Thursday, October 6, 2016

The One Thing Necessary

In this age of Skype and Facetime, I suppose its somewhat behind the times for me to have carried on a twenty-five year long correspondence with a friend whom I have never met in person (and who, this side of heaven), I probably won't have the opportunity to meet face-to-face. (Although I hope to someday!)  My friend is a Carthusian monk (and a fellow iconographer) now living in a Charterhouse (Carthusian monastery) in Spain.  Letters from him are few and far between -- I'm pretty sure that the number of personal letters he is permitted to write in the course of a year are limited -- but always welcome.

The Carthusians live a semi-eremetical life.  Each choir monk lives in complete solitude and silence, joining with the other monks twice daily, for the night office and the conventual Mass.  Each week they come together for Sunday Mass, a shared meal and a period of recreation (which involves talking to each other).  Periodically their rule requires them to join in a day long cross-country hike outside the monastery.

Its an austere and demanding way of life and few are truly called to their unique vocation to prayer, solitude and silence. Nonetheless, their life together is a reminder of the one thing necessary, to create space and time and stillness in one's own life for the encounter with God.

On this feast of St. Bruno, the 11th century founder of the Carthusians,   I'm grateful for their challenging example and reminded to continue to hold my friend and his companions in prayer.

No comments:

Post a Comment