This Side of Eden
I’m very glad that one of the things I gave up for Lent is NOT movies because last night, something very special happened at the abbey. It being the vigil of the Feast of St. Benedict, we had a very special gift come to us from Salt and Light TV, the Catholic TV network of Canada. Its founder and director, Fr. Rosica came over to visit us because two years ago, a team of about 10 (I think… I wasn’t here at the time) people came over for close to two weeks to film the lives of the monks as they prepare for Holy Week and the Easter Triduum celebrations. Last night, monks, majors and minors all gathered together in the gym for a very special premiere screening of this documentary. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself… that wasn’t all that happened yesterday.
Because yesterday was also a Sunday, everything revolved around it being a Sunday. We did not have the Vespers of Saturday evening celebrating St. Joseph’s Feast Day and likewise, we did not have the Vespers of yesterday celebrated in anticipation of St. Benedict’s feast. Both were Sunday order, which here takes precedence over any and all other feasts and solemnities. Normally, for big celebrations like those two, we would have what’s called First Vespers the evening before in anticipation for the feast or solemnity and Second Vespers the evening of the day of, to celebrate its close.
But really, why am I telling you all this when I wasn’t even around at the abbey at the time of Vespers yesterday? A group of 8 of us were sent down to the Cathedral to help serve mass with Archbishop Miller for the catechumens and candidates who will be fully entering the Church this coming Easter Vigil. It was a glorious mass with really beautiful readings on the Transfiguration and his grace, Archbishop Miller, had some wonderful words for the many catechumens present. It ended up being a long mass too because all the new elect were invited to come and shake the Archbishop’s hand before signing their name on the book of the elect. The whole mass went by mostly without any problems… Last week (when another group of seminarians went for a similar mass for those catechumens who couldn’t make it this week), they apparently put a little too much incense into the thurible causing the fire alarm to go off during mass. Everyone at first thought that these ringing bells were a part of the mass because it was timed so perfectly during the sanctus but soon realized that it was the fire alarm when it just kept going and going… Hehehhehehe No fires for my little group yesterday!
After mass, we went off for a quick dinner to try and get back to the abbey in time for the movie. I had night and day for my meal, eating a sub from Subway (because we wanted to stay healthy) and a milkshake from McDonalds (because I love milkshakes!!). Hehehehehhe By the time we got back, we had just missed the sung vigils and were right on time for the movie.
The movie itself was absolutely stellar!! It was shot completely, I think, on HD during Lent two years ago, meaning that I still recognized a few of the seminarians who were there, albeit, they were much younger then. Some of the minors there have moved up to the majors, while some of the majors, including the deacon has gone on to become a priest today. But most of the “actors” of this particularly movie were the monks. It focused particularly on the young monks, showing how really, young people today still choose to give their lives completely and totally to Christ. It’s not as unusual as one thinks. It brought me to so many places I have not at all seen, even after close to 8 months of living on these grounds, such as the monk’s dining room and the inside of the bell tower (although I might get to see this after I asked Fr. Alban, who’s in charge of the bell tower, a bit… I won’t be able to climb it though). These guys were given complete access to the monastery and a lot of the footage they caught was stupendous… One can visit the monastery everyday, or even live here for as many as 8-11 years, as some seminarians end up doing, without seeing some of the things we saw in the movie. Unless you become a Benedictine, you’ll always be looking from the outside in and will only get a really small taste of the hidden life they all share. But from the taste you get out of this documentary, you will see that it is, in fact, very good. I hope you take advantage and try and see it this coming Palm Sunday. It will be aired this coming Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm ET/9:30 pm PT on Salt and Light but from what I heard, it will also premiere on EWTN and the Catholic station in Boston this Holy Week. I don’t know the times there though… Again, for those who have not yet seen, here’s the link for the trailer!!!
Happy feast of St. Benedict everyone!!! God bless!!!