5 - In memory of Rene Voillaume 1905 -2003, His Message

Brother Charles at Beni AbbesBrother Charles at Beni Abbes


We have to get to know the forms of opposition our contemplative vocation will encounter in the world, and the forms of complicity that this opposition will find within us, sometimes to the extent of shaking our convictions, and blunting our desire for prayer and making us doubt the value of a life of intimacy with the Lord. There are days when we will be tempted to agree with those who claim that it is useless to want to encounter Jesus anywhere other than in people.

If God was not the supremely Real, if he was not personal to the extent that a relationship of knowledge and love could be established between Him and his creature, made in his image, then it would be true that there could be no contemplation. How can we contemplate someone who is not, or cannot draw us to Himself, nor speak to our hearts, nor reveal something of his face at the depths of ourselves, where He alone can reach?

Certainly we can only do so in the obscure intuition of a presence, but this intuition is enough to stir up our love and the desire, the hope of a definitive and total encounter. If it was not like this contemplation would only be a conceptual or imaginary universe that we would have created for ourselves. And the search for contemplation, like all prayer, would be stripped of meaning and foundation.

If human beings do not have a personal destiny in God, beyond death, prayer has no meaning, it would be only a cry in the emptiness, a call without a reply, a desperate thirst for love which would only be able to encounter the deceptive echo of what people can offer us.

The contemplative experience attests to us that God is alive, that God is Spirit, that God draws us to Himself, that we are personally loved by Him and that a personal salvation is brought about between Him and us through Him. (To the brothers of Beni-Abbes, November 18,