Search A Catholic Life:

Monday, November 13, 2006
The Monastery: Episode 4

Last night I watched Episode 4 of The Monastery, the TLC program that airs each Sunday night at 9 PM Central Time. Now, I was truly hoping things would improve with the departure of the rebellious participant named Alex. And I will admit that Episode 4 revealed several very positive things about living in a monastery. First and foremost was the experience of a desert day. It truly sounded like a wonderful way in which to quite the soul to God. Remember, silence is indeed the language of God. The hermit also revealed something truly important although it is a paradox. Namely, he said that his goal is to die. Now people in our world don't want to hear such comments; most would classify it as suicidal. But the hermit has a true point - we all die. Dying is inevitable. And where we shall be for the rest of eternity depends upon our actions prior to death. A lot of people get caught up on what is the meaning of life, but the meaning is life is rather simple: To know and love God in this life and to be with Him for all eternity. The hermit said probably the first truly Catholic idea in this Episode. I also liked the self-poverty of the monks; it is an example we all can follow to live humbly.

Apart from those two points, there was a lot of things I disagreed with in the episode. I stayed with Benedictine monks in Missouri for a little while this past summer and love it. However, many Benedictine monasteries have been falling into New Age/neo-pagan practices over the past generation and focusing on "energy" and straying from the original Truth of the Benedictines. It seems like the Monastery of Christ in the Desert could be one of them. All the Abbot will talk about is psychology and a lot of babble about energy. Why won't he talk with these men about God! And Br. Gabriel even said that God needs us. Preposterous! We are nothing compared to God! God doesn't need anyone of us but rather allows us to serve Him because of his mercy. Br. Gabriel is wrong is saying God needs us. These are severe theological errors. The participants need God; they don't need poor Theology.

The one contestant named Tom was asked by Br. Gabriel to have his marriage blessed, and Tom went on a tirade. How immature. It's clear that his marriage does indeed have something theologically missing and he needs to fix that. It's great that he went to Confession for the first time in 28 years during Episode 3, but he needs to start living completely in accord with the Church's teachings now.

This episode had some positive points but also a lot of downsides. I think I'll be just glad when the series is over. I liked the A&E series "God or the Girl" a lot better.


del_button November 14, 2006 at 5:39 PM
Anonymous said...

Please learn compassion before you are ordained. And please learn not to be so judgemental. Theresa of Avila talks about castles. Was she too medieval??? St. Francis could not keep his little group in line with his program. Many priests thought Mother Theresa was arrogant. John Paul was a politician. You are entilted to your opinion; but, nothing is positive. The fact that these men pray hours and hours a day (Liturgy of the Hours not chanting) proves that they are true Benedictines. St. Benedict is mentioned frequently. I didn't pick up on the "New Age" Influence. Obviously, you were looking for it.

del_button November 14, 2006 at 6:11 PM
Moneybags said...

I absolutely loved "Interior Castle" by St. Teresa of Avila. Mother Teresa and John Paul ll were models in my opinion. I have nothing against them.

You didn't see the influence on energy with all the psychology talk? You didn't think that perhaps these men needed to hear about God and not psychology.

I wrote this post and reading and greatly agreeing with a post by Fr. Philip, OP here:

I don't think I'm being too judgmental at all.

del_button November 15, 2006 at 1:15 PM
cjmr said...

You are being a bit judgmental about Tom. Being told that your civil marriage of multiple years is not considered valid is a hard thing. Last year when I was going through RCIA it was probably the hardest thing I was told. And I was told it in a very kind way by a deacon and a priest that I knew and trusted. It is made even harder if you want to do the right thing and get married in the Church and your spouse doesn't. Since we don't know what Tom's wife's position is on the matter or even if she is Catholic, judging his reaction as immature is just not fair.

cheri (married 15yrs11mo2wks civilly, 6mo 3wks sacramentally)

del_button November 18, 2006 at 7:39 PM
Anonymous said...

You really shouldn't plagiarize from others' comments.

del_button November 18, 2006 at 8:50 PM
Moneybags said...

I wasn't plagiarizing! I just had the same opinion.

del_button January 1, 2008 at 8:34 AM
Anonymous said...

"God has called each of us into being and gives us a personal task. God needs each of us and awaits our response." -- Benedict XVI, Vienna Konzerthaus, September 9, 2007.

Post a Comment


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Subscribe to Future Posts on A Catholic Life

Enter email address: