Saturday, December 22, 2007

The NRO Reviews Film on the Monastic Life

Thomas Hibbs describes this DVD on the monastic life which won a prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Hibbs says praises it for reacquainting us with the world of silence:

Slogans urging us to “keep Christ in Christmas,” or “recall the reason for the season,” sound about as hollow as the Christmas jingles that reverberate in our ears every time we enter a store. Those in search of an antidote might consider watching the newly released DVD Into Great Silence, Philip Groening’s movingly observed study of the daily lives of Carthusian monks at La Grande Chartreuse, founded in the French Alps in 1084.



What do we find in the quiet? While laid low by the flu last week I had the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the Christ story, and rediscover it -- as it were -- almost after I had forgotten it from familiarity. I have often wondered what went through the minds of becalmed sailors in the age when wind, not motors, drove vessels forward; of what happens in those silences. We certainly have a record of what happened to Ignatius of Loyola during the nine months he spent recovering from a cannonball that smashed his leg. And thinking on it, I've come to conclude that while quiet is sometimes a useful circumstance, it is by no means a sufficient condition for the process of retaking one's life. It is what comes in the quiet and not the quiet itself that's important.

Despite the accolades of the Sundance Festival, physical silence is nothing in and of itself. Silence is often regarded as inhuman. For example, Amnesty International calls solitary confinement at Guantanamo Bay a human rights violation. Those who are familiar with the various monastic and hermetical traditions must ask themselves, what makes of silence either a punishment or a place of discovery?

I've not sure that either the circumstance of having to listen to Christmas jingles at a crowded mall nor the process of being alone in a cell in Guantanamo are absolute determinants of human freedom. The circumstances are important to be sure, but it is the "something else" that makes the difference. Thomas Merton may have put it best:

Let me keep silence in this world, except in so far as God wills and in the way He wills it. Let me at least disappear into the writing I do. It should mean nothing special to me, nor harm my recollection. The work could be a prayer: its results should not concern me.

What did Merton mean by that? Unfortunately the only way to find out is to go in after him, through the portal of the world's laughter or the door of silence.

47 Comments:

Blogger Gerard said...

How passing strange. Just 15 minutes ago, for reasons I am not sure of I bought and downloaded the theme music from THE MISSION. Then, as I was playing it, I brought up Google Reader and found your post at the top of the hunt.

Being a devotee of all things Belmont I can here only to find this clip.

Strange. Passing strange.

12/22/2007 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Contemplation is for the sickly old and the dead. To live, you only need courage.

12/22/2007 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Contemplation is for the sickly old and the dead. To live, you only need courage.
/////////////
yes but where do you get the courage to live when courage fails.

From God? But only great men like King David and the high priests had access to God and the latter only once a year.
/////////////////////
St John resolved the epistomological question presented by Genesis 1. In the beginning God....by beginning the book of John with 1. In the beginning was the word.


What you know are words.

Jesus is the word made flesh. In him we have access to God anywhere. He makes the currency ie the word good. Its not a vapor or an odor.

Matthew 18:20.For where two or three be gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.

As for Merton -- here's a Wikipedia history of the guy

He reads like a very rootless individual. He's a man without a country. Nor did he ever know one.

12/23/2007 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"yes but where do you get the courage to live when courage fails."

..
Not from the Church of Jesus. The Church of Jesus has been and continues to be the most cowardly despicable and down right evil human organization to ever exist.

Here's the latest example:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1196847405550&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

12/23/2007 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Fausta said...

Words articulate ideas, but ideas must be contemplated in silence, not simply articulated.

Beautiful post.

12/23/2007 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Mətušélaḥ,

Regarding your post "Not from the Church of Jesus. The Church of Jesus has been and continues to be the most cowardly despicable and down right evil human organization to ever exist... "

Was it your intention to take a shot at charles by associating his comments with a galactic level moron like Sabbah? Or are you making a more general assertion about the Catholic Church, or all of Christendom?

While I would agree that history is rife with evils done in the name of Christ, both by individuals and various organized christian religions, charles' gracious comment hardly seems to be born of such malevolent character... or do the two of you have a history, and I'm simply late to the party?

12/23/2007 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Triton'sPolarTiger,

The Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah is the highest-ranking Catholic Church official in Israel. He is the Catholic Church in Israel.

