What is quies?
quiesExterior solitude creates the propitious atmosphere for a more perfect solitude to be developed, the interior solitude.
- What is this interior solitude?
- It is a spiritual process through which memory, intellect and will progressively die to every interest and complacence for things. God begins, instead, to be felt as the only one who can satisfy the deep realms of the spirit. It is only when the Carthusian discovers, bathed in admiration, that only God satisfies him that he begins to really be a true contemplative. Feeling that only God can satisfy him produces such a feeling of interior freedom and joy that it is difficult to express it in words.
- It seems to me that you are speaking about your own experience.
- I wish I was!
- Is this contemplative experience something typical of the Charterhouse and restricted to it?
- It is a spiritual process that we find already described in the spirituality of the Fathers of the Desert, such as Evagrio and, in general, in the Christian mystics of all ages.
- How do you Carthusians resume it?
- I think that this whole process could be summed up in a word that was well beloved by Saint Bruno and by the first Carthusians: "quies", that is to say, stillness or spiritual peacefulness.
- If I have understood you correctly, you mean that all this Carthusian atmosphere leads to…
- 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.
- Which degree of contemplation would this be?
- Let's say that "quies" or "quietude" is the coveted goal of Carthusians. source | The Joy of being a Carthusian
- One "cannot attain to this repose except at the cost of stern battle; both by living austerely in fidelity to the law of the cross, and willingly accepting the tribulations by which God will try him as gold in the furnace. In this way, having been cleansed in the night of patience, and having been consoled and sustained by assiduous meditation of the Scriptures, and having been led by the Holy Spirit into the depths of his own soul, he is now ready, not only to serve God, but even to cleave to him in love". Carthusian Statutes Chapter 3 no 2
- To the praise of the glory of God, Christ, the Father’s Word, has through the Holy Spirit, from the beginning chosen certain men, whom he willed to lead into solitude and unite to himself in intimate love. In obedience to such a call, Master Bruno and six companions entered the desert of Chartreuse in the year of our Lord 1084 and settled there; under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they and their successors, learning from experience, gradually evolved a special form of hermit life, which was handed on to succeeding generations, not by the written word, but by example. Carthusian Statutes Chapter 2, no 1
- Those monks who have praised solitude wished to bear witness to a mystery, whose riches they had indeed experienced, but whose full penetration is reserved for heaven alone; 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. Carthusian Statutes Chapter 2, no 1
Scripture and Tradition
Silence and solitude
- "It is the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with the Catholic interpretation of the Doctors of the Church that will serve rule to all Carthusians; it will also be the living examples of monastic life, given by the fathers who have preceded us in the eremitical life, or of (perfect) observance of the evangelical counsels given by the patriarchs of the religious orders". (The 1st of 21 prescriptions that would have been composed by Bruno and Landuin)
- The spiritual journey of Saint Bruno is characterized by the search for God in solitude, this God he knows to be intimately present in his heart. It would be desirable that the members of the CLC consecrate every day, according to their possibilities, a few moments to silence for: prayer of the heart, meditation or reading. (Gd 1)
- Esprit Cartusien (français) Extract of an article (in french) that develops the characteristics of the carthusian spirit (of solitude and silence): spiritual virginity, simplicity, self-effacement, joy.
- CLC officials will provide, at the disposal of their members, a few essential elements to help in the development of this prayer (texts, life of St. Bruno, order history, excerpts of the Statutes of the Order). (Gd 2)
- It is important to encourage a regular sacramental practice, depending on the possibilities of each one (the Eucharist and confession), as well as to make an annual retreat to better be impregnated of silence and solitude. (Gd 3)
The Will of God: Fiat
- Contacts between members are to be encouraged, indirectly through the internet forum, but also through small groups when this is possible. Leaders will organize these internet contacts within a frequency which can vary between two and four weeks (video conferencing?). It is advisable to set themes and 'helm' the exchanges. (Gd 4)
- "Perfection is founded entirely on the love of God: ‘Charity is the bond of perfection;’ and perfect love of God means the complete union of our will with God’s." Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
- Resignation to the Will of God: "True and perfect resignation is the mark of sure predestination, and the sure possession that the soul has of God, because by living in my Will, the soul acquires the most heroic love, and reaches the point of loving Me with my own love. She becomes all love, and becoming all love, she is in continuous contact with Me. So, she is with Me, in Me, and for Me she does everything I want; nor does she move or desire anything but my Will, in which all the love of the Eternal One is enclosed, and in which she herself remains enclosed. By living in this way, the soul almost comes to the point of dissolving faith and hope, because as she comes to live of Divine Will, the soul no longer feels in contact with faith and hope. Since she lives of the Will of God, what does she have to believe if she has found It and made of It her food? And what does she have to hope for, if she already possesses It by living, not outside of God, but in God? Therefore, true and perfect resignation is the mark of sure predestination, and the sure possession that the soul has of God. Have you understood? Think it over carefully.” source
- Abandonment to Divine Providence
- Peace/Quies is the fruit of being continually in the Will of God, a grace we personally and collectively aspire and feel called to fulfill as lay faithful, essentially guided by Saint Bruno's desert father's spirituality.
