Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Great Silence

I have no idea what is it that makes me weep and weep and weep as I watch this film by Groening, who reportedly waited 16 years to make it... But I do - weep and weep and weep. Until I am fed up with weeping. Due to unidentified problems with my nasal passages that eventually led me to join the club of Nasonex users, weeping is not good for me. So I must stop.

The Great Silence is like looking at God face to face - no sound, no word, no image, because He is so much more that any sound or image I can possibly perceive. And that is a taste of eternity, a taste of what it is like - living eternal life. Not what it will be like, what it is, because our God IS. Of course, there is this incredible sadness at all the things that have gone wrong - today, yesterday, and all the days before. Speaking when I should have been silent, sleeping when I should have been awake - and being awake when I should have slept. Doing that stands in the way of being. I am always too busy doing.

Groening must have been so THERE by the time he left the Charterhouse. Those long shots of the elements - water, fire, ice, skies, rays of light - say it all. The icicles melt. Speckles of dust in a ray of light. When was the last time you watched them? I must have been 8.

It is terrifying to think that I had no time to watch speckles of dust in the sunlight. I had time to watch TV nonsense, to read obsceneties, to worry about the things that might happen, but I haven't had time to BE for 20 years.

Love. It is most felt in the silence. I don't know how to explain it. But each time I watch The Great Silence, a presentation of a Carthusian Charterhouse in the French Alps, I am struck by this experience of LOVE, wordless, soundless, speechless, and yet so present, almost touchable LOVE, born in the darkness of contemplation, in the cloud of unknowing...

I want to keep this love. But I can't. That's why they are who they are. It would have been an illusion and silliness to pretend you can be a contemplative in the world in the same way you can be in the Charterhouse.

As a Catholic, I know that when I go to the Communion, I also participate of their gift, because we are all one body - they pray for me when I have no voice. Praise the Lord for that! It is a mystery that is beyound explanation...


  1. Good review! I think you "got" it -- what the film, and the Carthusian life, is all about. I was astonished when I saw the film in it s brief theatrical release: I (and most of the audience) was enrapt in it, but a few people didn't "get", and instead, they got up and walked out!

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