On the matter of the end-times, I can think of no better image of the apocalypse than needing to wear earplugs in a library at a Trappist monastery, where silence throughout is the presumptive ground zero.
It's not like the monks were running around singing show tunes. More to the point, some of the other retreatants weren't wrapped up in the silence concept, even though that's the exact point, and one about which the abbey makes no secret. You almost literally can't turn around in some places, and certainly in the rooms, without a reminder to keep your piehole shut, suggested very nicely and thoughtfully, of course.
But, what are you gonna do? I'll be back another time, and it'll probably be more like the first time, where the silence was pretty well observed.
I also availed myself of some more Catholic devotional moments this time -- specifically, recitation of the Rosary and the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
Now that's some wild stuff. I need Aunty to fill me in on the latter. The former seems to be bundled up in meditation and numerology. I can deal with that. I don't know what's going on in the latter. I spoke afterward with one of the devout, a Eucharistic minister, who tried to explain what I'd just sat through for an hour. It didn't help.
I mean, I'm in a room with people who sincerely believe that they are in the presence of Jesus (I found that out afterward, although I kinda knew it), and most of them sat like they were waiting for the bus. Maybe hanging out with the Messiah and Son of God just gets routine after a while. Perhaps all the activity is going on internally. Fine. What's the point of the device then? A monk comes and gets this thing out of a little medicine cabinet behind the altar, blesses it or kisses it, places it on the pulpit, and leaves for an hour. Comes back in, gets it, holds it up, puts it back in the cabinet, turns the key. I guess it's to help people focus? The Catholic Church is into totems?
I was hoping for a splinter of the cross or part of Jesus's foreskin or something. I can't imagine what the same rite looks like at the Catholic church around the corner from me.
Anyway, settling back in the saddle. Because of some family medical issues that consumed the run-up to Gethsemani, I was not able to go there without work, although the work done was at least appropriate to the site.
One day, hopefully in 2014, I'm going to schedule a seven-day stint there, and maybe the no-work thing can be realized at that time. To spend seven days there with nothing I have to read . . . and not needing earplugs . . . would be, like the Blessed Sacrament, ineffable.
|To the water pump, approx. two miles|