The Church remembers today one of its hidden sons, Bruno the Carthusian. Born around 1030 in Cologne, he passed into eternal glory on October 2, 1101 in Serra San Bruno. Of all his earthly accomplishments, he is credited with founding the magnificent Carthusian Order and its first two communities. He is also noted as being a renowned teacher at Reims and the papal adviser to his former student, Pope Urban II.
St. Bruno had an exceptional reputation for holiness in all the virtues. His brothers and contemporaries all agreed that of all the virtues, three stood out, namely,
- Earnest and fervent prayer
- Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
I have held a special place in my heart for the Carthusians since Franciscan University when I used to accompany Fr. Augustine to one of their hermitages for him to hear confessions. What a beautiful time in my life!
The motto of the Carthusians I have made my own which I keep before me daily, “Stat crux dum volvitur orbis” or in the vernacular, “The Cross is steady while the earth is turning.” So much in this simple phrase.
In our present situation, I believe that we could apply this to the fact that while the world argues over what is sin or isn’t, whether there are absolute truths or not, and the duplicity of the worldly Christian, the cross and its Gospel do not change. Simply put, the Son of God died for the sons of men so the sons of men could become the Sons of God.
Unfortunately, I think that devotion to the Holy Cross of Christ has been usurped by a fast-food, give it to me now, hedonistic society – and that is for us Christians. We have forgotten what to do without means. We need everything now. And, when we do not get it, we quit. How can anyone grow in their spiritual life needing, dare I say demanding, instant spiritual gratification? our Lord takes His time and will not be forced, tricked or ordered around. Like Psalm 115:3 says,
Our God is in heaven, whatever he wills He does.
Case in point: I remember when I was first married how my wife and I dreamed of working our way up to owning a house (still working). Or, how we one day dreamed of buying furniture or paying for a vacation. It took 16 years but we paid for our first family vacation this year, a week in Kitty Hawk. It felt so good to not only accomplish a goal but to look back and see the lean years of minimal vacations.
Today, we are amazed by the youth how if they want it and cannot afford it, mom and dad flip the bill (will not be happening for wants in our house). We also enjoy the argument that vacations, trips and get-aways are needs. There is no sense or habit of self-denial and discipline. The cross, to many, is only a symbol of violence, torture and pain (all true) which should be avoided at all costs – except the token remembrance during Lent of course or jewelry of course.
The cross though is the hope of our salvation, our sweetness in redemption, the love of a redeemed heart and the triumph of a slain King who took His life up again. The cross is the necessary doorway to eternal glory – there is no other way in. Death precedes glory and the cross before the crown.
If we only knew the power of the cross. If we would but unite ourselves to it, we would quickly discover the fire and power that drove the saints to the height of holiness. May St. Bruno intercede for us that we may become the sons and daughters of God we were designed to be.