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The Holy Father Speaks to the Carthusians

The Holy Father, John Paul II, wishing to characterize the Carthusian life in a talk he gave to a Carthusian community on the occasion of the Order's ninth centenary in 1984, spoke in this way: "it is necessary for you, today's followers of that great man of God [St. Bruno, the founder of the Order], to summon up the example he left you, committing yourselves to practice its spirit of love for God in solitude, in silence, in prayer, like 'men awaiting their master's return, so that when he arrives and knocks, they will open to him without delay' (Luke 12:36). You, in fact, have been called to live as though by anticipation that divine life which St. Paul describes in his first letter to the Corinthians when he observes: 'Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known,'(13:12)."

Pope John Paul II with the community of the Certosa di Serra San Bruno - 1984

The Holy Father continues his description of this ideal, exemplified in St. Bruno, and which the Carthusian hopes to attain by following the same manner of living: "The work on one's character, the opening to divine grace, assiduous prayer, all this serves to forge in the Carthusian a new spirit, tempered in solitude in order to live for God in an attitude of total availability....The contemplative is constantly bent towards God and can with reason express the yearning of the psalmist: 'When shall I go and behold the face of God!'(41:3). In the peace and silence of the monastery is found the joy of praising God, of living in him, by him, and through him."

The Holy Father indicates his awareness of the pain and trials that attend such a life. Nevertheless, "this way of life," he continues, "makes a fountain of an ever renewed joy spring forth from you. Did not your founder write: 'What divine usefulness and happiness are conferred by the solitude and silence of the desert on those who love them are known only to those who have experienced them.' That this is also your experience can be seen from the enthusiasm with which you persevere on the way you have undertaken. From your faces one can see how God gives the peace and joy of the Spirit as a reward to whoever has left everything to live by him and to sing his praises for ever."

Pope John Paul II to the Carthusian community in Calabria, October 5, 1984.

Charterhouse of the Transfiguration
Vocational Booklet - 1987
The Holy Father Speaks to the Carthusians

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