Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Mary in the Life of the Carthusian Monk

“There is one other aspect of Carthusian life, the monks agree, that cannot be passed without mention. Every monk nourishes a deep practical devotion to the Virgin Mary. Carthusians have clung to the tradition of reciting the ‘Little Office’ of the Virgin before the regular canonical hours. They also feel that Mary guides them through their solitary lives each day. ‘When I think of what I’d do without the Blessed Mother,’ one monk says, and his voice trails off. The three monks sit in silence for a moment, shaking their heads, as if an absurdity has been introduced into the conversation. A Carthusian life unaided by Mary is unthinkable.”
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Monday, October 22, 2018

Forty Hours Devotion 2018


CHURCH OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS
(128 West 37th Street, NYC)
 
FORTY HOURS EUCHARISTIC DEVOTION 2018



The Church of the Holy Innocents will start its annual Forty Hours Devotion this coming Friday, October 26, 2018.
    
First Day: The opening Mass will be on Friday, October 26, 2018 at 6PM, and it will be a Votive Mass of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
 
At the end of the opening Mass, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed, there will be a solemn Eucharistic procession inside the church, and the Pange lingua, the Litany of the Saints, and some other special psalms, versicles, and prayers will be chanted. 
    
Second Day: On the second day, Saturday, October 27 at 1PM, we will have the traditional Votive Mass Pro Pace.
  
Third Day: The closing Mass will be on Sunday, October 28 at 10:30AM, which will also be the 1st class Feast of Christ the King. This closing Mass will be celebrated coram Sanctissimo (in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament exposed throughout the entire Mass).
 
At the end of the closing Mass, the Litany of the Saints and other special psalms and prayers will be chanted and we will have another Procession of the Blessed Sacrament inside the church. This Procession will end with Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Divine Praises, and the recitation of the Act of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
 
While in the Roman Catholic Church there are many Feasts and devotions throughout the year, the Forty Hours Devotion is always awaited and received with extreme joy. “Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament,” according to Fr. Faber, “is the queen of all devotions. It is the central devotion of the Church. All others gather round it and group themselves there as satellites; for others celebrate His Mysteries; this is Himself.
 
The Forty Hours Devotion is surrounded with three special dimensions:

1) The protection from evil and temptation;
2) Reparation for our own sins and for the poor souls in purgatory; and
3) Deliverance from political, material and spiritual calamities. 
 
All these petitions (for ourselves, for our neighbors, and for the entire Church) are expressed in detail in the beautiful Litanies of the Saints that are chanted as part of the opening and the closing Masses for the Forty Hours.
 
The very active and vibrant Church of the Holy Innocents (NYC) is still the only parish in the entire Archdiocese of NY that has the Forty Hours Devotion in its traditional form.
 
This beautiful devotion was permanently established by Pope Clement VIII “in order that day and night the faithful might appease their Lord by prayer before the Blessed Sacrament solemnly exposed, imploring there His divine mercy.”

Friday, October 19, 2018

Carthusian Solitude

 
According to the belief of most people, sanctification of self is the goal toward which the Carthusian strives. To prune and purify the soul; to ennoble it by the practice of the virtues, patiently exercised, vivified and nourished in the forcing-house of the monastery; in order to taste at last the pure blessedness of living and dying in the Law of the Lord – surely this is more than enough to justify a man in giving up the world, and very likely some of those who come to the solitude have no wider or deeper desire.
 


This is a very lofty purpose and surely worthy of a soul’s devotion, and yet it does not contain the blissful secret which is the first principle and essence of our life. At the beginning of our spiritual journey, most of us are drawn toward the realm of these desires, but gradually we come to know that this is not the Promised Land, and to feel that we are called to possess a more hidden, a more real and a purer Eden.



