Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Great Silence

INTO GREAT SILENCE is the first ever film about life inside the Grande Chartreuse, the head monastery of the legendary Carthusian Order of monks based in the French Alps. A near-silent meditation on monastic life in a very pure form, the film contains no music except the chants in the monastery, no interviews or commentaries. The gentle rhythm of the monastic prayers and rituals give the film a beautiful cadence, and the passing of time and the change of seasons are captured by Groning’s stunning cinematography. A sublime experience that offers a welcome retreat from the frantic pace of contemporary life.

The film is showing locally at Richmond. Click here to get more details.

You can see a preview of The Great Silence here:

And here's a review of the film by Fr Tim Finigan who lectures at Parkminster, the Carthusian Abbey in southern England.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Evening of Recollection

Tonight I preached the monthly Evening of Recollection for men in the parish. We have two recollections each month, one for men the other for women. Sometimes I'm asked why we don't combine them. The answer I give usually is sufficient explanation: these monthly mini-retreats are meant to be challenging. We hear the points that are made and seek to apply them to our own life - not to that of our spouse. It would be awful to say something when giving a meditation that then became ammunition in an argument at home! I might remind the men, for example, that they should be considerate to their wives and express that consideration in practical details - by bringing a gift home on Valentine's Day. I wouldn't want a wife to complain, "See, even the priest said you should do such and such..."
Anyway, I didn't in fact venture into such dangerous waters tonight. The first meditation was about the Mass and the second looked at 'unity of life' or how we live our Christian faith with integrity. There was also a talk given by a lay man and some time for examination of conscience and spiritual reading while I heard Confessions. The evening ended with Benediction at 9.00pm.
Pope John Paul once said that our parishes should become 'schools of prayer'. It is very much at the heart of priestly ministry that we should teach people to pray. Our Evenings of Recollection are one of the ways we seek to do this in our parish.