Quies SolitudeThe 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)
We share certain monastic values with other contemplative monks, for example: silence, work, poverty, chastity, obedience, listening to Scripture, prayer, and humility. Others are our own.
The first essential characteristic of our life is the vocation of solitude, to which we are especially called. The Carthusian monk searches for God in solitude.
« The primary application of our vocation is to give ourselves to the silence and solitude of the cell. It is holy ground, the area where God and his servant hold frequent conversations, as between friends. There, the soul often unites itself to the Word of God, bride to the groom, the earth to the sky, man to the divine. » Statutes 4.1
Solitude is lived on three levels:
- Separation from the world
- Separation from the world is made possible by the cloister. We only leave the monastery for an occasional walk. We do not receive visits nor exercise any outside apostolate. We have neither radio nor television in the monastery. It is the Prior who receives news and tells the monks what they need to know. As such the necessary conditions for internal silence develop, which then permit the soul to stay alert and attentive to the presence of God.
- The cell
- The Cell is a hermitage arranged in such a manner as to assure the Carthusian a solitude as complete as possible, all the while giving him the necessities of life. Each cell consists of a two story building surrounded by a garden, where the monk lives alone for most of the day, for the duration of all his life. It is because of this solitude that each of our cells is called a Desert or Hermitage.
- Interior solitude, or solitude of the heart
- The cloister and cell only assure an external solitude. It is only the first step whose goal is to encourage interior solitude, or purity of heart: to keep one's soul away from any and all things not of God or which do not lead to God. It is at this level that the Carthusian meets the sudden impulses of his thoughts and the changes of his feelings. As long as the monk discusses with his "self", his sensibilities, his worthless thoughts, unreal desires, he is not centered on God. It is here that he experiences his weakness and the power of the Spirit which he learns bit by bit « …the habit of the tranquil listening of the heart which allows God to enter by all path and access. » Statutes 4.2
- SBPCLC separation from the world
- Separation from the world is made possible by adapting our life, duty of state, to banish what is inappropriate to charity, or solitude whenever possible. We would prefer solitude to worldly distractions, but in the Spirit of Saint Bruno always prefer agape charity in our duty of state, to isolation. The necessary conditions for internal silence of self, develop through discerned obedience to God's calls in our duty of state, which progressively permits the soul to remain alert and attentive to the presence of God, either in solitude or in service and presence to those who share our lives.
- The SBPCLC seeks to live according to the “Spirit of Saint Bruno” in manner adapted to the “condition of laity living in the open world” (Gd.11). Thus the separation of the cloister which externally frames the Carthusian vocation is not part of our way of life. As Christians though we are not to conform ourselves to the world but be transformed by the renewal of our mind (Romans 12:2). And in the Spirit of Saint Bruno the SBPCLC would be rather circumspect in regards to reading, and other forms of media or entertainment. Such circumspection, as in the Charterhouse, is particularly important for the development of interior silence, which helps the soul to stay alert and attentive to the presence of God. Each must judge what is fitting and according to their particular state in life and duties.
- SBPCLC cell
- The Cell(s) of the SBPCLC can take varied, evolving and unique forms of physical and community implementations, to assure a solitude as complete as relatively possible within our discerned duty of state and a priority of agape charity in service and presence to those who share our lives.
- Since we are living in the “open world” the SBPCLC do not have literal cells. The SBPCLC seeks to make a continual effort to be always — as far as human frailty permits — very close to God whom he knows to be intimately present in his heart (Gd.1). Times of external solitude and silence too can be found within our day or our week. We seek as well to make (according to our possibilities) an annual retreat to better be impregnated of silence and solitude. (Gd.3).
- Interior solitude, or solitude of the heart
- The SBPCLC separation from the world and cell, only assure a relative and variable external solitude. A relative and variable external solitude are only the first step whose goal is to encourage interior solitude, or purity of heart: to keep one's soul away from any and all things not of God or which do not lead to God.. It is at this level that the SBPCLC meets the sudden impulses of his thoughts and the changes of his feelings. Like the Carthusian, as long as the SBPCLC discusses with his "self", his sensibilities, his worthless thoughts, unreal desires, he is not centered on God. It is here that he experiences his weakness and the power of the Spirit which he learns bit by bit « …the habit of the tranquil listening of the heart which allows God to enter by all path and access. »
- (Abba Isaiah) also said that when there was an agape and the brethren were eating in the church and talking to one another, the priest of Pelusia reprimanded them in these words, 'Brethren, be quiet. For I have seen a brother eating with you and drinking as many cups as you and his prayer is ascending to the presence of God like fire.'
- The goal: Contemplation
- This introduction of solitude as the fundamental path for the SBPCLC, brings us to the reality of involuntary solitude, and the appropriateness of identifying and discerningly, prayerfully comforting involuntary solitaries amongst those who share our lives, to the immense grace that solitude is, in the spirit of the 11 guidelines, as the charism of Saint Bruno is, we can comprehend, universally applicable to all humanity in the seasoning spiritual stages into our sanctification.
- The solitude that speaks Italian, (English, French )
The carthusian way
- Amma Matrona said, "There are many in the mountains who behave as if they were in the town, and they are wasting their time. It is better to have many people around you and to live the solitary life in your will than to be alone and always longing to be with a crowd."