- "In simplicity of heart, then, and in purity of mind let us strive with all our power to fix our thoughts and affections continually on God." Carthusian Statutes Chapter 33, no 3
- The Will of God is the rest of the soul; It is the rest of God in the soul; It is fulfilled only and exclusively through the giving of oneself completely and without reserve to Jesus, the only salvation. The entire point of the Living in the Will of God is a Holiness which gives a continuous growth in grace. "My presence is like a sea which does not have any borders; whoever finds themselves in My presence is like a droplet that is dispersed in My sea"; Faith is light for the sight of the soul which guides the soul to eternal life. "Our Father Who art in Heaven; Your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven". source
- Fiat, I am the servant of the Lord.
- "The human will has this poison: it makes one lose taste for the Divine Will." source
- "Therefore, be attentive; when you want something, never do it on your own, but pray to Me that my Will may do it in you. In fact, that same thing, if you do it yourself, sounds bad, gives of human; but if my Will does it, it sounds good, it harmonizes with Heaven, it is sustained by a divine grace and power, it is the Creator that operates in the creature, its fragrance is divine; and rising everywhere, it embraces everyone with one single embrace, in such a way that all feel the good of the operating of the Creator in the creature." source
- "Neither graces, nor revelations, nor raptures, nor gifts granted to a soul make it perfect, but rather the intimate union of the soul with God. .......My sanctity and perfection is based upon the close union of my will with the will of God” (Diary, 1107) - DIARY of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska Divine Mercy in My Soul, page 7
- From today on, my own will does not exist,” ... “From today on, I do the will of God everywhere, always, and in everything. (Diary, 374) - DIARY of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska Divine Mercy in My Soul, page 115
Quies/Fiat - spiritual virginity
- Quies/Fiat is trust not in human alliances, contacts; but in God only; Soli Deo.
- The Quies/Fiat synergy, develops to continuous growth in grace; in theologal Charity.
- "35 Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. 36 Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. 38 Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves." Luke 12:35 seq
- My Will alone is celestial rest. source
- Peace is the beneficial dew which vivifies everything and bejewels the soul with an enrapturing beauty, and attracts the continuous kiss of my Will upon her. source
- "10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.” 13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste." Isaiah 7:10-16
- The virgin (Quies/Fiat) will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. 15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. Quies/Fiat is trust not in human alliances, contacts; but in God only.
- The Contemplative Life in Bruno's Letters: quies | spiritual virginity
- Epilogue: Bruno after Bruno: Quies | spiritual virginity
- Esprit Cartusien (français) Extract of an article (in french) that develops the characteristics of the carthusian spirit (of solitude and silence): spiritual virginity, simplicity, self-effacement, joy.
Quies - means to an end - obedience/Fiat
- The Carthusian vocation is a mystery known only by who has experienced it Few are called to the monastic Carthusian life; but in the open world, following the 11 guidelines will help to rediscover and foster the contemplative dimension inherent in every Christian existence and to give it more space in our daily life…
- Our goal/charism as SBPCLC, IFSB/SBLC is ultimately God only: Soli Deo.
- Quies through Apatheia (ἀπάθεια) might be construed as being a means to an end; not the end in itself, which is Soli Deo.
- But "In Christian thought pathos is willpower exerted over oneself, for oneself. Apatheia delivers us from such wilfulness. Obedience is a virtue. This means that it is not, as for the Greeks, a provisional means to an end, but rather an end in itself."
- "The second important alteration concerns the problem of obedience. In the Hebrew conception, God being a shepherd, the flock following him complies to his will, to his law. Christianity, on the other hand, conceived the shepherd-sheep relationship as one of individual and complete dependence. This is undoubtedly one of the points at which Christian pastorship radically diverged from Greek thought. If a Greek had to obey, he did so because it was the law, or the will of the city. If he did happen to follow the will of someone in particular (a physician, an orator, a pedagogue), then that person had rationally persuaded him to do so. And it had to be for a strictly determined aim: to be cured, to acquire a skill, to make the best choice.
