Rocky Horror: The Inner Frog De Mello Workshop

This is my debut on the RCC so I hope they’ll forgive me relapsing into old habits.

We all need to lift our hearts after losing the Ashes, so what better way than a bit of New Age therapy?Fr Tim reported on this recently, after Fr Sean Finnegan became aware of the Emmaus retreat centre’s De Mello Prayer Workshop.

The RCC has been given transcripts of the last similar day run at another retreat centre in Old Erin. We give the transcript below as a taster for the many readers here who will no doubt be attending the DeMello Workshop:[Man with a rainbow-colour sweater and an idiotic grin takes the microphone and addresses the assembled company, arranged in an inclusive, non-hierarchical way]

Br Rainbow (formerly Br Ignatius): Failte! Well, sure, and aren’t you all welcome to the Road to Damascus New Age Massage, Retreat and Conference Centre (formerly St Brendan’s Monastery) for this “Frog Prayer” Experience Day. I recognise some of the faces here: Bishop Gumbleton – great to see you! Sr Skylark, there from the Enneagram Day last month; Oh, and Deaconess Daphne from the Crystal Spirituality Week, welcome. Oh, yes and there’s Ms Vandenburg, our first womynpriest here – congrats on your watery ordination…ha, ha, ha….ahem…well…. Nice poncho, by the way. Give me a hug.
[He hugs a rather stony-faced woman in a poncho. Hugs all round. ]Just some housekeeping to start off with: have you all brought your vegan lunch-to-share with you? That’s great, now. We love sharing here. I’d like to introduce two of the facilitators for today’s course Sr Spirit-Flame (formerly Sr Brigid-Mary-Teresa) of the Sisters of Perpetual Indecisiveness(rather aged, grey-haired woman in a pair of slacks and an Aran sweater holding a set of maracas hobbles forward)

I’m so glad you’re here and here’s a little known fact – Sr Spirit-Flame is currently the youngest member of her religious order! Great to have the youth here!

And also here is my confrere/comrade/buddy, Br Dancing-Trousers (formerly Br Declan) who will provide the music for today. (A whey-faced idiot in a Che Guevara tee-shirt, cord flares and sandals, a guitar strung round his neck steps forward giving a John Lennon/Tony Blair/Bono “peace” sign)

Now, for those of you who don’t know this centre, it’s run by ourselves, the Christian Brothers (soon to be renamed the the-Happy-Band-Of -Multifaith–Siblings-Of-All-Men-Women-And-Transgender-People).

You will all have read Angela’s Ashes or any number of books describing a miserable Irish Catholic childhood and will know that this order was responsible for a great deal of anguish and pain in enforcing our so-called Catholic beliefs on lots of poor children and making Ireland a benighted, priest-ridden, alcohol-fuelled haven of domestic violence, suppressed sexuality and medieval superstition (© Frank McCourt, Ken Loach, Peter Mullen, Neil Jordan)

Well, we like to begin these sessions with an act of humility and a begging of forgiveness. We will move a stone each from this nasty pile here – the Pile of Bad Karma to the Pile of Good Karma: make sure you don’t take from the wrong pile – we don’t want trouble with our piles, now, do we?

Opening Cultural Cringe

Oh Lord of the Dance (or whatever deity you follow) and all the ancient spirits of the Old Celtic peoples, give us a warm hug of forgiveness for all the bad things we (or those who came before us) have done including the Inquisition, the Crusades, the potato famine (although Tony Blair copped a plea on that one), slavery (ditto), compulsory PE, corporal punishment, cold showers, misogyny, homophobia, Islamophobia, all other phobias, Dana and Daniel O’Donnell)

Lead us from war to peace
Lead us from black to beige
Lead us from nasty to nice
Lead us from negativity to positivity
Lead us from Large to Little
Lead us from Morecambe to Wise
Lead us from Val Doonican to Van Morrison
Lead us from dogma to dharma
Lead us from teaching to Tai Chi
Lead us from hierarchy to hugs-all-round.

These positive thoughts we make in the name of the earth-mother, Blessed Joan of Chittister herself (peace be upon her)

Participants: Amen to that, brother. (or “Right on” or “Yeah, baby, yeah” or “Catch yerself on, y’auld eejit”)

Br Rainbow: OK, we all feel better now, don’t we?
[Muttered agreement]

Participants: Yes, we do.

Br Rainbow: Well, our karmas are cleared, our consciences cleansed, our ummah is on the up and our samadhi is sorted! On to the business of the day, and we’re going to start with a little song. Gather round this meditation table with a nice homemade candle on it and we’ll sing a little song to get us all in the mood. This is from our Cuddly-Toy brethren, the Muppets. I’ve been called a “Muppet” myself often enough and you know, I’m deeply touched by that, as I like to think of myself as having some of the wisdom of these little fellas.

[Br Dancing-Trousers starts to warble:]

It’s not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

It’s not easy being green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over ‘cause you’re
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky

But green’s the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean, or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree
When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful
And I think it’s what I want to be

© Kermit O’Frog Br Rainbow: And now, some words of wisdom from the great guru, Tony de Mello. Over to you, Spirit-Flame, you crazy cat.[Sr Spirit-Flame, a rather doddery old lass, ambles over to the lectern and fumbles with her book. She reads, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.]

