Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Monastic Life & The Monks of Vina

Book in Process: Monastic Interlude
Away from it all for a Moment in Time
 From my book: Excerpt from Visit 3 

 The Monks of Vina
The Monks of Vina, a movie documentary, takes us inside--really inside the walls, past the formal structures of the monastery. It delves into the thinking of some of the monks--several times over. Their personalities emerge, the joyful, the quiet, the contemplative, the artist, the potter, the unsure novice--monk in training, and so forth. It is enjoyable to watch the story of young men and older men who wrestle with the Calling to monastic life, to become a monastic. It is to give up everything material in order to gain everything in God. For three years those on the journey serve as novices until the time of their vows. It is a time of searching and learning. It is a cultural shock for them as they leave the outside world for the simple life. One of much prayer and quietness. 

An older monk, shared the difficulty he had coming to a place of peace right before he took his vows. Once it came, he was settled and at peace. That sense of peace lasted around ten years before another period of unsettled feelings surfaced and were addressed. He had played semi-pro baseball in his younger years. There was a picture of him pitching a ball at eighty-one years of age. It looked like he still could smack it right-nicely into the catcher’s glove. Amazing.There is very little talking in a trappist monastery. They work and eat mostly in silence. Upon entering the monastic society, the monks give up their worldly possessions. There is a place where a few of their former possessions are stored away. It reminds me of what we do with our garage items. It was emphasized that one cannot join a monastic community to run away from yourself or your problems. Self will need to be addressed.

 For me, the culmination of the evening was a spiritual thought. It came when the abbot answered a question during the Q & A session which followed the showing of the movie. The question was asked, "Why do you bless the grapes? What do you expect it to do?" 

The answer was beautiful. It went something like this, “As monks in a monastery, you would expect us to believe in the spiritual. We believe our lives are influenced by God and we want to be all God would want us to be. Not only as people are we blessed by God, but the things in the world are a part of the blessing of God. God's blessings do not stay only with the people. We bless the grapes that they might bring blessings to the people who enjoy them, as they drink the fruit of the vine. And, if they drink enough of it, they’ll be happy, too!” Everyone laughed at his ending statement. I had to agree. He was right. All we have comes from God and is a part of the grand scheme of things. 
A blessing is a prayer of grace toward others.

# spiritual #Trappist #God #wine
#The Monks of Vina #monastery #movie #contemplative 

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