I think that one of the most beautiful messages that the Carthusians send to the Church is the power of prayer, penance and discipline. All too often on these threads we get caught up in conflicts over different situations in the Church.
The Carthusians are a very interesting example of another way to live. They are not ignorant of what is happening in the world or the Church. Yet, they never speak of it. I once visited the Carthusian foundation in Spain. I asked the retreat master about some of the issues in the Church such as the SSPX and the changes in the liturgy, etc. I wanted to know what the Carthusians thought of these things from their silent perspective. His ansswer was most inspiring.
He said, “We do not worry about those things, because it is not our vocation to worry about them. God calls every person to a different role in the Church. Our role is not to solve the Church’s problems through engagement. We respond through prayer and by laying down our lives. We are called to do what Christ did, to lose ourselves so that the Church may be reborn.”
On the third day of my retreat we spoke of other things happening in the world, such as abortion. He said, “Abortion is the greatest enemy of the Gospel in the modern world. But the Carthusian engages in prayer and lowliness for every abortion in the world. Christ has promised us that when our self-denial is perfected this horrible sin will be erradicated.”
It was interesting to see such faith in the power of prayer, self-denial and silence as a means to transform the world. I was also impressed by how they understand their vocation not to engage in these debates as an example for others.
They do not live this life for themselves, but in the hope that others will see their prayer and their silence and take note. They are completely convinced that every Catholic who sees them or hears of them will learn something about the power of prayer, self-denial and silence and will put it into practice in their daily lives according to their circumstances.
They live for us as a community of brothers who prays for us and with us, but also as an example of what we should aspire to be, totally united to God and dependent on God’s goodness.
I hope that everyone who sees this film will take something of their life and apply it to themselves. I know that what I have learned has helped me a great deal, especially in maintaining a sense of peace despite the conflicts around me.