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.
Monday, November 13, 2006
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