In Christianity, the tie with the shepherd is an individual one. It is personal submission to him. His will is done, not because it is consistent with the law, and not just as far as it is consistent with it, but, principally, because it is his will. In Cassian's Coenobitical Institutions there are many edifying anecdotes in which the monk finds salvation by carrying out the absurdest of his superior's orders. Obedience is a virtue. This means that it is not, as for the Greeks, a provisional means to an end, but rather an end in itself. It is a permanent state; the sheep must permanently submit to their pastors: subditi. As St Benedict says, monks do not live according to their own free will; their wish is to be under the abbot's command: ambulantes alieno judicio et imperio. Greek Christianity named this state of obedience apatheia. The evolution of the word's meaning is significant. In Greek philosophy apatheia denotes the control that the individual, thanks to the exercise of reason, can exert over his passions. In Christian thought pathos is willpower exerted over oneself, for oneself. Apatheia delivers us from such wilfulness." Religion and culture, Michel Foucault | PNG
- So could we not say that Quies through Apatheia (obedience), is truly an end in itself for us ultimately, because it is the only way (obedience) delivering us from pathos (willpower exerted over oneself, for oneself) estranging us from Soli Deo ?
- So in obeying the 11 guidelines blueprint to our eventual customs, faithfulness in exterior practices as the Carthusian monks obey the carthusian customs, we will be delivered ultimately from pathos (willpower exerted over oneself, for oneself) estranging us from our Saint Bruno spirituality goal which is: Soli Deo; Apatheia (obedience) delivers us. Soli Deo cannot be attained in any other way than through obedience or christian Apatheia. Obedience (apatheia), as a virtue, is surely not a provisional means to an end, but rather an absolute and eternal end in itself: Fiat.
- "Amongst the moral virtues obedience enjoys a primacy of honour. The reason is that the greater or lesser excellence of a moral virtue is determined by the greater or lesser value of the object which it qualifies one to put aside in order to give oneself to God. Now amongst our various possessions, whether goods of the body or goods of the soul, it is clear that the human will is the most intimately personal and most cherished of all. So it happens that obedience, which makes a man yield up the most dearly prized stronghold of the individual soul in order to do the good pleasure of his Creator, is accounted the greatest of the moral virtues". Obedience
- Abba Ammonas was asked, 'What is the "narrow and hard way?" (mt. 7. 14) He replied, 'The "narrow and hard way" is this, to control your thoughts, and to strip yourself of your own will, for the sake of God. This is also the meaning of the sentence, "Lo, we have left everything and followed you. " (Mt. 19. 27)
- “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. Lk 1:38
- Come and See: The Monastic Way for Today, Brendan Freeman
- “A word used by Bruno and Guigo both describes this mystery. The word is Quies, and the usual translation of this word is "rest", but that does not clearly convey the divine dimension and the richness of Quies. The "quiet" of the Carthusian and faithfulness in exterior practices go together. The word designates the experience of the spiritual abundance of the Christian who even now is founded upon God, "dwells in God", in the words of Saint John, through the events and circumstances of his life — for the Carthusian, through obedience and monastic practices. A verse from Lamentations (3:28), on which Guigo liked to comment, signifies by contrasting words that the contemplative is related to the circumstances of earth as well as the supernatural life: Sedebit solitarius et tacebit, et levabit se supra se (The solitary will sit and be silent, and he will rise above himself). "Quiet" actually includes everything contained in our word rest (sedebit), that is, calm, peace, silence, orderly thinking, mastery of the heart's passions, etc. But it contains infinitely much more, because it is the hidden movement of the Holy Spirit in the soul: it is a condition of the spirit together with a gift of grace. The soul strives, prepares, and merits it, but it is conferred by God alone. Quiet comes to the soul only from love that totally, even exclusively, desires the living God, the "Father, source and origin of all Divinity, of whom the Son is born and the Holy Spirit proceeds."(4) It comes from that love that is founded upon radical faith in the word and in the salvation of Jesus Christ. Guigo calls one who has this quiet a "quiet Christ", meaning that something of the joy and peace of the risen Christ dwells in him and radiates from him ("and he will rise above himself"). With Christ he comes to that "freedom of the children of God" of which Saint Paul speaks. He comes to it already and yet never ceases to approach it, because God's presence in him invites him to solitude and silence ("he will sit and be silent"), and in return the silence and solitude assist his progress toward intimacy with God.” A. Ravier
- The Quies SBPCLC 5 steps commitment to the 11 guidelines
- It is not a question here of a common anthropological conversion, but of supernatural life itself.
