Saturday, October 28, 2006

An Infinity of Little Hours



Nothing is impossible for God.

A book by Nancy Klein Maguire about "the trial of faith of five young men in the Western world's most austere monastic order." It deals with five young men who entered the Carthusian Charterhouse at Parkminster in Britain in the 1960's. I found it on our reject shelves! Books decided against for the catalog are placed there. It was the galley copy as well - which means we got it early in the year. It's one of the hottest books of the year as regards monasticism - and we are not carrying it.

I'm reading it now and I will be ordering it for the Store.

Reading short snippets of the book left me nostalgic - if only I could have died at the Chartehouse in Vermont when I was there, since I could not enter. Just looking at the photo of the Carthusian in his cell breaks my heart.

The one account I began reading caused me to reflect on the proper candidate for Carthusian eremetic life, as well as for other forms of contemplative life. It is a high standard to meet if one wishes to be enclosed for the rest of one's life. The person generally needs a stable family background, to be free of psychological disorders of any kind, and able to live chastely. Of course, a person needs to be deeply in love with Our Lord Jesus Christ and longing for an intimate relationship with him through prayer - even to the point of complete detachment from one's personal devotions and manner of prayer. Then comes obedience.

The candidate must be willing and able to take direction and live in obedience, allowing himself to be taught, as well as guided in the spiritual life.

Good vocations come from good homes. The thought kept going through my mind. One may have every quality and every virtue necessary for Carthusian life, yet if there is any lack of stability that has affected the candidate's life, from early childhood onwards, the fellow will have a rough time of it and most likely will not persevere.

1 comment:

  1. I read "An Infinity of Little Hours" and liked it very much. Your post is excellent, Terry. You are spot on about a stable home life being the best preparation for the cloister . . . and yet, and yet. . . neurotics, the broken, and the scarred, sometimes do persevere and becoming shining trophies of the Divine Mercy. Perhaps women have a better record of that than men, though.

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