Into Great Silence. Absolutely beautiful film, but if you aren’t up on forms of Benedictine monasticism, make sure you learn a thing or two about it first, otherwise you’ll be completely lost, since the film assumes you know a thing or two about the rhythm of their life. It’s also nearly 3 hours of complete silence, except for the sounds naturally occurring from daily life. I loved it, but other people hated it. It began with images of one monk praying. It’s something so intimate, almost voyeuristic, to watch someone in prayer. But over the course of the movie, you’re sucked into it. Also, the quotes interspersed over the course of the movie are the best introduction to lectio divina that I’ve ever seen.
Still working on the other paper. The movie made me wonder, how different my life would’ve been, had I not met my fiancé and not been accepted into a doctorate program. (I would’ve investigated a vocation with the Trappists…) Then again, my life isn’t much different already.
One of the things that dawned on me earlier from my retreat last March was that I actually have more time for silence and prayer when I’m at home. Like now, I’m in my department’s building, and it’s the Friday before graduation, so it’s empty. My typing and the laptop’s hard drive are the loudest noises around. This office is like a cell, an extention of my cloister.
Thing is, people like McClary (and the indignant sighers at the SIFF last Wednesday) aren’t ever going to see the craziness that makes us choose this life. It’s like the anointing at Bethany–those who are obsessed to the material cost of things can’t ever see beyond it.
It’s not about gender, it’s not about sex, it’s not about power, it’s not about economic relevance. It’s about answering a call from within our very beings. For the monastic or for the composer, there is no other choice which will bring meaning to their lives.