And now a reading from Blessed Anthony of Mello (peace be upon him)

With the present Notification, in order to protect the good of the
Christian faithful, this Congregation declares that the above-mentioned
positions are incompatible with the Catholic faith and can cause grave harm.
Rome, from the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
June 24, 1998, the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist.
Card. Ratzinger, Prefect
 +Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., Archbishop
Emeritus of Vercelli, Secretary

Oops! I seem to have read from the wrong page – nasty Ratzinger! Nasty man! I’ll start again: And now a reading from Blessed Anthony of Mello (peace be upon him)

Participants: Get on with it!

One day, Brother Krishnashantiramalama was walking in the garden of the ashram when he saw a frog on a stone by a pond. He leant down to the frog and asked him this question: ‘Why do you say the same old things over and over again? “Ribbit-ribbit-ribbit” is all you say. What else do you have to say for
yourself?’ “Ribbit-ribbit-ribbit” said the frog. Just then a heron swooped down
and ate the frog. “Verily”, said the sage “This frog has taught me much of the
transitory nature of this life” So he sat on a stone for the next 20
years, eating flies and saying “Ribbit” until one day he tried to hop across the
main Mumbai-Kalikut road and was run over by an articulated lorry.
Which goes to show, my precious one, how transitory this life is.

This is the word of the Lord Krishna

Punters: Thanks be to Karma.

Br Rainbow: Wasn’t that just lovely now? What wisdom there is in the ancient teachings of the East. So I’d like us now to do our special exercise for today – to discover your Inner Frog.

First could you put on your special costumes. There are male, female, gay and transgender changing facilities, just off this prayer-meeting-resource. Then make sure you put on your head, er, thingies and your flippers
The participants return looking like this:

Br Rainbow: Sure, you look grand!
OK now, I’d like you to all squat down round this baptistery/water fountain feature (£24.99 from B&Q, batteries not included) and repeat after me: “Ribbit!”

Assembled hippies: “Ribbit!”

Br Rainbow: Louder!

Assembled hippies: “RIBBIT!”

Br Rainbow: Again!

 Br Rainbow: Do you feel better?

Assembled hippies: Oh, yes!!!!!!!

Br Rainbow: Good – it’s all about you, guys!

Br Rainbow: Grand. It’s great to have had you here. Do take advantage of the complementary Indian Head Massage. Why? Because you’re worth it! That’s our motto. Could you make your cheques for €750 inc VAT @ 17.5% for the day’s activities to “Road to Damascus New Age Scams-R-Us” and give them to Sr Spirit-Flame or Br Dancing-Trousers on the way out? We do accept all major credit cards. Finally, over to you, Dancing-Trousers!

Br Dancing-Trousers: Now for the final part of the day’s activities, our final song is that lovely piece by St Paul of McCartney, the Frog Chorus. Many people think this is by Estelle White. “That’s Estelle White!” they say when I sing it and I can see why you would think such a popular spiritual classic would be by the great Estelle, especially since it captures the “Spirit of the Council” so well. If I don’t get to see you before you leave don’t forget to leave your cheques, or we’ll put the Garda on you! Ha!Ha!Ha!

Farewell! Adieu! Shalom! Salaam! Shanti! Slainte! and may your god go with you.

Assembled hippies, still squatting in their frog costumes link arms and sway in time to the music:

Win or lose, sink or swim
One thing is certain well never give in
Side by side, hand in hand
We all stand together

Play the game, fight the fight
But whats the point on a beautiful night?
Arm in arm, hand in handWe all stand together
Keeping us warm in the night
La la la la
Walk in the night
Youll get it right

Win or lose, sink or swim
One thing is certain well never give in
Side by side, hand in hand
We all stand together

© St Paul of McCartney/Leg-To-Stand-On Songs

[Assembled hippies depart into the Dublin suburbs, their karma €750 lighter…….]


11 thoughts on “Rocky Horror: The Inner Frog De Mello Workshop

  1. I thought you were going to add and all the middle aged hippies left in their 4X4 people carriers – car they just cant do without..

    fr paul harrison

  2. Lol.
    (Un)fortunately, if you look at the Retreat Website now, the famous DeMello retreat has mysteriously gone – except of couse in the pdf download brochure.
    Maybe the frog doesn`t need any more prayers….

  3. Brendan, that has been said of me before in another context. It has also been implied about the quality of my fielding.

    Personally I think New Age hippies should be banned until they renounce their sorcery/snake oil vending.

  4. Thought you could escape me, ‘eh Paulinus? My keen Neanderthal tracking skills have led me to the RCC and now I’ll bother you endlessly!!

    All seriousness aside, excellent post! I see we Americans aren’t the only ones with a penchant for burn-out hippy “liturgies”.

    I thought you might enjoy something I did a few months back, the Mass of the future — The Novus Novus Ordo Missae, 2044 CE.

    Enjoy, and Merry Christmas, frate.

  5. Delighted you liked it Caveman. I’m afraid your frightening liturgy knocks mine into a cocked hat.

    What gives me greater delight is that you have made it onto a blog that glories in God’s Own Game, cricket. Many former British colonies have become rather good at the game. Who knows – you may want to give up your bat and ball game (rounders?) and take up cricket.

  6. “Oh Lord of the Dance (or whatever deity you follow) and all the ancient spirits of the Old Celtic peoples, give us a warm hug of forgiveness for all the bad things we (or those who came before us) have done including the Inquisition…”


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