Now, how much do we need to wager that this Michel Sabbah, this cowardly, this despicable, this down right evil human being and highest-ranking Catholic Church official in Israel, will remain at his position well after the 2008 Christmas Holiday? And if he remains, what should that tell Israelis?

12/23/2007 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Triton'sPolarTiger,

Just to be clear, I'm an equal opportunity "religious bigot". I strongly dislike (put mildly) organized religion and the people that associate themselves with organized religion. Belief in the mystical is a private individual psychosis, and that's where it should stay.

I do like Charles, though. Despite his psychosis. :)

12/23/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Chavo said...

Words by Peter Handke

Performed by Van Morrison - The Philosophers Stone

When the child was a child
It walked with arms hanging
Wanted the stream to be a river and the river a torrent
And this puddle, the sea
When the child was a child, it didn't know
It was a child
Everything for it was filled with life and all life was one
Saw the horizon without trying to reach it
Couldn't rush itself And think on command
Was often terribly bored
And couldn't wait
Passed up greeting the moments
And prayed only with it's lips
When the child was a child
It didn't have an opinion about a thing
Had no habits
Often sat crossed-legged, took off running
Had a cow lick in it's hair
And didn't put on a face when photographed

When the child was a child
It was the time of the following questions
Why am I me and why not you
Why am I here and why not there
Why did time begin and where does space end
Isn't what I see and hear and smell
Just the appearance of the world in front of the world
Isn't life under the sun just a dream
Does evil actually exist in people
Who really are evil
Why can't it be that I who am
Wasn't before I was
And that sometime I, the I, I am
No longer will be the I, I am

When the child was a child
It gagged on spinach, on peas, on rice pudding
And on steamed cauliflower
And now eats all of it and not just because it has to
When the child was a child
It woke up once in a strange bed
And now time and time again
Many people seem beautiful to it
And now not so many and now only if it's lucky
It had a precise picture of paradise
And now can only vaguely conceive of it at best
It couldn't imagine nothingness
And today shudders in the face of it
Go for the ball
Which today rolls between it's legs
With it's I'm here it came
Into the house which now is empty

When the child was a child
It played with enthusiasm
And now only with such former concentration
Where it's work is concerned
When the game, task, activity, subject happens to be it's work

When the child was a child
It was enough to live on apples and bread. And it's still that way
When the child was a child berries fell
Only like berries into it's hand. And still do
The fresh walnuts made it's tongue raw. And still do
Atop each mountain it craved
Yet a higher mountain. And in each city it craved
Yet a bigger city. And still does
Reach for the cherries in the treetop
As elated as it still is today
Was shy in front of strangers. And still is
It waited for the first snow. And still waits that way
When the child was a child
It waited restlessly each day for the return of the loved one
And still waits that way
When the child was a child
It hurled a stick like a lance into a tree
And it's still quivering there today

The child, the child was a child
Was a child, was a child, was a child, was a child
Child, child, child
When the child, when the child, when the child
When the child, when the child
The child, child, child, child, child

(added words by Van Morrison)
And on and on and on and on, etc. And onward
With a sense of wonder
Upon the highest hill. Upon the highest hill
When the child was a child
Are you there
Shassas, shassas
Up on a highest hill
When the child was a child, was a child, was a child
Was a child, was a child, was a child, etc.

12/23/2007 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Chavo said...

Merry Christmas All.

Chavo

12/23/2007 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

There's more to say on Merton. From my NYC days when I was at columbia I thought about that guy from time to time because he was an alumni there. First of all, I don't think Merton ever wrote anything worth remembering. Consider:

Let me at least disappear into the writing I do.

What does this mean? Is he a squid? Manhattan produces these kinds of people. Like Merton they're trust fund babies. The most grotesque form gather in art galleries when they get older. But you can see some of the younger versions in the universities. The guys are never quite men. That's what makes their writing spooky. They have a way of skimming over the surface of things. Because they are never quite substantial.

But I'm not so sure that money or the lack thereof is what makes this kind of character.