- With Marguerite d'Oingt, of whom I would like to speak to you today, we are introduced to Carthusian spirituality which draws its inspiration from the evangelical synthesis lived and proposed by St Bruno. ...Marguerite d'Oingt conceived the entirety of life as a journey of purification up to full configuration with Christ. He is the book that is written, which is inscribed daily in her own heart and life, in particular his saving Passion. In the work “Speculum”, referring to herself in the third person Marguerite stresses that by the Lord's grace “she had engraved in her heart the holy life that Jesus Christ God led on earth, his good example and his good doctrine. She had placed the gentle Jesus Christ so well in her heart that it even seemed to her that he was present and that he had a closed book in his hand, to instruct her” (ibid., I, 2-3, p. 81). “In this book she found written the life that Jesus Christ led on earth, from his birth to his ascension into Heaven” (ibid., I, 12, p. 83). Every day, beginning in the morning, Marguerite dedicated herself to the study of this book. And, when she had looked at it well, she began to read the book of her own conscience, which showed the falsehoods and lies of her own life (cf. ibid., I, 6-7, p. 82); she wrote about herself to help others and to fix more deeply in her heart the grace of the presence of God, so as to make every day of her life marked by comparison with the words and actions of Jesus, with the Book of his life. And she did this so that Christ's life would be imprinted in her soul in a permanent and profound way, until she was able to see the Book internally, that is, until contemplating the mystery of God Trinity (cf. ibid., II, 14-22; III, 23-40, pp. 84-90). Benedict XVI General audience November 3 2010
Acquisition of the Holy Spirit
Through her writings, Marguerite d'Oingt gives us some traces of her spirituality, enabling us to understand some features of her personality and of her gifts of governance. She was a very learned woman; she usually wrote in Latin, the language of the erudite, but she also wrote in Provençal, and this too is a rarity: thus her writings are the first of those known to be written in that language. She lived a life rich in mystical experiences described with simplicity, allowing one to intuit the ineffable mystery of God, stressing the limits of the mind to apprehend it and the inadequacy of human language to express it. Marguerite had a linear personality, simple, open, of gentle affectivity, great balance and acute discernment, able to enter into the depths of the human spirit, discerning its limits, its ambiguities, but also its aspirations, the soul's élan toward God. She showed an outstanding aptitude for governance, combining her profound mystical spiritual life with service to her sisters and to the community. Significant in this connection is a passage of a letter to her father. She wrote: “My dear father, I wish to inform you that I am very busy because of the needs of our house, so that I am unable to apply my mind to good thoughts; in fact, I have so much to do that I do not know which way to turn. We did not harvest the wheat in the seventh month of the year and our vineyards were destroyed by the storm. Moreover, our church is in such a sorry state that we are obliged to reconstruct it in part” (ibid., Lettere, III, 14, p. 127). Benedict XVI General audience November 3 2010
- "Prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian activities, however good they may be in themselves, do not constitute the aim of our Christian life, although they serve as the indispensable means of reaching this end. The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. As for fasts, and vigils, and prayer, and alms-giving, and every good deed done for Christ's sake, they are only means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God. But mark, my son, only the good deed done for Christ's sake brings us the fruits of the Holy Spirit. All that is not done for Christ's sake, even though it be good, brings neither reward in the future life nor the grace of God in this. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ said: He who gathers not with Me scatters (Luke 11:23). Not that a good deed can be called anything but gathering, since even though it is not done for Christ's sake, yet it is good. Scripture says: In every nation he who fears God and works righteousness is acceptable to Him (Acts 10:35). ..."This, your Godliness," said Father Seraphim, "is that peace of which the Lord said to His disciples: My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you (Jn. 14:21). If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (Jn. 15:19). But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (Jn. 16:33). And to those people whom this world hates but who are chosen by the Lord, the Lord gives that peace which you now feel within you, the peace which, in the words of the Apostle, passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). The Apostle describes it in this way, because it is impossible to express in words the spiritual well-being which it produces in those into whose hearts the Lord God has infused it. Christ the Saviour calls it a peace which comes from His own generosity and is not of this world, for no temporary earthly prosperity can give it to the human heart; it is granted from on high by the Lord God Himself, and that is why it is called the peace of God." Saint Seraphim of Sarov
- "When the Holy Spirit finds [Mary] his Spouse in a soul, he flies to that soul, to communicate himself to it, to fill it with his presence, in proportion as he discovers there the presence and the fullness of his Spouse. One of the major reasons why the Holy Spirit does not now work blinding wonders of grace in our souls is that he does not find in us a sufficiently strong union with Mary his indissoluble Spouse." True Devotion to Mary Part 1, chapter 1, article 2
- "Acquire a peaceful spirit, and thousands around you will be saved." | Saint Seraphim of Sarov | Quotes
The goal : Contemplation
« ...Discover the immensity (breadth) of love. » Statutes 35.1
The only goal of the Carthusian way is CONTEMPLATION, by the power of the Spirit, living as unceasingly as possible in the light of the love of God for us, made manifest in Christ.
