Over the last two days monks have been springing up around me!
A three hour, nearly silent documentary on Carthusian monks is becoming a surprise hit.
Sean Farnel of the Toronto Film Festival called it “a film of tranquility, stillness and contemplation…marked by moments of visual splendor and almost tactile sound: the rumpled roar of the wood stove; scissors crisply crunching through heavy cloth; the soothing, murmured rhythms of the liturgy.” “At a time in which spiritual practice is a radically variegated pursuit,” he wrote in a film synopsis, “these privileged observations of one of its purest forms are a balm for our bustling days.”
Actually, I’m not surprised at all. Those of us who have embraced monasticism on some level understand how such a film, such silence can be mesmerizing. There is too much noise…one hears Creation and the Creator in the silence.
The Monks of Clear Creek are pretty interesting. I just got a fundraiser from them which included (yum!) a recording of Gregorian Chant – the Masses of Christmas. This new monastery, located in Oklahoma, is a foundation of French Abbey Notre Dame de Fontgombault, itself a foundation of Saint Pierre de Solesmes. Twenty years ago a few Americans, including an ex-Marine, went to France to seek the monastic ideal as still practiced at Fontgmabault, and now they and their French and Canadian brothers have come home to bring that ideal here – and we need it, badly.
The good news is, in only five years, the community has doubled in size, and there are men waiting for the very ambitious, Romanesque building to be completed so they can enter and begin trying their vocations as Benedictines. Monastics saved Western Civilization once before…maybe we’ll be needing them again!
Here is a “monastic” sort searching for Authenticity.