To attain to the lofty goal, enfeebled fallen man lacks one single quality, the holy audacity to aim high enough, to dare to draw at the zenith the slack bow of his love and faith. He who with a single heart desires the righteousness of the Kingdom of God receives also in full measure the crown of glory, and to him it is granted to dispense to souls the excellent wine of triumph from the Eternal Feasts. But from the soul that hath aimed her desire at self-hallowing, or any other lower goal, shall be taken away even that for which she hath yearned. To live by God alone and for God alone, that is the heart of our secret and the true essence of our solitude. It is also the one condition of our victory: for everyone who, eschewing all other, hungers and thirsts after God alone possesses Him All in All.



 
To wish for nothing else, to know nothing else, to have nothing else, but God and God alone; “to be nothing else, so that only thou be God,” to quote the profound words of a contemplative soul: that is a just description of the life of any soul in this place that is true to her calling. Every other care beside this one and only Love is superfluous. Anything that has no part in the infinite self is too small for the human heart. Far, far above our scrannel holiness, our righteousness so impure that it is almost blasphemous, above even the gifts of grace with which we are enriched; above all social, all human, even all spiritual, ideals; beyond every temporal striving; in God alone: that is where life eternal begins for us even while we are still here on earth.




It is not possible to formulate a “theory” of this kind of life or to express in words its essence: it is too simple. “To love,” “to live in naked reality” – that is all that we can say with human words. In order to convey some faint conception of this life, we have no choice but to make known its effects upon the soul that is swallowed up therein, and to show their relation to the theological mysteries and the life of the Church. But in so doing we are descending from the heights; we are exchanging the pure gold of silence for the base metal of words.



For a long time more, until its transformation is perfected, the soul that is made one with its God doubtless commits faults and registers relapses, at any rate in appearance. But these very imperfections become occasions of love, and feed the flame wherein the gazing heart has its permanent abode. Its own frailties amaze not nor hinder it, no more than do its virtues, for it has arrived at the meeting place of two infinites, its own infinite need for mercy and the infinite mercy of God. From the bottomless abyss where these two abysses meet, the heart unwearyingly draws up, like water, both the humble trust and the clear, calm thankfulness which fused together are the perfect hymn of praise.



The soul to which it has been granted to despise the world and to despise itself to the point of entire self-oblivion – or, to go to the root of the matter, the soul which possesses the ability to see as nothing everything that is nothing – such a soul, being detached from itself, sees how the Divine Wisdom supplants its selfhood. When the image of every creature and all limited desires have been swept away by the continuous trials which have purified it, then it becomes that spotless mirror whereof Solomon speaks, the Face of the Father is reflected in it, and it is identified with Him in glory incomprehensible, and Love ineffable.



We have been selected from out of the world and called to the secret garden of solitude for the good pleasure of God, to assuage the inexpressible thirst of Love rejected. These thoughts are beyond the range of our minds and hearts, and there is no hope at all of our being understood by those to whom no such experience has come. But mankind is deaf to this call; he draws away from God’s kiss. And so Love shut out, Love suppliant, Love crucified, has chosen certain souls from among the weakest and the poorest, to take comfort at least in them.




God is Love. Thus He wills and can will only Love, and the divine thirst of Jesus can be assuaged only by love. To comfort Jesus; to let God’s will be fulfilled in us; among thankless mankind to be Christs, in whom the Father may live and perfect His adorable work – that is the mystery of our calling. In the soul that gives itself over to Him and consents to the total sacrifice in which all love finds fulfillment, God quickens His Word. Such a soul belongs no more to the generations of earth; it is no longer the daughter of the flesh, nor of its own will, but it is born of God in the fullness of every moment. Its life is drawn from the Divine Life; it knows God with the knowledge wherewith He knows Himself; it loves Him with the love wherewith He loves Himself; it has become Truth, perfected praise; it is uttered with the Word. In short, it corresponds to the pattern contained from all eternity in the blessed Being of God; it is simply that which God wills. In it are confirmed the prophetic words of the holy Books: “This is my rest forever and ever: here will I dwell, for I have chosen it.” “And the bridegroom shall rejoice over the bride, and thy God shall rejoice over thee.”




