BBC’s “the Monastery”

Posted by on Aug 29, 2010 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

In 2005 & 2006, a series aired on the BBC called “The Monastery.”

Worth Abbey in Sussex is home to 22 Benedictine monks. Last year they agreed to take part in a unique experiment. The BBC asked them to open the doors of their cloistered world to 5 outsiders. The aim is to discover whether the 1,500 year-old monastic tradition has anything to offer modern life.

Here is part 1 of 18:

For the rest, see Worth Abbey’s website.

Worth Abbey’s tips for Lectio Divina:

In order to receive what a sacred text (the Bible) has to offer, we must read slowly. This brings to mind the recent ‘slow food’ movement in Italy, where villages guarantee to visitors that there are no ‘fast food’ outlets and that all can enjoy their meals in peace. As an antidote to speed reading we need to foster slow reading, what monks call lectio divina.

It is a right brain activity; we do not grasp the entire content immediately but in a circular manner. We read and advance, and then we go back and read again. With each repetition, something new may strike us. It takes time for us to become attuned to the subtle rhythms of a particular writing; the more we can slow down our reading, the more likely it is that we will catch sight of something unexpected.

Reading can become communion with God if we pray before, during and after our reading. Ask God to speak and ask for the grace to listen with the ear of your heart. You could make your own this psalm. ‘O that today you would listen to his voice. Harden not your hearts.’

Worth Abbey’s tips for meditation.


  1. Phoebe
    August 29, 2010

    I was struck by the abbot’s comment that “the monastic tradition doesn’t see the bible as a book of answers–it sees it more as a book of poetry…It feels that if you will enter into that poetic movement your soul will start to be shaped by it. And as it becomes filled with the poetry of scripture, your soul will expand and your heart will become more generous.”

  2. Nathan Rosquist
    August 29, 2010

    This reminds me of Brother David Steindl-Rast’s new book “Living the Apostle’s Creed”, in which he dissects the apostle’s creed word by word (“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord…etc.”) in an amazingly revealing, refreshing way. As if it were mystical poetry.

    Listen to an interview with him and Ken Wilber about it here.

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