Friday, April 04, 2008

Flashback Friday! Voices Of Silence: Lives Of The Trappists Today

This 1991 book by photojournalist Frank Bianco had its beginnings during a retreat that Bianco made as he struggled with his faith and anger at God after his son's death in an automobile crash several years earlier. As he came to grips with his sorrow, he became close to the monks there at Gethsemani Abbey (where Thomas Merton lived many years ago) and was subsequently allowed to interview them, write about them and photograph them.

With writing as evocative as his camera, Bianco does a wonderful job of showing the day-to-day life of contemplatives. A large part of the book involves interviews with several different monks who are at critical stages in their spiritual development, i.e., will they leave the monastery or stay? Bianco also devotes a great deal of space to discussion of the psychological sea-change that occurs as a monk spends more and more time in the monastery.

Voices Of Silence is a compelling read for anyone interested in the struggles involved in the ongoing search for both God and self-awareness. Even non-believers will be moved by the complex and honest portraits of the men who have chosen this unconventional life.

No comments: