Posts Tagged ‘Benedictines’

Here and there

July 11, 2019
  • One doesn’t expect to find sound medieval metaphysics expounded in the poetry of Emily Dickinson, but the world is full of marvels.
  • We use a good deal of chalk at home, but our days of buying it at the Dollar Store are over. Hagoromo or bust!
  • Nearly a sesquicentury into construction, and La Sagrada Familia finally got a building permit.
  • My archbishop, Thomas Cardinal Collins, will be speaking this year at the annual Chesterton Conference in the US. The story of how it came about is quite amusing. As a bonus, Word on Fire has also published a good short interview in which the Cardinal explains just what he likes about GKC. (Incidentally, G.K. Weekly, our modest contribution to Chestertoniana, is running on fumes at present. We are seeking an archivist and typist to help generate a queue of scintillating or provocative excerpts from the great man’s oeuvre. Apply within. No pay or benefits.)
  • If you’ve ever had to cover your eyes to protect your soul from beholding an architectural monstrosity churned up by the modernist schools — and who among us has not? — James Stevens Curl’s Making Dystopia: The Strange Rise and Survival of Architectural Barbarism might be a heartening jeremiad. Theodore Dalrymple reviews.
  • Almost twenty year ago (!) I spent a week on retreat at the Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert. It is in New Mexico, a bit north of Sante Fe, at the base of a splendid red-rock cliff, at the end of a long and sometimes-impassable sand road. At that time there were, I would estimate, twenty or thirty monks. I am delighted to learn this week that the community now has 60 monks, with an average age of just 34. A very healthy young monastery! How I would like to go back someday…

For an envoi, let’s watch an ad for Hagoromo chalk:

A clash of cultures: monks on MSNBC

October 18, 2012

A few of the Benedictine monks from the Monastery of Christ in the Desert were on an MSNBC programme called The Today Show, and, appropriately enough, I believe they were on today.

I actually recognize a few of the monks from a retreat I took at their monastery several years ago. It is a wonderful place, hidden deep in the New Mexico desert, surrounded by awe-inspiring red cliffs. At night the darkness and the silence are profound. The doors of the guests’ cells open separately on the top and bottom, so that the top can be opened to permit a breeze while the bottom is closed to prevent snakes from making an unwelcome visit. The monks I met there remain close to my heart, though I’ve not spoken to any of them for years. I would love to go back someday.

They were on The Today Show to sing some chant: Alleluia, Iustus Germinabit, to be specific. I cannot figure out how to embed the clip of their singing, so you’ll have to go here.

They sing well, and I love them for it, but it is obvious that this music does not belong in this context. The contrast between the solemnity and dignity of the music and the amazing ditziness of the hosts is jarring. The music is meant to resound through a large space; here each of the voices is miked separately, and in consequence the engineers have had to apply some annoying processing to blend the voices. I hope these brothers have a good trip home, where they can once again sing this beautiful music in a place, and for a purpose, for which it is intended.