Be Not Afraid
“Into Great Silence” is a virtually silent documentary portraying the daily lives of the Carthusian monks of Le Grande Chartreuse, a group considered by some to be the Catholic Church’s most rigorous religious order. The film, devoid of any soundtrack or script, depicts the austere life lived in the cloisters and halls of the monastery which is reflective of Carthusian spirituality, of which extreme asceticism is a significant character.
When asked about what it was like to live with the monks during the 7 month shoot, the film’s director, Philip Gröning, told reporters, “When I left the monastery, I was thinking about what exactly had I lived through and it was realizing that I had the privilege of living with a community of people who live practically without any fears.”
He continued “We tend to say that our society is driven by consumerism or greed but it’s not true. Greed, consumerism, wanting to have a new Porsche, for example, is a disguise of pure fear. It’s a near panicking society and (going back to that) was difficult to accept.”
Is that the life that we lead. Are we filled with fear and don’t even know it?
How often do our lives feel like and resemble that of the man Jesus meets in the gospel today who night and day was howling and bruising himself with stones and, if so, what is the remedy?
O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; Many are saying to me. “There is no help for you in God.”
But you, O Lord, are a shield around me, My glory, and the one who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the lord and he answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down to sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. I am not afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
What would it be like to live without fear? What would it be like to never worry? For the monks of Le Grande Chartreuse this seems to be a possibility but can it be for the rest of us who run around in a culture that is always in a state of alert?
Psalm 3 is a portal for us. It is a window to a place where we no longer need to be afraid and where nothing that we value can ever be lost. Take the opportunity today to pray with this psalm and know that God is your shield and that no harm can come to you.