Thursday, August 21, 2014

Carthusian Spirituality

FROM: Bruno, the Saint of the Charterhouse
God Answers in the Desert
By Giorgio Papasogli
English Edition, Parkminster 1984

Very soon a particular characteristic of the life of silence is noticed: "One does not approach this silence progressively. No. What is needed is, as it were, to plunge into a void, a kind of vacuum: a letting go from a mooring, in an abandonment of the known. To plunge into silence is like being overcome by the sea, and it resembles a continual self-renewing annihilation. Silence is vast, and the more the soul penetrates it, the more it extends itself, so that one who loves silence totally abandoned to it never reaches its bottom. Placed beyond thought, imagination dreams, calculation, silence asks nothing whatever about its state. Neither does it enquire about its progress, nor regards the meaning of its life, and concerns itself only with the doubts which may assail it. Every search for a formula would risk breaking the silence in which it dwells. Its activity consists in allowing itself to kneaded, formed; to be beaten. To be formed by silence is to come to terms with the art of living and of dying. For a Carthusian the art of arts is not loving and knowing. On the contrary, it is to know how to remain silent. "Then silence generates in him knowledge and love; the simplicity and the virginity of heart."

And here is the community value of silence: Our silence is not a void, a death. On the contrary, it should approach and bring one to a full life ... it calls to man a sanctuary; our houses and our souls are occupied by the One: "The Master is here and calls you". He is the Master and He has the right to all .... He takes our hours, one after another, and fills them. But He permits us, no He commands us to see in Him those who are "in His bosom."

"The way of silence passes by the cross."

"The cross is the sign of the divine sacrifice, and of the reconciliation between heaven and earth. It is also the symbol of the union which charity should draw out among us, as demanded on the eve of His Passion. He desired to suffer so that we might be consummated in unity. So that we might be brought together."

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