A carthusian novice master reminds his charges, and his readers, that the call to live wholly and radically in Christ is the vocation of all Christians and all humanity. 'The Christian is not a separate species of human being, but what each person is called to be. And the monk is not a separate species of Christian. He tries to be what each Christian ought to be. Conformity to Christ in faith, hope, and love: this is holiness, and each person is called to this holiness.'
'Prayer is a journey, sometimes a combat There are trials, purifications, passages. It is at once the most simple and the most profound of human activities. May these pages help someone to discover its hidden joy.' Interior Prayer contains the Carthusians' traditional doctrine on prayer—from its very beginnings to the simplicity of its highest forms. Far from being abstract and theorectical, we learn about the prayer process by sharing in the novices' concrete spiritual journey. Their problems and difficulties, and the many pitfalls they encounter on the way, are expressed in an ongoing dialogue with their guide who relates to each one individually.
The author writes with warmth, with learning, with passion and with humor. The reader can enter into something of the accumulated wisdom of an Order whose members 'have carried out the same little series of exercises since the eleventh century'. Each season has its special appeal for Carthusians - as the Conferences on Mary and on John the Baptist in the Advent and Christmas seasons show. The great Sunday Gospels of Lent - the Transfiguration, the Samaritan woman at the well, the raising of Lazarus - are expounded; the Passion of Christ is the subject of meditations that are profoundly and sometimes startlingly direct in their candour. Yet perhaps the most remarkable part of this unusual book the author's capacity to speak at length and to the point about the Resurrection and the coming of the Spirit. Here, where Christian teachers and preachers have so often been either hesitant or dogmatically remote, we have someone who clearly participates in the mysteries of which he speaks. It is a priceless gift to us all.
Followers of the way of Jesus Christ through two millennia have engaged in the joyful yet life—costing struggle of responding to the challenge of being transformed into his likeness. This further volume of Carthusian Novice Conferences offers the father—master's words of instruction on poverty to the men who have been drawn to the Carthusian form of the Christian way. As with all of us, 'poverty' operates on many levels, and one of the most remarkable qualities of these talks is that they range over the economic history as well as the more traditionally spiritual teaching of the Carthusian Order in its own struggle to seek Christ in simplicity and silence. Like all Christians, the Carthusians find Jesus the great Exemplar of the poverty that is desirable and yet 'costs not less than everything'; and once again we are reminded, with characteristic directness, of the source and fount of the desirable poverty - the total mutual self-giving of the Persons of the Holy Trinity.
Calm and spirituality—the true hallmarks of Carthusian writings—distinguish this book. The first part sets out the principles of the interior life; the second works out a method of prayer. There follow eleven sermons, originally given to monks in chapter, which illustrate this approach. The final portion discusses the complex doctrine of the Trinity: the extraordinary clarity. Broken into short chapters, the book is designed for personal reflection and meditation.
'The spiritual centre of the human person, the self', writes the author, 'maintains its fundamental identity for the whole of life on earth and is destined for participation in the eternal life of God... The person is not a succession of separate points at the mercy of the conditions of the moment. God has given us a share in his power as creator, and to create ourselves through our liberty, to go beyond ourselves towards absolute values'. These reflections by a Carthusian novice master for those training for the life of silent love show that in the obedience born of love, one responds to the all encompassing, deeply intimate and sustaining love of God.