It is in adversity that loved is proved. The depth of a mother’s love is never so apparent as when the lives of her children are in danger. “I beseech thee, my lord” – thus did a mother appeal before the judgment of king Solomon – “I beseech thee, give her the child alive, and do not kill it” (1 Reg 3, 26). It was a cry born of a mother’s love, which was precisely what the wisdom of the judge expected. Let us borrow again from the Carthusian life of our founder the account of the trial which moved the heart of our heavenly Mother to come to the assistance of our Order, when it was grievously tried – a trial which, but for her intercession, would have dealt a mortal wound to the first hermits of Chartreuse.
Bruno had been summoned to Rome by his former pupil Eudes de Châtillon, now Pope Urban II, who desired the assistance of his counsel in the government of the Church. The recently born community, with exception of a few of its members who had returned to the world, had followed their Master who was their light and consolation. But after staying some time in the Eternal City, most of them agreed to return to their solitude. It was the moment for which the tempter had been waiting. Let us leave the recital of what followed to Bruno’s biographer.
“After their return to the Grande Chartreuse, the first companions of Saint Bruno had ardently taken up once more their austere and devoted form of life, under the direction of Landuin their Prior. Once more the desert became a Paradise, but the infernal serpent found the secret of how to enter and disturb the peace of the little flock of the servants of God. As instruments of his malice, he made use of some so-called hermits established at a place called Currière not far from the monastery. These lawless men, who merited all too well the sadly significant title of roving monks, while giving themselves up to idleness and detraction, held all discipline and obedience in abhorrence. They went so far as to circulate calumnies against the Carthusian monks whose well-known virtue they could not endure. What charges did they bring against them? According to one author, Surius, they alleged that their austerities were beyond human endurance, and that these were a danger to their lives.
“The repetition of these accusations finally disturbed the poor Carthusians, who wondered whether they ought not to bow before the storm, and again leave their desert. Doubtless their Prior made every effort to reassure them, but without success; it needed the intervention of heaven to restore their peace. While they were trying to decide their course of action without being able to come to any definite decision, a venerable old man, believed to be Saint Peter, appeared to them and said to them: ‘You are greatly perplexed, my brothers, and do not know whether to stay or leave this place. Listen to what I have to tell you in the Name of Almighty God. The Blessed Mother of God will keep you safe forever in this desert, if you will recite every day the Office composed in her honour.’ At once the apparition vanished, but peace and confidence had returned to the souls of the monks, comforted by their heavenly visitor. From that time on, the Office of Our Blessed Lady has been recited daily by the Carthusians, who still follow faithfully this holy practice, to which they owe the special protection of their Immaculate Mother, whose power they have so often experienced in the course of centuries.” (Life of Saint Bruno, by a monk of the Grande Chartreuse).