April 2016

Memories are Made of This

The monks of New Melleray are Christians. One thing about being a Christian is memory. Memory is at the roots of the Christian reality: “Do this in memory of me,” Jesus said. We can call memory awareness or consciousness. Memory gives meaning to what we do and also to our relationships. It is memory that makes sure that the person you kiss when you get home from work is your own spouse and not someone else’s; that the children you play with and read to are your own and not someone else’s. In times of difficulty and sadness, memory reminds us that sadness and difficulty is not all there is: there have been real and genuine moments of joy and intimacy, and memory gives us the hope that there will be those moments again. At least memory does not let us reduce our entire life and self-image to our mood at the moment, especially to a negative mood. If we are to be healthier, less violent and angry, less aggressive and selfish, it is memory of the terrible effects on others of our stupid behavior that will help us correct our course in the future; the memory of the tears on a child’s face after our verbal thoughtlessness towards her will help see that we never see those tears again. Memory is part of forgiveness, too; and it is memory that brings Birthday cards and Anniversary kisses and especially hope for a better day.

Fr Mark

 

Film

Alejandro Mondteverde, Bella (2006). The name Bella means beautiful. And it's a word that does not in any way apply to José or his life when we first meet him. Scruffy and forlorn, José hasn't been the same since a tragic accident ended his promising soccer career. Now he's the head chef at his brother's fancy restaurant. People worry about José. Working at that same restaurant is a young, unmarried woman named Nina who does not want to be pregnant. But she is. And her morning sickness and late arrivals get her fired. No one worries about Nina—except José. José is drawn to the troubled woman and offers his help. She's suspicious of his intentions at first, but her situation and his quiet persistence motivate her to accept the proffered friendship. This artistically low-key yet emotionally complex and compelling story focuses on two friends—one damaged by the past and the other afraid of the future—who help each other make a pair of life-changing choices. Bella is an unusually intelligent, humane film that reminds us how easy it is to impact one person's life—and perhaps save another's—simply by being sensitive to people who are hurting and carving out time to care. It is a tender tale of grace, faith, redemption, and the sanctity of life. It is an intimate narrative that will surely fly well beneath the Hollywood blockbuster radar. But it's a film that does fly directly in the face of Hollywood's—and society's—"it's all about me" credo. 

Author: Fr. Mark Scott

Tags: Memory, Bella

This simple communication is one way for me as abbot of New Melleray Abbey to communicate with the abbey’s employees and volunteers. My intention is to give our stakeholders some idea of the values and lifestyle of the monks and to share things that I have found worthwhile, thoughtful, and/or humorous. It is hoped that this sharing from the abbot will strengthen the bonds of partnership and collaboration between the monastic community and our extended community of employees and volunteers.

Fr. Mark

Abbot