blessed are the cracked - they will let the light in
this was a quote or at least roughly what it was from francis, the monk who was tony's spiritual mentor on the wonderful monastery series. if you didn't catch it, 5 men spent 40 days in the routines of a benedictine monastery. it was reality tv with soul (more than can be said for big brother which has become truely awful and soulless in my view). last night the monastery revisited had interviews with all the men to see what difference it had made to their lives. it was again astonishing. most had redirected their lives in quite dramatic ways. the space to focus on spirituality and to be silent had changed them. ancient spirituality as relevant as ever it seems. the benedctine monks had also been changed by the encounter which was lovely to see.
abbot christopher has written a book finding sanctuary:monastic steps for everyday life which we had for sale on the dekhomai stand. you can obviously order it from amazon or e-mail proost to get one. the ongoing vulnerability of the men was quite scary in its own way but maybe that's life for all of us. tony had tried to find a church community but his observations were quite damning - he used the words unreal, fake, plastic. i am happy to say that i have found a christian community that enables me to be real so they do exist, but that was a bit depressing. a wonderful series. a new series the convent starts next week on wednesdays at 9pm...
hi dude sounds good what chanell?
Posted by: seb apostol | June 08, 2006 at 10:17 AM
bbc 2 - how are you?
Posted by: jonny | June 08, 2006 at 12:08 PM
What an inspiring series this has been. I have huge sympathy for what Tony has to say. Here is that quote in full...
"I’ve been to a few churches around town and they just annoy the **** out of me because they’re so fake, and the people look so lost, and the people on the stage just look so plastic and so charming and so seductive, and I just think ‘I don’t believe in these people’. These people are not an expression of faith. So, I’d much rather just slip into a church and sit there for 10 minutes and have a bit of quiet time, or pray at home. I don’t feel that you necessarily have to turn up at a certain place at a certain time dressed in a certain way to express your faith and live out your faith. I think there’s other ways of doing it."
Posted by: Mark Fletcher | June 08, 2006 at 02:06 PM
It was a really good follow-up to last year's series and I too was amazed at the lasting effects of their stay upon the men, particularly Tony, Gary & Nick.
The time in the series (repeated last night) when Tony meets with Francis, his spiritual advisor, and is touched by the Holy Spirit (Tony uses the term 'energy' rather than Holy Spirit, but I believe that's who it was) is the most compelling piece of TV I think I've ever seen; and the more recent meeting between the two that we saw was also very moving - Francis' encouragement to Tony that 'Blessed are the cracked, they will let the light in' was, in itself, worth watching the programme for.
I shall certainly watch 'The Convent', but I have to say I wasn't very enamoured with the tone of the trailer for it. Still, if it gets people watching, I'll put up with it!
Incidentally, Christopher Jamison's (Abbot of Worth Abbey) book, "Finding Sanctuary" is a very useful read and, at around 180 pages, not a hard slog - highly recommended.
Posted by: david hughes | June 08, 2006 at 03:12 PM
Is there any way to view this online for us on the other side of the Atlantic? Any one know?
Sounds really cool - we had a series recently called "God or the Girl" about young men considering the Catholic priesthood (on a channel called A&E).
Posted by: James Carmichael | June 08, 2006 at 09:30 PM
The book is brilliant. Well worth a read.
Posted by: Paul Fromont | June 08, 2006 at 11:28 PM
James - it isn't online, but you can find a trailer and lots more information about the original series at www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/monastery if you're interested.
Posted by: david hughes | June 09, 2006 at 09:09 AM
jonny... ever heard the leonard cohen song "anthem"?
Posted by: darren | June 09, 2006 at 03:07 PM
absolutely - i thought of it immediately. no doubt the monk is a secret fan!
Posted by: jonny | June 09, 2006 at 03:31 PM
It was an exellent follow up to a great series. I thought Tonyand his desire for real community very interesting, if sad. I suppose its the experience of many who have had an spiritual encounter that they can't quite match up to church.
I hope he finds somewhere.
Looking forward to the convent.
Posted by: Ben | June 09, 2006 at 05:41 PM
Excellent series, which I'm glad to say has provided more topics of conversation at work than Big Brother!! Our boss has bought all her team a copy of Finding Sanctuary. Implications will be interesting!
Posted by: Nigel | June 10, 2006 at 09:24 AM
"brother anthony has written a book..."
I thought it was the Abbot, Christopher Jamison? ;-)
Posted by: Mark | June 10, 2006 at 11:46 PM
oops - yes sorry - getting confused with another monk i met. i'll correct it!
Posted by: jonny | June 11, 2006 at 09:14 AM
thanks for the link david :)
Posted by: James Carmichael | June 13, 2006 at 10:32 PM
The line, "Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light" appears in Michael Arditti's novel "The Celibate" as a new beatitude thought up by an ordinand in a seminary.
Now, which is more likely - that Dom Francis has been reading Michael Arditti or that he has been listening to Leonard Cohen?
Posted by: Kelvin Holdsworth | June 14, 2006 at 11:19 AM
i might be mistaken, but i was pretty sure that "blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light" was originally a quote from groucho marx, wasn't it?
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