take possession of Him, He he takes possession of us. –Father Albert Peyriguere ‘Voice from the Desert’


Final note. Speaking of not doing things myself, I am recognizing it as a good thing, yet my new employment does not allow internet access while working, plus we stay constantly busy. I love being challenged at work, continually on the go or learning. Labor makes for a prosperous spiritual life, humbling and demanding accountability. My telephone service is minimal while in the building, internet accessibility nulled. I will only be making post first thing in the morning during work days. Tomorrow, a slow time in coming—to me a sign of the workings of God, I will finally attend training for the Hospice of Western Reserve, eight hours in commencing. Something within the happening soothes interiorly.



Decreasing in order to increase

Albert Peyriguere, spiritually directing a religious sister through letters, while tending to the spiritual and practical needs of Berbers of the desert, strikes through concepts, driving home the piercing pike of the experiential superseding thought and outward expression.  Ideas articulated like indifference, sacrifice—offering up suffering, infused darkness, asceticism, solitary austerities, the most sublime and deepest spiritual concepts are to be passed through.  That which we hold to the highest ideal, must be abandoned in order to allow Christ to seize control.

We must no longer speak of what we like or dislike.  No longer speak of what seems important or unimportant.  We are no more, Christ alone is in us.  In us and through us.  He does what He wants, and it is what He wants that is good.

“Holy Indifference.”  We have been moved beyond that and it has no more meaning.  Everything in us is a vehicle for Christ’s life in us.  How can anything be indifferent to us which results in more of Christ?  Everything becomes a “joyous giving” in our lives.

…through the most insignificant of our actions, Christ…exists a little more.  I’m speaking of the mystical Christ, who is also the real and personal Christ, and something more besides.  The soul no longer knows how to say “no”; it no longer classifies things as painful or pleasant, as important or minor since everything in our lives is the clay Christ uses to mold Himself in us.  This is very lofty spirituality, but clear, simple, practical.  Not flights of romanticism which carry us into the land of dreams (or shallow outward expressions).  –Albert Peyriguere ‘Voice From the Desert’

The previous day video is now posted.  Photos have been added to North Dakota part 2 page.


Contemplation = Experiential

I am under the impression that you are becoming simpler.  You were very complicated, too intellectual, too much engrossed in trying to assimilate what you had read about the spiritual life.  You still analyze yourself too much, watch yourself too much.  Look away from yourself, and especially from your faults and weaknesses.  When you turn your eyes inward, no longer see yourself, but see Christ present in you.

Undoubtedly something happen between you and the Lord—what, you don’t know, but He does and that is all that is necessary.  Suddenly—and this is immense grace—Christ stood there before you, alive, as He really is.  Not the Christ of theology this time, the Christ of doctrine, but Christ the living person who gave His life for you and who wants you to give Him your life.  Christ has taken you terribly serious.  It is no longer a rather abstract Christ with who you are dealing; you have encountered Christ, a living person.  This has tremendous implications and you know that it can take you a long way.  Something in you is afraid…afraid of Christ, afraid also of the one through whom Christ may speak, perhaps tomorrow, perhaps years from now.  –Albert Peyriguere ‘Voice From the Desert’ (Book attained from Assumption Abbey library)

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld

Disciple of Charles de Foucauld