The Simpsons and Carmelites
THE SIMPSONS NEWS
So we managed to finish the show on time. I worked a bit of overtime. I managed to finish my scenes and was able to help out other people to complete their scenes. Around the time I was ready to go, I asked my director if there was any more work or if there was anything I could do to help before I left. There was only three scenes left out with the artists that hadn’t been turned in yet at the time but he told me to ask everyone who was working on one if they needed help. I kinda wanted to go home but I did it anyway. First person I asked, pretty much gave me a brand new scene to start on. I’d been at work for a little over eight hours at this point so it was bit annoying. Not because I had more work to do, but because I was not mentally ready to start a new scene at that moment. I took it and managed to finish it the same day anyway. It took me about three hours to do. It wasn’t horrible, just a bit annoying. At least I’ll get overtime pay for it.
Now I’m helping out on another show. I’ve found it a bit funny that this particular show has Carmelite nuns as a big plot element. It’s particularly appropriate for me, considering what I did this weekend which I talk about below.
The Carmilite order was founded in the 12th Century by men, who had gone to Palestine from Europe either as pilgrims or as crusaders. Inspired, in part, by the Prophet Elijah they built a community of hermits on Mount Carmel near the spring called Elijah’s fountain. It didn’t take long before other pilgrim traveling in the Holy Land discovered them and joined them. Between 1206 and 1214 they received a rule from the patriarch and Papal legate Albert of Jerusalem and have been living out this Rule of Life ever since. After the Latin world lost control of Jerusalem the Carmelites where force to leave and they began to spread out through out the world. The order is till around today. The most famous Carmelites are: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Therese of Lisieux. (My sources: Wikipedia, Order of Carmelites Website, Catholic Encyclopedia.)
Why am I talking about the Carmelites? Well, because this weekend, I found myself in a Carmelite run, male only, silent retreat. My dad and I went together and shared a room. It was the first time that I have ever been to a silent retreat as well as an all male one. It was amazing. Perhaps the most amazing thing of all, was how many men actually showed up to the retreat. About 70 of us.
The retreat took place at a retreat house run by Carmelite nuns. The most impressive thing about these Carmelites (besides how many they were and how happy they were) was that they still wore, more or less, the traditional habits of their order, and they were proud to wear them. I personally appreciated that very much. It was a constant physical reminder, whenever you saw them, that they had devoted themselves to something greater than themselves AND that you where somewhere Catholic. It’s not very often that you see nuns ware the older style habits. It’s very cool.
The nuns hadn’t expected so many guys to show up. In fact, they weren’t even sure if anyone would come at all. The nuns were very happy and overwhelmed by the fact that so many us did showed up . You should have heard us sing in the Chapel. We made the walls shake. It was impressive.
The retreat house was located in a small fortress of solitude in the middle of a suburban neighborhood, in the city of Alhambra, South of Pasadena. It was a beautiful garden filled place, full of trees, with small fountains spread through out the grounds and many small alcoves to hide away in. It was very well suited for the contemplative activities that we practiced through out the retreat. The retreat itself was very masculine centric. It was specifically geared to make us aware of of a few things:
- Our masculinity
- The attack on masculinity by our popular culture
- What it means to be masculine according to the Church.
- How to live out our masculinity practically in the everyday world.
If you’ve just finished reading what I wrote and frowned to yourself when I mentioned the word Masculine, then that only goes to prove that masculinity has been so attacked that it only connotes all that is bad in men. Our Retreat Master for the weekend was Rev. Brian Mullady, O.P.. (You may have seen some of his shows on EWTN). He went out of his way to let us know that, by masculinity, he did NOT mean, machismo. In fact, most of the talks we had during the retreat were about explaining to us, through the examples of St. Joseph and Jesus Christ, what true masculinity was and how it ought to be applied in our everyday life as well as our roles as fathers and husbands.
Overall the retreat was awesome. Since it was a silent retreat, this meant not only that we where suppose to be quite physically, but also mentally. We were suppose to clear our minds of all the everyday troubles and thoughts, not only to be more receptive to what was being said to us during the talks but also so we could hear what God had to tell outside of the talks.
It always surprises me how hungry I am for these kinds of experience once I’m in them. It’s like giving food to a starving child. I just can’t get enough. I couldn’t get enough from the wisdom being given to us in the talks, I couldn’t get enough praying and Mass time, I couldn’t get enough silence. I just wanted more and more. It was crazy. Even now, I all I can think about is finding a day to do it again sometime or to find time to do this on my own some how. I’m definitely thinking that next time, I’m going to a Monastery, to live as a monk for a weekend. I just need to find a monastery that will allow me to do that.
If you live in Los Angeles, California I highly recommend the Sacred Heart Retreat House.
We had free time to ourselves for about two on hours on Saturday. They said we should do what we where moved to do so I chose to paint:
The finished water color painting looked somewhat like this (I say “somewhat” because the actual painting is actually brighter and more colorful than this scan. I don’t understand why the colors got dark when I turned the scan into a jpeg):
We were handed a booklet with the itinerary of the retreat. It had a few pages in that back to write personal reflections, thoughts or notes. I drew in it.
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