Thanks to those hearts that are reborn in love, Christ continues to live upon earth, and to suffer for the salvation of men and the glory of the Father; for they may in very truth say: “And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me.” And, because of this transformation of personality, it is proper for them too to say: “Our conversation is in heaven.” They know too the inner meaning of the following words: “Blessed are the clean of heart.” “He that seeth me seeth the Father also.” “And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that everyone who seeth the Son, and believeth in him, may have life everlasting.” “I will that where I am, they also whom thou has given me may be with me; that they may see my glory which thou has given me...that they may be one, as we also are one: I in them and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one.”




The emanation from these hearth fires of love is incalculable, for by virtue of their union with Christ such souls are kings even as He is King. We must put it more strongly, even at risk of being misunderstood: such souls deliver the world. By acting only in and through God the man of prayer puts himself at the center of all hearts; he influences all; he gives to all of the fullness of the grace which he knows and by which he is possessed.



On the mountain heights of contemplation, the Carthusian abases himself to the lowest depth of the abyss of not being, where he lays upon himself absolute death of self and total detachment from the world, thus making actual his shining ideal: IN SOLITUDE TO LIVE BY GOD ALONE.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Pope Paul VI & Pope Francis

Magnum damnum factum est

          
          It is with great sadness of heart and deep mourning of spirit that we read the news that Pope Paul VI will be added to the catalogue of Saints on Sunday, October 14, 2018 by Pope Francis, the humblest of the Supreme Pontiffs in the Church of the God of Surprises.
          How can this act not be seen by God’s children as a great betrayal of all the Catholic Church has always held sacred and dear for the edification of Her members? To offer as a good example a man who betrayed almost every aspect of Catholic life as known up to his Pontificate is a tremendous scandal to faithful and unfaithful Catholics, as well as to non-Christians. One might even say that it could be a scandal to the fallen angels and their leader, but even belief in such beings has become a thing of the past, in no small part due to the horrible Pontificate of Paul VI.
          What will Paul VI be venerated for? For his unwillingness to clearly teach, correct, and guide the flock of Christ? For his openness to freemasonry and communism? Will we have to burn incense before the statue of that Vicar of Christ who refused to behave as such, and instead shamefully betrayed Cardinal Mindszenty in his (and the Church’s) fight against the communist regime in Hungary? Will he be venerated for the irresistible need he had to eliminate everything and anything Roman in the life of the Church, especially in Her liturgy? For his Calvinistic inclinations? For putting the materialistic needs of man before his observance of God’s commandments? For trying to reinvent a Christianity “unpinned from the Cross” that emphasized human rather than supernatural means and dimensions, which caused many to lose their faith?
          Will Paul VI’s Protestant desire to dismantle the Holy Sanctuary of God be held as an example to follow? Will we be encouraged to embrace his “revisions,” which deformed Catholic worship with a “pertinacious anti-Roman spirit” causing deep consternation among the sheep of Christ? Would we be enthusiastically animated to praise and exult Paul VI’s iconoclastic fury for reforming everything through destruction and mutilation of anything (Roman) that was deemed "offensive" to Protestants, Heretics, and Schismatics, in particular the Latin language, the Sacred Roman Canon, and immemorial rites and ceremonies?
          Will we be expected to continue implementing innovations that he forcefully promulgated, which gave way to numberless dogmatic, religious, moral, and liturgical aberrations that gave the world the impression that the Catholic Church is simply a religion among many, that it was not founded by God Himself for the salvation of souls? How can we, with a truly Catholic spirit, celebrate and extol a pontificate that brought ruin upon the unity, concord, faith, and devotion of God’s little ones?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Meditation On The Carthusian Vocation


“Only those who have experienced the solitude and silence of the wilderness can know what benefit and divine joy they bring to those who love them. There strong men can be recollected as often as they wish, abide within themselves, carefully cultivate the seeds of virtue, and be nourished happily by the fruits of paradise. There one can try to come to clear vision of the divine Spouse who has been wounded by love, to a pure vision that permits them to see God.”

