28 July 2011

A Pilgrimage to the Original Chartreuse

What benefit, what divine delight, solitude and the silence of the hermitage bring to those who love them, only those who have experienced them can tell. Here is experienced that eye by whose serene gaze the Spouse is wounded with love; that eye pure and clean, by which God is seen. . (Saint Bruno, Letter to Raoul le Verd)

Anyone who wants to experience something of the Carthusian vocation in its original purity and force, must go past the actual Grande Chartreuse, a good mile further up in the valley, to the edge of the Desert: there he will have reached the place where the first hermitage stood. Let him wander around there freely, let him "sit alone and keep silence." There in the midst of these piles of fallen rock and the wild luxuriance of vegetation, he too will experience a detachment from "the fleeting shadows of this world," and a sense of "the things of eternity," flowing into his soul. All the values of his life will fall into place. His eyes and his heart will be purified, and he will be able to see God, and human beings, and objects, in the light of truth.

In this desert place, he will discover four memorials, which will help him to visualize the first Chartreuse: Saint Bruno's Chapel, the Chapel of Our Lady of Casalibus, Saint Bruno's Spring, the Cross of the first cemetery.

- Saint Bruno and the Carthusians -