01 September 2010

Immersing Oneself in the Resurrection of the Saviour

A Carthusian monk describes intimacy with God as ‘a thirst born within us’, a ‘wound’, and ‘a sharing in the solitude of God’.

True solitude, really worthy of the name, must trace its way back to its source. It is not obedience to an external law, nor a flight from others, nor a world closed on itself, but an encounter with the living God. Solitude is a gratuitous gift, destined to be received in all humility; it is not our own creation, nor that of anyone else. It does not consist in doing anything, nor in trying to become somebody: it is a sharing in the solitude of God. This divine solitude is not, as is sometimes said rather too glibly, His isolation with respect to creatures so different from Him: it is rather the fullness that He finds in the intimacy with His Word, springing from His Bosom, and returning to Him in the Spirit. It is in and through Jesus Christ that we will penetrate into the true solitude which is God.

We recognize Him immediately even if we have never met Him before. There is nothing with which we can compare Him. He reveals Himself truly as perfection itself and takes hold of our hearts at once. A thirst is born within us which nothing can quench except the Absolute. Anyone who has received this wound sets out in quest of the means of reaching the Absolute in so far as it is possible in this life. No doubt the means available will always be inadequate, but we long to do all that is in our power to attain it.

The world is the whole of humanity engaged in the splendid enterprise of co-operating with the action of the Creator. It is man tending towards God across the whole spectrum of His creation. It is religious man who reflects the Face of God in Christ through a thousand forms of apostolate. All of this is good and all reflects God; but none of it is God. Choosing God consequently implies a separation from everything that is not God without even considering all that is involved, and we would not dream of compromising on its exigencies. Even the most wonderful of His creations is nothing compared with Him and He it is Whom we seek.

In the joy of finding God, all decisions become easy, however much we may still be obliged to reach them only after careful consideration. One realizes that there can be no other solution; a great threshold must now be crossed which commits us totally and exclusively to the search of God. We must cast ourselves into the abyss, believe in the Absolute, and cut ourselves off from all that is not God.

Only Jesus, through His death and Resurrection, was able to fulfil this dream completely; to respond with His whole Being to the call of God, to cast Himself onto Him, and to find Himself again fully in His embrace. To choose the Carthusian way is therefore to immerse oneself in a particularly expressive and effective way in the Resurrection of the Saviour. There must be a death, of which we are not always fully conscious at the start, but which gradually extends its effects into all the dimensions of our lives. Yet there is also a birth into a new life which truly brings us into intimacy with God.