I was schooled to be secular progressive like everyone else. After a decade on the upper west side I began to lose my suburban contempt for God. I attended some of the presbyterian churches on the west side. There were a dozen or so of them. Most were virtually empty. Their congregations left for the suburbs during the 1960's. The strangest thing was to see missionaries come back after two decades in the field to report to congregations that sent them. Congregations that were long since gone.

What kind of transaction was that in which on person in the congregation goes to some strange part of the world to preach Jesus and another goes to the suburbs.

I'm a believer in worship. The act of men loving their God in the presence of their women strengthens and heals the bones of the females imho.

Missions has its place in conformance to the Great Commission to send missionaries to all the people groups of the world. But in collapsing communities missions imho takes a stranger role. The missionaries become the very christ going out of the dying church.

The way it is with guys is that you can't love God unless you have first feared Him.

12/23/2007 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

It's been said that it's only the contemplatives that should act in the world as their activity is the only activity that might bear some good fruit. All other activity arising from some ego-center or other that always considers its own center special, not faulty like all the others.

12/23/2007 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Mətušéla,

"Now, how much do we need to wager that this Michel Sabbah, this cowardly, this despicable, this down right evil human being and highest-ranking Catholic Church official in Israel, will remain at his position well after the 2008 Christmas Holiday?"

No wager is necessary - I fully expect the little toad will hold his position until retirement... but not because of any particular expectation that I have of the Catholic Church... it seems these days that high ranking officials all over (EU, UN, Dept of State, etc) are given to being so far over on the wrong side of the issues that it takes a telescope to catch sight of them...

12/23/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

"Fragile Hicks faces torture of freedom", writes the Sydney Morning Herald.

David Hick's mental condition is so fragile that - only five days before his scheduled release from jail - he suffers from agoraphobia and retreats to the kind of solitary confinement he endured for five years in Guantanamo Bay.

The former Muslim extremist has suffered panic attacks and has ventured into the sunshine, in the prison yard, only once since his return to Australia in May this year to serve the balance of his nine-month sentence at Yatala Labour Prison in Adelaide. He could not cope and preferred the enclosed prison and artificial lighting, where he felt more safe.


Say rather that Hicks is in a world of his own. What you find in silence or in the bustle of a street is what you look for. The psychologists who profess sympathy for Hicks completely overlook the damage inflicted by his al-Qaeda indoctrination.

What happens to a man when he is taught how to hate? When he is encouraged to spend his waking hours imaginging ways to kill and torture people? An activity subsequently sanctified as "prayer" and justified by his lawyers? Does nothing happen?

Many things may whisper to you in the solitude of Afghanistan or in the confines Guantanamo Bay or Australian prison. Sometimes I wonder whether the Left can tell between them.

12/23/2007 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Mətušéla,

"Just to be clear, I'm an equal opportunity "religious bigot". I strongly dislike (put mildly) organized religion and the people that associate themselves with organized religion. Belief in the mystical is a private individual psychosis, and that's where it should stay."

Being as I'm a psychotic of the evangelical protestant flavor, I take seriously the admonition Jesus puts forth at the end of Matthew's Gospel, namely that we should be busy about the business of making disciples... however, I respect the fact that this is Wretchard's space and therefore confine such activity to other realms... after all, the understanding I have of the Jesus to whom I am committed is that the Gift He offered is just that: a gift. No coercion implied or required. I have no business attempting to force decisions that He didn't use His considerable power to do, so I suspect you and I should get along just fine.

Besides, anyone who lists "Blade Runner" as a move favorite and enjoys Rachmaninoff is likely to be someone who I'd find rather enjoyable.

Merry Christmas! :-)

12/23/2007 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Merry Christmas. He brings Hope.

12/23/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"I have no business attempting to force decisions that He didn't use His considerable power to do,"
..

Triton'sPolarTiger,

I very much appreciate and applaud you for this attitude. Merry Christmas to you, and to all my "psychotic" brothers and sisters at the Belmont Club.

12/23/2007 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

The reason its important to strengthen & heal the bones of the women imho is because men can't have much more courage than their women. So if men want to have more courage they have to encourage their women.

12/23/2007 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

For some humor let’s look at Liberal Larry’s Timeless Wisdom:

[Liberal Larry’s place is a spoof]

The meek shall inherit the earth. Turn the other cheek. Do unto others. Love will keep us together. These are more than just Captain & Tennille hits. They are words torn from the pages of the Bible… Evangelical fascist gunned down an emotionally distraught man in a Colorado Springs Megachurch last weekend.

