Thursday, June 13, 2013

Living in the Light

And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind came an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
After the fire came a whisper...
 I Kings  19: 11-13

Behold the silence...
it allows the Lord to speak to us.

My first intention, while viewing Into Great Silence, was to listen but I soon found myself looking at the visual work of the photographer's camera. It was such a pleasure to be allowed inside this private world of prayer and song to witness the silence that the Carthusian order creates to make way for the voice of God. Every frame of Philip Groenig's documentary introducing us to the Grand Chartreuse monastery is filled with beauty and order.
 And light.

sunlight streaming into the mail room

light patterns shifting through the solitary cells,
 creating welcome surfaces for reading, eating, and washing

Although, the film has a sound track, Roger Ebert's movie review points out that these sounds are quite in contrast to the noisy and violent ones we encounter in most films and in our everyday lives. These are the sounds of the natural rhythms of age-old routines being carried out~~the hand-sawing of firewood, scissors snipping white wool for a new cassock, fires crackling in cell stoves, rain falling on tiled rooftops, chimes ringing, barbers' shears buzzing over monks' heads, or the rhythm of a kitchen monk's knife blade as it cuts through green vegetables.

Each monk contributes physical labor to the community's upkeep. After all, someone has to feed the cats, prepare and deliver meals (it looked like room service with plates of food passed through small openings into cells). Others are responsible for cutting firewood, laundering clothes, tailoring robes, repairing shoes, and cleaning floors.

a monk coaxes garden beds into the sunlight by removing snow

 St. Bruno prescribes recreation and conversation for residents in order to create a sense of family life. "Our delicate natures can be refreshed and renewed by the charms and beauties of woods and countryside." After a communal midday meal taken in silence on Sundays, the brothers happily hurry outdoors for brilliant walks in the sunshine, group gatherings on a hilltop for discussions. Occasionally, in winter, laughter rings out over the side of the mountain as they ski down the slopes on handmade snowshoes..

It was a lovely visit.
I watched the film twice.
Thank you, Netflix.


Dewena Callis said...

Becky, thank you for letting us share in some of the results of your retreat. I hope this documentary is available other than on Netflix. I'll search for it. This was a special post with words and images of beauty and your blog design also conveys what I imagine you are trying to give to us at Abbey Style.

tammy j said...

well dear heart.
you chose a good day to come back with the inspiration of such beauty.
i needed this post. these words. those pictures. each one a work of art.
the world is too much with me today and i drank up this silence and your wonderful spirit. xo
like my dear dewena... i'm going to find a copy of this film. thank you!

S. Etole said...

So little true silence left in the world today.

Karen Blackford said...

We have become a society that needs a soundtrack for every activity. Even at the beach where the sound of the wind, waves & birds are contemplation in themselves, someone plops down on their blanket and proceeds to tune in their boom box to music they find superior to the creation tunes already available. Thunk! I coulda had a V-8.

rosaria williams said...

Interesting how we have lost our primary ways, lost in a world that drowns us, and we don't even know what is hurting us.
Thanks for sharing this.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Yes another reason for me to finally get Netflix :) Happy Saturday my friend.

Dimple said...

Hi Becky, thanks for coming by!
The mushrooms were small, and colonizing an area surrounded by saplings. Just the sort of area one might find fairy cushions...

I love the silence of nature: it is not silent, of course, but my life is so noisy it seems silent by comparison. A walk in the woods is just what I need to reset myself so I can go on with everyday life in good humor.


Cobalt Violet said...

Yay! I'm cracking up because I was reading and thinking , I need to ask her if it's on Netflix ... but you answered my question. It's going in my queue immediately. what did we do before netflix!?


Hanne Bente said...

Hello Becky - this is where a "horror movie".
Hope you are well. Wish you a good Sunday :) Hugs!

Debbie said...

Your quest to hear from God refreshes my soul, Becky. You inspire me to keep listening in the silence...those times when I'm alone with God. Feeling His presence, waiting for just a whisper. Then I hear it, as a mallard slides into the water....that smooth sound of the water dividing, and passing over the silky feathers of the male duck. It soothes my ears, and my spirit.
You are one of a kind. A blessing. A friend.


I am glad they left the sounds of life in the film.

Thanks, Becky, for sharing this ... it will be on my summer list.


ps. I finally posted wedding pictures.


ps. Are you feeling refreshed?