Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Fascinating Post

Fr. Finigan from The Hermeneutic of Continuity has just returned from spending some time at the Great Cloister of St Hugh's, Parkminster. He has posted numerous pictures with descriptions which are quite fascinating and well worth taking the time to read through.

"The Carthusian leaves his cell three times a day - for the Night Office, Mass, and Vespers. If it is necessary to leave the cell for something else: to go to the library or to a class, for example, the recommendation is to try to arrange that activity after Mass or before Vespers so that there is no need to leave the cell on an additional occasion.

The purpose of the solitude and silence is to draw closely to God in contemplative union - to broaden the inner horizon while restricting the worldly horizon would be one way of trying to explain it. There is a great emphasis on prayer as "direct" union with God - praying rather than thinking about prayer, or God, or the truths of the faith. The Carthusians thus have a strong affinity with the desert Fathers whose aim was essentially the same.

As a parish priest, I am often on my own in the presbytery. People who visit to arrange a Baptism or a Wedding comment on how quiet it is, how they can hear the clock ticking, or the birds singing for example. This is in contrast to a world in which people abhor silence, as "nature abhors a vacuum" and blot out the silence with the television or with recorded music. The silence of the Charterhouse is not an empty silence, not simply an absence of noise. It is a silence in which God can communicate with the soul, where distractions are reduced to a minimum."