This implies a purity of heart, or charity : « Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. » (Mt 5:8)
Monastic tradition also calls this goal pure and continuous prayer.
The fruits of contemplation are : liberty, peace, and joy. O Bonitas ! O Goodness, was the cry which issued from the heart of St. Bruno. But the unification of the heart and the entrance into the contemplative rest (Quies) assume a long journey, which our Statutes describe as such :
«Whoever perseveres without defiance in the cell and lets himself be taught by it tends to make his entire existence a single and continual prayer. But he may not enter into this rest without going through the test of a difficult battle. It is the austerities to which he applies himself as someone close to the Cross, or the visits of God, coming to test him like gold in the fire. Thus purified by patience, fed and strengthened by studied meditation of Scripture, introduced by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the recesses of his heart, he will thus be able to, not only serve God, but adhere to him.» Statutes 3.2
All monastic life thus consists of this journey towards the heart and all the meaning of our life is oriented towards this end. It helps the monk unite his life to charity, introducing it to the depths of his heart.
Truthfully, it is not this end which distinguishes us from other contemplative monks (Trappist, Benedictines, etc.), but the borrowed path, of which the essential characteristics are :
The carthusian way
What is Quies ?
The Quies SBPCLC 5 steps commitment to the 11 guidelines
- Translations of Quies
- rest requies, quies, reliquum, caetera, cubitus, cubitum
- ease otium, facilitas, quies, requies, libertas, licentia
- quiet silentium, quies, tacitum, tranquillum, tranquillitas, pax
- tranquillity tranquillitas, quies, tranquillus animus
- repose quies, requies, otium, spiramentum, silentium, remissio
- peace pax, quies, otium, tranquillitas animi
- peacefulness tranquietas, quies
- calm tranquillitas, tranquillum, quies, malacia
- calmness tranquillitas, serenitas, quies, aequitas, pax, clementia
- lull quies, otium, pax, recessus
- immobility immobilitas, inmobilitas, incommobilitas, rigor, quies
- period of quiet quies
- quiescence rigor, laxamentum, quies
- quiescency rigor, laxamentum, quies
- comfort solatium, consolatio, solacium, solamen, commodum, quies
- stillness silentium, quies, tranquillum, tranquillitas, rigor, umbra
- silence silentium, taciturnitas, quies, umbra
- relief remedium, solamen, auxilium, levamen, solacium, quies
- dream somnium, insomnium, quies, imaginatio
- resting-place quies
- Quies (wiktionary)
- From Proto-Indo-European *kʷieh₁-ti-.
- Cognates include
- Avestan (šāiti-, “happiness”),
- Old Persian (šiyāti-, “luck”),
- Old Armenian հանգչիմ (hangčʿim).
- quiēs f (genitive quiētis); third declension
- rest, repose, quiet
- Have no fear of showing your joy in all simplicity. The Lord loves a cheerful giver. To sow joy in the hearts of your companions is a refinement of fraternal love. The divine life is eternal joy. 'This joy, no one shall take from you' (Jn 12:22). Learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. (Mt 11.29) Tranquillity, quietude, repose: these words recur frequently in the Statutes just as they do in the monastic tradition -in the East as heyschia and in the West as quies, otium sanctum, etc. By it, we do not mean something negative or the absence of action. Traditionally, it most frequently sums up the whole eremitical life. It can be considered as a means par excellence for it implies in its meaning silence, solitude, detachment from a worldly life, so that one can tend towards God in prayer. Quies may be called the basic attitude or state of a contemplative who has left all things to devote himself entirely to God, like Mary at Bethany." First Initiation Into Carthusian Life Page 77