August 2015

New Melleray Church Sanctuary

Silence

One thing people almost always notice about a monastery is the silence. Not infrequently someone trying out life in the monastery for a few weeks will be spooked by silence or at least feel very uncomfortable with silence, especially with the practice of keeping silent when you are in the company of other people, people you don’t know all that well—walking down a corridor next to someone in silence, eating at the same table with others in silence, shaving or brushing your teeth and not talking with the person at the sink next to you, riding an elevator with one or two others in silence—silence can drive them mad! There is very little white noise in the monastery, too: no TVs, no Muzak, and people don’t walk around plugged in to their personal audio devices. There are long chunks of time, say in the morning and then in the evening, when people are together without talking, and monks can be very content sitting in a room together without feeling the need to chatter. It is true that some monks are natural introverts, but temperament has very little to do with it, really; in fact, just as many monks are natural extroverts. Aural silence, rather, like visual silence—darkness and natural light—is about trust; it is about listening with the ear of the heart.

Fr. Mark

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.

-- Mother Theresa

  

Film

Flow (2010). The actor Walter Mann’s private life has been and still is very painful. He never felt understood or loved by his father. He is in an unhappy marriage and is estranged from his daughter because of alcoholism. But now Walter Mann the actor is full of hope. He is facing the opportunity of a lifetime as the star of a play. But on the eve of his debut those closest to Walter so violently alter his life that he cannot follow through. He embarks on a path that leads him through loneliness, misery, and degradation to the discovery that he was more loved than he had realized and, above all, to the healing power of forgiveness. Beneath the storyline is a theme of great depth, an intimate look into a man’s interior. A human being can only find meaning in his life if he is able to come out of himself and open up to the immensity of what transcends him. Juan Santos is sensational in his portrayal of Walter Mann. There are no special effects, just a great actor before the camera with love, pain, and forgiveness. The result is a great film that delights and invites reflection.

Sky at New Melleray Abbey

 

Author: Fr. Mark Scott

Tags: Silence, Flow

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