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Quotes from the film 'Hidden: A Life All for God'

Whilst watching the Cistercian film, Hidden: A Life All for God several quotes stood out for me, and I thus share them here for the significance they offer:On being a Religious:'I have long desired to know God more deeply and more fully... to know the love of Christ which is beyond understanding...' On silence:'Instead of interrupting and filling in the spaces, to be comfortable with what seems like God's silence. Then wait for him to say to us what he really wants to say. Because the silence is a big part of the conversation. It is learning to listen until the true words come up.''The Greater Silence penetrates your heart...'On the importance of just being present:'Am I really in this moment? One of the really beautiful things about working in silence is remembering that God is here, and I am here to be with God.''Work and prayer are not separated. Because I am working doesn't mean I'm not still attentive to God.'On solitude:'It…

Notes from a Reading of Thomas Merton

Last night, I was reading what Thomas Merton said about (and wrote to) the author of Dr Zhivago (Boris Pasternak). Dr Zhivago is one of my all-time favourite books - the love story of a beautiful woman and a physician-poet, set amidst turmoil.It is Merton’s view that ‘all our work remains yet to be done, the work of transformation which is the work of love, and love alone.’ He also says that ‘All great writing is in some sense revolutionary. Life itself is revolutionary, because it constantly strives to surpass itself.’Merton was not only a great writer, he was a great reader. In his words ‘I always have at least three books going at the same time.’ That sounds familiar! He said ‘The real joy of reading is not in the reading itself, but in the thinking which it stimulates and which may go beyond what is said in the book.’ Merton says that reading and thinking, for a monk, is inseparable from meditation...

He wrote that the books he read (mainly theological and philosophical, although i…

A Cistercian's View of Being a Cistercian

Those orders - the Dominicans, the Franciscans - the active orders that go out into the world - they are accompanying Christ, as in performing his miracles, his preaching, as in going from town to town. And what contemplatives do is they accompany him when he goes up the mountain to pray.(Cistercian Monk, Mount St Bernard Abbey)

Hidden: A Life All For God (A Film)

A film from the Cistercian Sisters of Mount Saint Mary's Abbey, Wrentham.Hidden

So, what does it mean to be a contemplative?

I have previously described myself as an 'Anglican-Benedictine-Contemplative', or to put it more succinctly, an 'Anglican-Cistercian'. I have already described how I understand the 'Anglican' and 'Benedictine'  aspect of that description. So, what about the 'Contemplative' aspect?One viewpoint is given in a short, interesting film-clip of life as a Cistercian monk. In the film, a member of the community describes being a Contemplative as follows:'Those orders - the Dominicans, the Franciscans - the active Orders that go out into the world - they are accompanying Christ as he performs his miracles, his preaching, as he is going from town to town; and what contemplatives do is they accompany him when he goes up the mountain to pray...'See:The Cistercians

A Lockdown Reflection

On the 3rd May, we celebrated the life of Henry Vaughan, born in 1622. Vaughan was a physician-poet; a member of that group of spiritual writers known as the metaphysical poets, whose group includes the likes of John Donne and George Herbert. Vaughan knew at personal cost what it is to suffer. He lived during a time of Civil War; a war in which he endured the execution of his king (Charles I), the suppression of his church by Oliver Cromwell, and the death of his young wife. His poetry reflects on the events of his life and, to quote from an article about him, ‘shows an intense awareness of the divine meanings in ordinary things’. During the weeks we have spent in ‘lock-down’, socially distanced and perhaps even  isolated from those we know and love, many of us will have experienced suffering at close hand. Some of us may be experiencing anxiety about the present and fear for the future. Some of us will have experienced the loss of family members or friends, and will have been prevent…