~~St. Bruno, Letter to a friend
 
 
 
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To become a Carthusian, the desire alone does not suffice. He alone remains in the Charterhouse who has felt a call in the very centre of his soul, which is more powerful than any of the contradictory forces within and around him. The Carthusian vocation is a work of God. Our human co-operation is perhaps more indispensable than in any other context, but we are well aware that we are utterly incapable of bringing the work to fruition left to our own devices.

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The seduction of the Absolute
He alone who has experienced this seduction can understand. When God calls, it is so self-evident that all words and arguments are left behind. When God reveals Himself, there is no room for discussion; it is He alone Whom we meet, even if we can find no way of explaining this to others. For want of a better term, let us speak here of “the Absolute”. Such a way of speaking has its disadvantages, as must any discourse about God; yet, it brings to the fore what is the distinctive attribute of an in-depth revelation of God: it is He and no one else.
 
We recognize Him immediately even if we have never met Him before. There is nothing with which we can compare Him. He reveals Himself truly as perfection itself and takes hold of our hearts at once. A thirst is born within us, which nothing can quench except the Absolute. Anyone who has received this wound sets out in quest of the means of reaching the Absolute in so far as it is possible in this life. No doubt, the means available will always be inadequate, but we long to do all that is in our power to attain it.

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1. To give oneself to God for his sake.

To the one who sets out on this quest, the Charterhouse appears from the outset as a world he already knew, sight unseen. It seems to hold the answers, as if by instinct, to his search. There seems to be a sort of connivance between what one is told and what one would have said oneself. To give oneself to God for His sake. To live for Him alone. To renounce everything that is not God and find in Him the fulfilment of all we seek. Not only do we find these formulas written down, but we have the feeling that they are actually being lived, even if we realize that the framework is in many ways rather shabby and apparently a bit shrivelled up.
 
 
2. A complete break with the world.

A Charterhouse couples in a quite inseparable manner both the heady prescriptions for union with God and a brutal rupture from what in traditional monastic language is called “the world”. Despite certain misrepresentations, there is nothing in this of Manichæism, pessimism or contempt for those who are part of “the world”.
 
The world is the whole of humanity engaged in the splendid enterprise of co-operating with the action of the Creator. It is man tending towards God across the whole spectrum of his creation. It is religious man who reflects the face of God in Christ through a thousand forms of apostolate. All of this is good and all reflects God; but none of it is God. Choosing God consequently implies a separation from everything that is not God without even considering all that is involved, and we would not dream of compromising on its exigencies. Even the most wonderful of His creations is nothing compared with Him and He it is Whom we seek.


 

3. Turning unreservedly to God.

We have referred to the seduction of the Absolute. The expression is not too strong. It brings to mind the words of Jeremiah: “You have seduced me, Lord, and I let myself be seduced”. In the joy of finding God, all decisions become easy, however much we may still be obliged to reach them only after careful consideration. One realizes that there can be no other solution; a great threshold must now be crossed which commits us totally and exclusively to the search for God. We must cast ourselves into the abyss, believe in the Absolute, and cut ourselves off from all that is not God.



4. To be resurrected with Christ.

Only Jesus, through His death and resurrection, was able to fulfil this dream completely; to respond with His whole being to the call of God, to cast Himself onto Him and to find Himself again fully in His embrace. To choose the Carthusian way is therefore to immerse oneself in a particularly expressive and effective way in the Resurrection of the Saviour. There must be a death, of which we are not always fully conscious at the start, but which gradually extends its effects into all the dimensions of our lives. Yet there is also a birth into a new life, which truly brings us into intimacy with God.
 
~~A Carthusian