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Hope: A CinemaDivina Prayer Offering

The theme for November here at the Abbey is community based on the third principle of the Monk Manifesto:

3. I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.

In September 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 the hope that comes from our sense of connection to one another right here in this moment.

Hope from Marilyn Freeman.

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.  What longing for community is stirred?

~ the literary text ~

I think I’m not afraid but then
Fear floods through me
In waves
When I should be sleeping

I think I can’t despair
And even so I’m overwhelmed
By the poverty and greed
The hate
The chaos in this world

But did I hear what I thought heard last night?
It was a relief
Those words
“We’re all gonna need to make sacrifices.”

It was a political leader who spoke
But there was no thunder in this man’s voice
He was calm when he talked about sacrifice
And it felt like a call to everyone listening
To do our parts
To be our better selves

What would it mean for me
To really sacrifice I wonder?
A call to us all
Not me alone or you on your own
But us together

I felt myself heat up with hope
My friend Debe would say, “Bless that man”
Bless that man who calls us to our higher selves
Bless those who light the way for us in service
Bless those who sacrifice as a way of life
And bless this chaos
If it brings us to our knees
So be it

And like the Bent Over Woman I read about in Luke
May we be found in the temples of our lives
And touched by the spirit of compassion
Made whole
And inspired by the Divine in all that is.

–By Marilyn Freeman

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9 Responses

  1. The reference to” BENT OVER WOMAN’ in the Gospel…triggered my own inner heart response as utter helplessness, powerlessness, upon hearing the news of my brothers diagnosis of terminal cancer of the brain.

    I literally” bent over” crouched on the floor of the altar of Our Lady of Loretto’s Church…claiming my utter nothingness before the tabernacle and felt an inner surge of HOPE ……

    an anchor, nevertheless, against the present gale.

    Bridget Robinson

      1. Bridget, I’m deeply stirred by reading your description of that “inner surge of HOPE.” It was Sister Lucy at St. Placid Priory who urged me to consider a CinemaDivina on “the bent over woman” in Luke. I still feel I’m barely scratching the surface of the passage. Your words, well, your words give me hope! The possibility of hope surging (“surge of Hope”) is very affecting — even more so when imagining it in the context of an experience like yours on learning of your brother’s diagnosis. Thank you for sharing, and blessings to you and your family.
        – Marilyn

  2. Marilyn: I had never checked out what you were offering. I thank God and Christine for leading me to you. I too, look for the Divine in the movies especially because I teach at a juvenile detention center and am always looking for movies with a message. Thank you for the gift of CINEMA DIVINA for even if I had practiced (of sorts) you gave it a name for me. Truly it was as Christine calls it, BIRTHING THE HOLY. Thanks and blessings. RC Salinas

    1. RC, the gratitude is mutual! The thanks you express is what I feel for being led to Christine and to the passionately spiritual Abbey of the Arts community. Bless you in your teaching work, and thank you.
      – Marilyn

  3. Thank you for sharing such kind thoughts about Hope. It’s such a blessing I’ve been given to share this work! Sharing the work opens my heart more and more, and more! The process of making CinemaDivina films is really only complete through offering them to others, I think. I’m deeply grateful to share them here at The Abbey of the Arts. Christine, thank you for making this possible!

  4. I am reminded to walk out this day as Christ’s hands and feet in a hurting world. What else truly matters? Eyes full of compassion, heart broken wide open to receive and lips that only speak of truth and love and beauty. May it be so this day.

  5. Absolutely beautiful. Would it be possible to download an MP4 version so I can share it during our Advent retreat? Thank you.