Every human life has value.

One of the last Netflix movies I rented was “Into Great Silence” about the daily lives of Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse, high in the French Alps. It’s incredible to know that such a peaceful, quiet place exists in our busy, noisy world! At the end of the movie an old, blind monk shares what he knows about God and happiness and why he is thankful to be blind:
blind monk

The closer one brings oneself to God, the happier one is. The faster one hurries to meet him. One should have no fear of death. On the contrary! For us, it is a great joy to find a Father once again. … The past, the present, these are human. In God there is no past. Solely the present prevails. And when God sees us, he always sees our entire life. And because He is an infinitely good being, He eternally seeks our well-being. Therefore, there is no cause for worry in any of the things which happen to us. I often thank God that he let me be blinded. I am sure that he let this happen for the good of my soul… It is a pity that the world has lost all sense of God. It is a pity…They have no reason to live anymore. When you abolish the thought of God, why should you go on living on this earth? … One must (never) part from the principle that God is infinitely good, and that all of his actions are in our best interest. Because of this a Christian should always be happy, never unhappy. Because everything that happens is God’s will, and it only happens for the well-being of our soul. Well, this is the most important. God is infinitely good, almighty, and he helps us. This is all one must to, and then one is happy.

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January 9th, 2011 at 4:07 am
11 Responses to “A Lesson from an Old, Blind Monk”
  1. 1
    Nick Says:

    …That sounds like a mixture of saints’ quotes. Which is what an actor would do.

  2. 2
    Gary Says:

    Nick,that really is a silly comment. There is no acting involved in Into Great Silence. And the old monk certainly isn’t acting! One has only to watch the interview to know this is a very sincere and holy man.

  3. 3
    Chelsea Says:

    Thanks, Nick and Gary for your comments! I admit it sounds a bit disjointed, but that’s because I’m pretty sure they just ran a series of excerpts from an interview with him rather than one long train of thought.

  4. 4
    Fr. Walter Macken Says:

    The old blind monk is only expressing truth. Did you ever notice how some blind people seem to gather insights that we with sight miss? There is an inner vision. They have a perception of God that is greater than what most people have. Besides when Our Lord calls a monk to silence he surrounds him with his presence. Notice how that man said God is always present. Only the present exists. God is beside all of us now, at this moment. The Blessed Trinity dwells within us as long as we do not block God’s presence by our own noisy and selfish lives. Let us try and see as far as the blind monk sees.

  5. 5
    Augie Fiore Says:

    Also I am guessing this would probably be a translation to English from French. How they sound I think is secondary. They seem like simple truths each of us should try to attain. Maybe it is us that is disjointed? Just a thought.

  6. 6
    TimH Says:

    \\ It’s incredible to know that such a peaceful, quiet place exists in our busy, noisy world!\\

    Incredible to know, even better to go!

    There are many monastic communities which run retreats and they are an excellent way to remove one’s saelf from the dirt of the everyday world, to cleanse and to refresh. But you may not want to leave.

    A brief recounting of my recent experience at a vocations retreat at a Cistercian (Trappist) monastery is at http://timhollingworth.blogspot.com/2010/10/weekend-of-peace.html

    -Tim-

  7. 7
    Joanne Says:

    One needs to experience this movie to know that this was a statement that came not from a script but from a life lived in an extraordinary way. I appreciate seeing what this monk said in print because as I watched the film I was saying to myself how I wish I had these words to reflect on.

  8. 8
    Dolly Says:

    I, too, appreciate to see in print what the blind monk said! The Great Silence is an awesome documentary. It was quite an experience just watching it. For some reason, I felt I understood the difference between solitude and silence. I was so entranced by the lives of the monks, the life lived in prayer and work.

    Thank you, Fr. Macken, for elaborating a little bit more on what silence brings to the life of a contemplative. I wish everyone will view this documentary because somehow one cannot watch it without experiencing a certain amount ot blessedness.

  9. 9

    […] Reflections of a Paralytic […]

  10. 10

    […] – “Into Great Silence,” quoted here. […]

  11. 11
    galileo cassini Says:

    I have seen the blind monk segment many times; in my humble opinion the Holy Spirit spoke through this holy monk to us. I life lived for God alone and praying the Rosary could only form and fashion such simplity and Truth as expressed by this blind monk.