After our last meeting, while reflecting on the fruitfulness of a hermit priest, I remembered that I have a few friends who are involved with the Carthusians [as I am] or are Carthusians. They do not take a vow of silence but use silence to support one another and as a tool for opening their hearts to God, and they write very little. I am honored that I do have some contact with them, and occasionally I receive some good reflections from them in our exchanges. Here are a few thoughts I have received and reflected on:
- How efficacious for the world is the Eucharist when celebrated by a Carthusian Father alone in his chapel! « Separated from all, we are united to all for it is in the name of all that we present ourselves to the living God. » (Statutes 34.2) Commentary: The Carthusian did not choose solitude for its own sake, but because he saw in it an excellent means for him to attain a deeper union with God and all mankind. It is upon entering the recesses of his heart that the Carthusian solitaries become, in Christ, present to all men. He becomes a solitary to attain solidarity. Contemplatives are at the heart of the Church. They fulfill an essential function in the ecclesiastical community: the glorification of God. Carthusians withdraw to the desert first and foremost to worship God, to praise him [the Eucharist and liturgy of hours], to admire him, to be seduced by him, to give themselves to him, in the name of all of mankind. It is in the name of all that they are mandated by the Church to be a permanent prayer.
- Intercession: commentary: Since the very beginning the Church recognized that monks tied to contemplation act as intercessors. Representing all of creation, on a daily basis, at all the liturgical offices and during the Eucharistic celebration, they pray for the living and the dead.
- Witness: from their Statutes: « Turned, by our profession, solely toward Him who is, we are witness in face of a world engrossed in the earthly realities that outside of Him there is no God. Our life shows that the good from heaven is already to be found on earth; it is a precursor of the resurrection and like an anticipation of a renewed world. » Statutes 34.3 Commentary: For the solitaries, being such a witness is not realized by speech, nor by personal contact. By his mere presence, the monk is a witness that God lives and can take over the hearts of men.
- From Vita Consecrata, #30: In the priest, in fact, the vocation to the priesthood and the vocation to the consecrated life converge in a profound and dynamic unity. Also of immeasurable value is the contribution made to the Church's life by religious priests completely devoted to contemplation. Especially in the celebration of the Eucharist they carry out an act of the Church and for the Church, to which they join the offering of themselves, in communion with Christ who offers himself to the Father for the salvation of the whole world.