Carthusian Order was founded “to the praise of the glory of God” that
He might “unite us to Himself in intimate love” and so we bear abundant
fruit. This is the goal of every Christian life; what makes our Order
special is that we have no other goal but this. The entire life in
Charterhouse is geared to this one aim, that members might “the more
ardently seek, the more quickly find, the more perfectly possess God
himself” and so attain the “perfection of love” (Rule 1,4). Therefore,
we renounce all that does not help us attain that one thing necessary.
said: “He who loves me will keep my word and my Father will love him.
We will come and make our home in him.” He lives in us with His Divine
life and by His grace transforms us into Himself. Solitude, to which we
Carthusians are especially called, assures the ideal condition for such
intimate union. “For in solitude there is ever being enacted the great
mystery of Christ and his Church, of which our Lady is the outstanding
exemplar, but which lies hidden in its entirety in the depths of every
faithful soul, where to its unfolding solitude greatly contributes”
Enclosure and StabilityWith the choice of
limiting living space (enclosure) we unite interior prayer with the
body, so that prayer renders God that perfect homage which is his due.
On the other hand, stability in the same place (lat. ‘stabilitas loci’)
is, according to monastic experience, a necessary condition to fix our
thoughts and affections continually on God.
Separation from the World“Since
our Order is totally dedicated to contemplation, it is our duty to
maintain strictly our separation from the world; hence, we are freed
from all pastoral ministry – no matter how urgent the need for active
apostolate is – so that we may fulfill our special role in the Mystical
Body of Christ” (Rule 3,9).
PrayerWe Carthusians do not
have a unified model of the life of prayer. The solitary vocation
contains a great deal of freedom and spontaneity in a relationship of
friendship with God. Besides liturgical and other obligatory prayer,
the monk is free to choose from the rich treasury of catholic
spirituality, whatever helps him to an ever greater intimacy with God.
It is not so much a matter of importance in the contemplative life what
we do, but, rather, that which God does in us. Therefore, let the monk
“make a practice of resorting, from time to time, to a tranquil
listening of the heart, that allows God to enter through all its doors
and passages” (Rule 4,2).
ObedienceThe greatest hindrance
in the search for God is without doubt one’s own will, the individual
“I”. This we attempt to sacrifice with the help of obedience, which
must – if it is to be complete – even extend to one’s personal
judgment. Such a thorough emptying of oneself enables us to open
ourselves to the operation of the Holy Spirit with childlike simplicity
and abandon and so resemble God's Son who came to fulfill the Father's
will; at the same time, this relieves us from disordered consern for
oneself and the distress and disquiet that accompany it.
life takes place in the darkness and light of Faith. In solitude, we
enter the depths of our Faith, which we have received from the Church.
The darkness with which we begin our journey in Faith with time changes
into the light of Faith, if we open ourselves to the encounter with
Jesus as a living Person and allow Him and His gospel to completely
overtake us. We do not see what we believe, although the content of
Faith becomes to us so present that we can live from it. When we
renounce all that is not in conformity with Faith, we come to know the
depth and splendor of that, which lives in our hearts.
those who have experienced the solitude and silence of the wilderness
can tell what benefit and divine joy they bring to those who love them.
Here strong men can be recollected as often as they wish, abide within
themselves, carefully cultivate the seeds of virtue, and be nourished
happily by the fruits of paradise. Here one can acquire that eye which,
with its clear vision, wounds the Spouse with love, whose pureness can
see God. Here they can dedicate themselves to leisure that is occupied
and activity that is tranquil. Here, for their labor in the contest,
God gives his athletes the long-desired reward: a peace that the world
does not know and joy in the Holy Spirit” (St. Bruno, founder of the
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