Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Carthusian Monks - The Strictest Order in the Catholic Church

"Stat crux, dum vólvitur orbis" The motto of the Carthusian Order.
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To become a Carthusian Monk, 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. 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’.
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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.
 
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Carthusian monks being expelled from France by the army because contemplative Orders were deemed "useless to society" (some Orders could teach, others took care of the sick, others helped the poor and homeless, etc., but contemplative Orders were seen as absolutely "useless"). 
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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). 
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The fruits of contemplation are: liberty, peace, and joy. O Bonitas! O Goodness, was the cry which issued from the heart of St. Bruno 
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Through this little door, the monks receive their food.
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But the unification of the heart and the entrance into the contemplative rest 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.»
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Monks collecting herbs in order to make Chartreuse! 
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A monk in the process of making Chartreuse.
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Another monk in the process of making Chartreuse.
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This is where Chartreuse is kept.
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The aging of Chartreuse! 
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Different types of Chartreuse and elixirs made by the monks, which is one of the glories of this wonderful contemplative Order.
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