[Liberal Larry tends to embellish the truth]

"I was praying to God that He direct me," the proselytizing assassin Jeanne Assam confessed to reporters today. "God made me strong." How much easier it is to murder someone in cold blood when you have God on your side. It's the same mentality that encouraged armed Christians to slaughter 4,000 inner city blacks in a little place called Jonestown… It's the same religious lunacy that sparked the Holy Crusades, fueled the Spanish Inquisition, justified the slaughter of over 8 million indigenous Americans, and kept Touched by an Angel on the air for nine whole seasons.

Was the man that Assam murdered mentally disturbed? Perhaps. Did he hate Christians? Who Doesn't? But did he deserve to be executed by a militant Jesus freak? Absolutely not.

See: Guns Don't Kill People...Christians Do

12/23/2007 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

This morning, gerard, I played my violin with a small orchestra & choir for a Christmas Cantata. The services began with an oboe solo --- "Gabriel's Oboe."

I was told after the service, that this had been part of the music played in the movie "The Mission" by the priest for the indians coming to investigate when he stopped in a clearing.

Hauntingly beautiful music.

12/23/2007 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

When one takes a vow of silence, is one also constrained from writing notes to others?

When one is silent --- when one's mouth temporarily halts in its blather voluntarily or otherwise --- there is for some of us an undiminished torrent of thoughts coursing through our fevered brains.

Many days it seriously distracts me from the task of gnawing through the leather straps.

Transcendental Meditation --- or TM™ --- very popular in the late 1960's and early 70's, seems to have involved "emptying the mind."

Well, Some of us tried to accomplish the same thing using provocative botanicals in the way of a sort of cognitive emesis.

For decades I tried to relax by suppressing the internal clamor; the contending half-articulated burblings of ego & id, lust and self-denial, scheming and counter-scheming; the teetering shoals of my many selves. (Good thing my landlord was never aware of just how many people were actually occupying the apartment.)

It's probably a signal of my imminent decline into senile dementia that I now have to panel-beat my cranium for half an hour to stimulate even an internal MONOLOG, much less a dialog. I guess my internal demons have given up and moved on to tempt others with more immediate access to funds or victims.

12/24/2007 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Fen said...

Belief in the mystical is a private individual psychosis, and that's where it should stay.

I have the same beef as you with organized religion, esp the Catholic Church. My relationship with whatever Gods I worship is private. But where do you invest your spiritual energy? Its there, perhaps retarded, but still a part of you. What good is being an athiest if all you do is reinvest that spiritual energy in Humanism, Liberalism, Global Warming, etc?

12/24/2007 12:30:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Speaking of Carthusian monks:

There was once a Carthusian Monk
Who one night asleep in his bunk
Dreamed of Cindy Crawford
And awoke covered in sweat

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year para sa inyong lahat!

12/24/2007 04:41:00 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

Just an historical note, for what it is worth. My understanding is that Thomas Merton wanted to try to Carthusian life and was judged, by the Carthusian fathers, unsuitable for it. Merry Christmas, to non-believers and believers alike.

12/24/2007 06:03:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"What good is being an athiest if all you do is reinvest that spiritual energy in Humanism, Liberalism, Global Warming, etc?"

..
Fen, all you do there is exchange one organized religion for another. We don't have the right answers, because we don't ask the right questions. And then, knowing the answer and knowing how to act on that answer is yet another question.


"I went to see Doctor Zhivago again today." Yogi replies, "What the hell's wrong with you now?

12/24/2007 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

I saw "No Country for Old Men" on Saturday night. For people interested in the US southern border -- this is a helpful movie to go see. But first go rent Orson Wells "Touch of Evil." That movie was done about 1950. The overlap of the two movies will give you a picture of the Border & the USA in time.

Interestingly both films share a love for repeated motifs McGuffys & icons. Wells is famous for that. His classic Citizen Kane is standard fare for film noir folks.

