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Lots of Spoiler Alerts ahead – if you have not seen it and don’t want the story spoiled DO NOT READ THIS!!!
We Don’t Talk About Bruno . . .I can not get this song out of my head (We don’t talk about Bruno).
I finally watched this movie. It’s great. I love it. As the author of the Be Yourself Journal, I immediately connected with the lead character who wondered who she was and what was her gift.
But something happened within days of me seeing this movie – my husband showed me a meme that led me to research Saint Bruno.
If you would like to read more about the movie Encanto from a Catholic point of view, check out Michelle Nott’s blog post titled Review of Encanto (from a Religious Perspective)
Nott touches upon Bruno in her review, stating:
“Poor Bruno gets stuck with a bad reputation due to his gift of vision of future events. People go to him to get questions about their future answered, but turn against him when they don’t like what he sees. How does this relate to our faith?”
What a great question Michelle. (Read more about Michelle Nott Catholic blogger)
The character Bruno from the movie Encanto bares some similarities to the Catholic Saint Bruno. From seeing a possible vision of the future, to leaving a life in a busy community to a life of solitude, and to possibly, being misunderstood, we can use this Disney creation to look at and talk about Saint Bruno.
We don’t often want to talk about what Saint Bruno held as extremely important, but perhaps . . . we should.
Saint Bruno saw a possible future event.
Saint Bruno, almost like the character of that same name in Encanto, saw the future in a creepy, Ebeneezer Scrooge/Bob Marley/ Charles Dickens kind of way in the year 1084.
You see, Saint Bruno attended the funeral of Raymond Diocres in Paris in 1084.
At this funeral, the deceased reportedly sat up out of his casket and declared that he had been eternally damned.
I could not help but think of Marley warning Scrooge about the afterlife and the hell that awaited him, if he did not change his ways.
In the movie Encanto, when the main character asks Bruno to show her his vision of the future, he tells her – it is not decided, it depends on you. You need to choose. And as a Christian writer, I can’t help but think of the act of embracing a sister that often hurt her – Mirabel was called to forgive her sister.
We pray this all the time, “…and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us . . .”
This call to forgive others is indeed necessary for us to embrace if we want to be forgiven.
Saint Bruno lived a life of solitude and fasting
Saint Bruno, after this experience, sought to live a life of solitude and prayer. Since it inspired others to follow him, he started the Carthusian order. This order was extremely strict.
The men who joined it lived in silence and did not gather together often – in fact, the men only ate meals together on certain holidays.
In the movie Encanto, an event leads the character Bruno to remove himself from his family and live in solitude. I was so moved when the story revealed where Bruno would eat his meals . . . on the other side of the wall was the family dinner table.
As a Catholic blogger, I know I’m guilty of this: we talk about loving one another, serving one another, praying with others – but what we don’t talk about, at least I know I don’t, is how important it is to remove ourselves from the pleasures of life.
As a Catholic Christian, I want to stop and recognize how simply eating with my family every night is a gift. Something that should always fill my heart with gratitude – especially since I can remember a time in my own life where I lived alone and often thought, “why bother cooking dinner, it’s only me who’s eating it?”.
I don’t know what the fictional character ate, but Saint Bruno and his brother hermits only ate bread and water 3 days a week. They never ate meat. They only ate fish if it was given to them as a gift.
As a Christian living in a first-world country, the idea of eating less and eating much more simply seems like SUCH.A.BIG.DEAL.
But, as Jesus said himself, “when you fast, do not look dismal like the hypocrites . . . ”
Jesus said – “when you fast” – we are expected to fast. Saint Bruno saw great value in fasting. I don’t know if I’m the average Catholic or Christian, but I do know I could fast more. Do you fast? Could you fast more often?
Saint Bruno saw the value of silence and humility
The characters in the movie Encanto thought Bruno had left them. As we know, they didn’t feel it was a good thing to talk about why he left.
The world in the secular sense, does not see the value of embracing silence and today, with social media – we can’t imagine not “being seen”.
But like the character Bruno, Saint Bruno saw that life alone can be extremely difficult, and companionship in some way is necessary. So Bruno, the character, stays close to his family, just out of sight.
Saint Bruno incorporated certain holiday meals and community prayer into the rule of life for his fellow monks.
Perhaps the examples of silence and humility need to be seen as holy acts. Choices that if embraced, allow us to see what God wants us to see.
Or perhaps hear what God wants us to hear.
Why we need to talk about (Saint) Bruno
As I wrestle this whole idea, I was given a little comfort by Emily Ricci, the founder of Gloriam Marketing
I don’t talk about these lessons Saint Bruno teaches because my goal as a Catholic influencer is often to bring back people who have lost their faith. You don’t exactly get people to run toward Jesus if all you talk about is self-deprecation and sacrifice.
But, even Jesus knew this about the human condition. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are labored and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.”
As Emily Ricci points out, Jesus described the rest He offers, not the life of self-sacrifice it will require.
But once we know the truth – that Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life; we need to know about the way we must follow Him.
We need to know the whole truth about what it means to be a Christian.
In that song that won’t leave my head there is this one part:
Yeah, about that Bruno…
I really need to know about Bruno…
Gimmie the truth and the whole truth, Bruno
As I write this I am finding humor in what she says almost immediately after – typical of all of us . . .
Don’t talk about Bruno, no! (Why did I talk about Bruno?)
Not a word about Bruno
I never should’ve brought up Bruno!
The truth is not always what we want to hear. What we need is not always pleasant.
Saint Bruno’s Three Great Virtues
It is said that the disciples of Saint Bruno praised his three chief virtues:
- Mortification and self-sacrifice
- Devotion to the Blessed Mother
Let us take from Saint Bruno the knowledge that it is important to pray, but in order to hear God’s voice in prayer we must remove distractions and embrace silence and distance.
As we approach Lent, let us really dive into the fasting part this year. The part where we do actually give something up for Lent.
And last, let us thank God for his Mother. What a great gift we have in knowing that our heavenly Mother loves us. Being a Christian is not easy! Thankfully, the Lord gave us His Mother as our Mother too. She truly helps us through intercession and graces. Pray that Rosary, wear that Miraculous Medal, ask her for prayers when you feel like you need more of them.
Saint Bruno and the need to gather with others
Saint Bruno was a teacher/professor in Paris for 20 years before he left for a life of solitude. Even when he did live the life of a hermit, he recognized the need to gather with others and worship as a group.
Bruno – spoiler alert – returns to the family . . . and it is joyful.
Just because we talk about fasting, retreating and getting uncomfortable for Christ, doesn’t mean we don’t need community and an occasional celebration or holiday.
But what we need to realize is that we don’t see how amazing all the little things are because we don’t embrace sacrifice and solitude enough. It is through those acts that we will see and hear God more clearly.
Living during a pandemic has certainly forced us to retreat in some ways. Hopefully, we have come to appreciate the gatherings more.
What can we learn from Saint Bruno?
Saint Bruno’s example of sacrifice and intense devotion to prayer, can inspire us to seek union with God more often and above everything else.
Perhaps through fasting more, engaging in social media less and – as the movie Encanto seems to stress, not placing so much importance on what we do well, but simply just taking time to be – and as Saint Bruno would add – spend time being with God – we will grow closer to being the person God is calling us to be.
Lent is the perfect time to pray and fast more!
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