March 6, 2012

Quaerere Deum (To Seek God) - Updated

A. Mantegna, St Benedict
Brera - Milan
As the saying goes, and as this post proves, “All good things come in threes,” in fact this is the third post I’m writing this year about the Benedictine monks—which is, needless to say, a good thing from my point of view, and I’m sorry for those who think otherwise, namely that Benedictine monasticism is an irrelevant or boring subject: they simply don’t know what they’re missing. But hey, I’m not going to preach a sermon, I just want to introduce … a trailer for a documentary on Benedictine monks. Filmed in the summer of 2011, the documentary—directed, produced and edited by Peter Hayden and Wilderland Film Studios—takes us into the life of the Benedictine monks of Norcia. By the way, the recent history of the Monastery of San Benedetto in Norcia is quite interesting:

On December 2, 2000, a tiny band of American monks with faith and courage and not much else re-founded monastic life in Norcia, Italy at the birthplace of St. Benedict. Powerful forces hostile to the faith had expelled the monks in 1810 and almost two centuries were to pass before Providence brought them back.

Inspired by the Holy Rule, these monastic pioneers are going back to the roots of the Benedictine tradition. Chanting the Divine Office in Latin by day and by night at the very place where their holy patron was born, they are able to return to the spirit of their founder, as Vatican II urged all religious to do, in a very tangible way.

As a result, something extraordinary is happening in Norcia. Young men from around the world, leaving home and country for the love of Christ, are drawn to the new monastery and commit themselves to stability, conversion of life and obedience at the birthplace of their founder. Their goal is focused and compelling: to prefer nothing whatever to the love of Christ!

Inspired by Philip Gröning’s Into Great Silence (2005), which was a full length documentary of the everyday lives of Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse, high in the French Alps, Peter Hayden sought to produce a medium length film of high quality which would expose those far away from the monks to the inner workings of their life. Thus the idea of Quaerere Deum was born. The title comes from the first task of all monks, To Seek God, as described by the Rule of St Benedict.

Enjoy the official trailer of Quaerere Deum:

P.S. My previous posts on the Benedictine monks:

UPDATE March 6, 2012, 10:30 am

There is something I missed in my original post, something that I could/should have discovered before, but that somehow was able to sneak past me—perhaps just because it is almost too good to be true! And in fact I could assert that it was somehow a felix culpa, because otherwise I wouldn’t have the chance—and the pleasure—to make amends right now… Well, here is what I’ve got to say: the full-length version of Quaerere Deum is posted on the homepage of the Monastery of San Benedetto in Norcia, so you can view the entire 40 min documentary, and not just the trailer—by the way, it’s awesome! Thank you so much to Bryan, the Benedictine monk of Norcia who has been kind enough to let me know this.