Friday, May 29, 2009

Into Great Silence

"Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks’ quarters for six months—filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one—it has no score, no voice over and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental: time, space and light. One of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created, INTO GREAT SILENCE dissolves the border between screen and audience with a total immersion into the hush of monastic life. More meditation than documentary, it’s a rare, transformative theatrical experience for all."

My mom bought this just a few days ago, and I can truly say that it is an amazing documentary of what goes on inside these monasteries. I have watched it on and off and still haven't gotten through it (I've watched almost three hours total so far). What hits me the most is how manly these men are, old and young alike. Some think of military personal, police officers, and firemen as "real" men, but I think we should add another to that list. These monks devote their entire lives to simplicity and to prayer. They pray constantly to God on behalf of the rest of us working and carrying out our daily duties in this secular world.

They embrace such loneliness and suffering for the rest of us. It is amazing to me how much patience these men have. They all find such joy in small things, and have no ambitions to please anyone but God in their own personal daily works.

But what gets me the most, is to think that these men are, just that, men! They are just regular adult men who decide to devout their lives to prayer for the Church. Anyone can do this, if they are called to do it.

All of this is what appeals to me in the form of the priesthood, and possibly a religious order. These feelings and lifestyles are what I long for. When I stumble across things such as this movie, they seem to push me more and more into a life of simplicity and devotion to God's will in the vocation of the priesthood. (This can happen to anyone answering God's call- whatever their vocation.) For now, and for times to come, I will live my life in accord to God's will. I am merely an instrument of His great Love.

"Let it be done to me according to your will. "