Welcoming in Zeal:
A CinemaDivina Prayer Offering

The theme for October here at the Abbey is hospitality based on the second principle of the Monk Manifesto:

2. I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.

(Please consider stopping by to sign the Monk Manifesto as a statement of your own commitment).

You can read more about hospitality here and here, and see the wondrous Photo Party and Poetry Party celebrating the gifts of hospitality.  My latest column at Patheos also explores Radical Hospitality and Holy Disruption.  There is even a series of podcasts with reflections and meditations from last year and the second one is on hospitality.

Last month I introduced the wonderful work of Marilyn Freeman, a filmmaker in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and fellow lover of the Benedictine way. One of her art forms is the practice of CinemaDivina. Rooted in the contemplative prayer and listening of lectio divina, CinemaDivina draws on film as sacred text, as a way to hear the sacred shimmering in this world. (You can read her description of it here).

Consider pausing for just three minutes right now.  Pour yourself some tea, close the door, and turn off anything that rings or beeps or buzzes.  Breathe deeply, put your hand on your heart, and give yourself over to three minutes of reflection and see if you can welcome in good zeal right here in this moment.

The Good Zeal of Monks

After being with the film, take three long and slow deep breaths, seeing if you can make some inner space for what is stirring in your heart.  See if there is a word, phrase, or image shimmering for you and welcome it in.


  1. Helen says

    Thank you. Just beautiful with words that have struck a real chord in me. How easy it seems for me to always be leaving the hurt I receive on the other and to keep complaining about the raw deal I am receiving. To remain angry and distanced and hard done by. I am beginning to realize that letting go of that mindset is a hard and long journey and one that seems unfair yet it is so fair as it releases me from the insidious affects that it has within me. It is what "the butterfly affect" is all about. A slow journey passing through many phases but eventually giving way to a beauty and freedom that is so much easier to live with. As I viewed and listened it was revealed to me how this is happening in relation to a an incident in my life at the moment. It has taken many many months but is slowly evolving into 'the butterfly affect'. A slow transformation that the Rule of Benedict alerts us to in his writings on conversion which I am just praying with in THE ARTIST'S RULE.

    • Marilyn Freeman says

      Helen, I'm sorry to have somehow missed your comment left so long ago. Still, just reading it now, even though so much time has passed, I want to acknowledge you. Your words mean a lot to me, that you connected with the piece as you described – that means a lot. Thanks so much for saying so. All best – Marilyn

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