I have not seen that in modern movies so much. I don't know the other work of the director for "No Country for Old Men"

12/24/2007 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

btw it seems as if No Country For Old Men's director Director Ethan Coen places the psychotic killer played by Javier Bardem into the role of the UN official played by Charleton Heston in Orson Well's Touch of Evil. Just as Orson Well's sheriff seems to be played by Tommy Lee Jones in No Country For Old Men. (Orson Wells both directs and stars as sheriff in "Touch of Evil"

12/24/2007 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Francine said...

Egypt smuggling weapons into Gaza is okay, but Egypt's foreign minister and a visiting Palestinian official on Monday said Israel's construction plans for a contested east Jerusalem neighborhood and West Bank endangers the Mideast peace process.

12/24/2007 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Francine said...

Those kind-hearted Iranians must be touched by the spirit of the holiday season.

The US ambassador to Iraq praised Iran on Sunday for helping to curb Shi’ite militia violence in Iraq on Sunday, using some of the warmest language Washington has employed toward its arch foe over Iraq.

12/24/2007 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Prof. W. offers Many things may whisper to you in the solitude of Afghanistan or in the confines Guantanamo Bay or Australian prison. Sometimes I wonder whether the Left can tell between them.

As the Spirit of Christmas Present makes clear:

"There are some upon this earth of yours," returned the Spirit, "who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us."

12/24/2007 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

“The LORD bless you and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

12/24/2007 08:48:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.


A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, Chapter 5 - The End of it

12/24/2007 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Young and proudly pro-Putin

A wave of Russian student groups ardently supportive of Kremlin policies has sprung up and taken to the streets.
As one of the leaders of a new wave of youth groups that are loudly rallying around President Vladimir V. Putin, he's already met with the Russian leader two times, he said.

"So what?" he added defensively. "Let me ask you a philosophical question: What's bad about supporting the authorities?"
---
---
"My boyfriend was a member, and I joined him for one of the actions and I thought it was cool," said a teenage girl with a pierced lip, tarry mascara and blond hair that kept sliding into her eyes. Another protest, at the Georgian Embassy, had just broken up.

"What are you talking about? You should say you're worried about the fate of the country," hissed the young man at her side, who'd slipped the headphones off his ears to join the conversation.

12/25/2007 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger Francine said...

Doug: "So what?" he added defensively. "Let me ask you a philosophical question: What's bad about supporting the authorities?"

1 Peter 2:13-14 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

12/25/2007 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

'"What are you talking about? You should say you're worried about the fate of the country," hissed the young man at her side....'

The more things change.... I wonder if he reported her to the new-Stasi equivalent.

As to Mr. Hicks...my the lance corporals rounds find him more surely the next time.

Merry Christmas to all!

12/25/2007 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

Sheep herders and goatherds, contemplate the silence. At higher elevations distant objects appear closer than when viewed through the hazy heavy air of the coast. The winds of the prairie can act as a lullaby or as a source of lunacy. Different people react differently to silence, and always the self talk takes place between voices in the past and longings in the present. Much of the earth's religion's, it seems to me, are about keeping sane in the face of silence, retaining perspective at varying levels of clarity, or at best preparing a mental state which allows one to thrive alone in the face of silence.

Mr. Hicks reaction to such conditions says volumes either about the lack of mental preparation he had or the volume of nagging voices from his sordid past and probably both.

Isolation is a test of will and human spirit. The US POW experience of Viet Nam is a rich source of stories about men who thrived, as well as some who could not, and why. It requires more than courage.

12/25/2007 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Francine said...

Some bad demographic news to temper the holiday cheer:

As of December 2007, only 152,000 Christians live in the Holy Land and they comprise 2.1 percent of the total population. The number of births per woman stands at 2.3 for Christians, while among Muslims, 4.5. In Bethlehem Christians have shrunk from 85 percent of the population in 1948 to around 15 percent today.

The average number of births for Jewish women is 2.7. If trends continue, then long before the Holy Land is taken over by the Muslims there will be almost no Christians there. Tourists to the holy sites will be greeted by proprietors who attend mosque.

12/25/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Here on the uncontemplative Christian front; yesterday we gave food boxes with Somali language tracts to Somali refugees living in low rent apartments in Tucson's crystal meth belt. It felt good for what it was worth.
Old Matt said "you only need courage to live, contemplation is for the sickly old and the dead" The dead contemplate nothing, unless, wait, Eternity is real which means there is a Voice worth contemplating. To live you actually only need oxygen, food and water, but you can have all that and be a soul dead beast like so many dark children in our world.
Thank you Jesus for coming here to give us life and that more abundant.

12/25/2007 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Thomas Merton never mentions attempting to become a Carthusian before he entered the Trappists in Kentucky.

He does talk about his days at Columbia and he would have agreed with Charles about the reality of his life then.

He may have been living on a trust fund but he was an orphan by the age of 16. His mother had cancer for some months before he died and she did not permit him to visit her to say goodbye.

He was a desperately lonely young man who moved to NY and his grandparents because (so rumore has it) he got a young woman of the town while he was an undergraduate. So his uncle and guardian exiled him.

Merton took vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and stability (to say with the same order). His worldly goods were given to the order and to family -- there wasn't much of the latter.

Yes, he was a man without a country. That's why he chose Gesthemane as his family. His poems, especially the ones about his brother killed in WWII are moving.

He wasn't a saint by any means, but he strove to find a path with meaning...

...I knew slightly his spiritual director when he (the latter) moved to the monastery in Berryville VA.

Some of Merton's work will
outlast us; most of it won't.

He was moving toward Buddhism when he died. And, sad to say, he was responsible for much of the moral energy of the anti-war movement.

12/25/2007 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

I forgot to say that Merton's most meaningful words for me I discovered when I was about nine, living in an orphanage.

Our dormitory was a very large room with about 30 beds. The widows were tall and rattled in the least wind. When I was six, I was absolutely sure it was the monsters who were rattling those long casings, trying to get in.

Then about age 8 or 9, I read these lines from a poem of his:

"Do you have a guardian angel?
Yes, I have one of everything,
Even though the nights are never dangerous...."

From then on the night-time wind never bothered me again.

Thanks, Merton, wherever you are.

12/25/2007 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wretchard,
I posted some medical advice for you and the flu back on your Down thread, as well as a few other links.
Mele Kalikimaka, Peace on Earth, and Good Will Toward Cats.

12/25/2007 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/25/2007 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(12-25) 03:59 PST LOS ANGELES, (AP) --
Some gifts from Kris Kringle are better kept wrapped.

A man in a Santa hat was arrested Sunday night for investigation of drunken driving after he was spotted outside Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood wearing a wig, a red lace camisole and a purple G-string, police said.

"We are pretty sure this is not the Santa Claus," Deputy Chief Ken Garner said.

The suspect was booked into jail after his blood-alcohol level measured just above the state's legal limit of .08, police said. He was later released on $5,000 bail.

The man, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 280 pounds, also wore black leg warmers and black shoes. His car was towed to an impound yard, police said.

12/25/2007 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bible standards attacked in 'bastardized courts'
Homosexual advocates claim hurt feelings, demand penalties

Biblical standards are under attack by the "bastardized courts" of Canada, where activists who claim they have "hurt feelings" are demanding – and getting – penalties imposed against those who oppose the homosexual lifestyle, according to a family organization.

The description of the courts, also known as the provincial and national Human Rights Commissions, comes from the Canada Family Action Coalition, which has addressed the problem in an alert to its constituents, and warns the United States is not that far from having similar assaults on traditional family values.

12/25/2007 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Marc said...

Dymphna, My understanding is that the overture to the Carthusians came after T. M. had been a Trappist for years. I was a Carthusian (leaving prior to final profession); it is possible of course that my memory is faulty, or that the story is apocryphal. I ought to have included that stipulation in my original comment.

12/26/2007 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Dear Doug,

thanks for the link about the protest of the Bible.

I would not agree to a single penny of payment for anyone's hurt feelings resulting from a single syllable of the Bible before victims are fully compensated for the Shariah-imposed executions, torture, and imprisonment of adulterers, fornicators, insufficiently modest unaccompanied women, rape victims, or women simply trying to escape the brutal mysogyny of fundamental Islamist cultures.

12/26/2007 03:29:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Oh, yeah, and forgive me for ommitting it in the previous post...
let's not forget and ask for apologies and payment for the hurt feelings for all the executed, tortured, imprisoned, harrassed, intimidated, brutalized, and ostracized homosexuals living under Shariat.

12/26/2007 04:17:00 PM  

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