March 2010 (Vol. XXIII, No. 3)

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

IN MEMORIAM

Nan Crerie Merrill, December 3, 1931—January 23, 2010

On January 23, 2010, at 11:15 p.m., Nan C. Merrill, founder and director of Friends of Silence, slipped through the veil to her Beloved. The daughter of Ernest and Merle Crerie, Nan was mother to 3 sons and 2 daughters; "Nana" to 6 grandchildren; and "Auntie Nancy" to 6 nieces and nephews. She is also survived by one sister and a whole host of friends and colleagues across the country and abroad.

Nan touched the hearts of thousands of people through her monthly publication of Friends of Silence. She started this newsletter over 22 years ago in Detroit, Michigan, where she spent several years as a lay volunteer in an inner-city church. FOS has grown from a beginning group of about 40 members who came together at the church to pray silently over the city to more than six thousand subscribers world wide.

Nan shared her deep spiritual insights and love of writing by authoring six books and editing numerous others. She encouraged and nurtured everyone who came into her path. Nan has led retreats, worked with inner city residents and been involved in prison ministry for many years. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was an avid sports fan who enjoyed watching golf, basketball and football.

Nan and I met by mail through her FOS newsletter nearly 20 years ago. As she did for so many, she mentored me by being my "pen pal" for several years before we met face to face. Nan assisted me along the way through the intense spiritual search in which I was engaged, lending an ear or a shoulder as needed. She became my dear friend and colleague as the years passed, and I will sorely miss her. Still, I am so aware that she is here, that she lives on, not only in her published work, but also in our memories and our awareness of her strong spiritual presence in our own lives. Friends of Silence will continue in her footsteps.

Books by Nan C. Merrill

As many of you know, Nan published six books from 1996 - 2009. These are:

Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness--1996
Meditations and Mandalas: Simple Songs for the Spiritual Life--1999
Lumen Christi: Journey to Awakening--2002
Journey Into Love: From Fear to Freedom--2007
Walking with Wisdom--2009

These five titles are widely available in bookstores and online. The sixth, Peace Planet: Light for Our World, was self-published and can be ordered from Friends of Silence. Contact Anne (annestrad@sbcglobal.net or 11 Cardiff Lane, Hannibal, MO, 63401) for further information).

Psalms for Praying is perhaps Nan’s best known work. Over a period of years, she reworked the Hebrew Psalms, not, as she writes, "to replace the well-loved . . . Psalms of the Hebrew Scripture" but to "stand as a companion, a dialogue, if you will, of one age speaking with a later age."

Journey Into Love is perhaps the most autobiographical of Nan’s books. It explores the literal, metaphoric, and archetypal concept of the journey in the New Testament. It is the belief in, and discovery of, the story of Jesus as one's own story, a process she describes as reaching toward Love Consciousness.

Walking with Wisdom is "a stunning sequence of twenty meditations for our time. . . . In today's violence-torn world and in our fragmented everyday lives, Wisdom is needed as never before . . . When we seek this Wisdom of the Heart, we leave behind false emotions of guilt and fear, and we enter the Infinite Reality that exists beyond all time."

Both Journey Into Love and Walking with Wisdom were completed and published after Nan became ill. She remained true her Beloved’s call throughout her life.

Psalm 23

Psalm 23

O my Beloved, you are my shepherd,
I shall not want;
You bring me to green pastures for rest
and lead me beside still waters
renewing my spirit,
You restore my soul.
You lead me in the path of goodness
to follow Love’s way.

Even though I walk through the
valley of the shadow and of death,
I am not afraid;
For You are ever with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they guide me,
they give me strength and comfort.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of all my fears;
you bless me with oil,
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will
follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the heart
of the Beloved
forever.

~ from Psalms for Praying

Blessed are you who walk with goodness

Blessed are you
who walk with goodness,
who stand for the right,
who live in truth. . . .
You are like an acorn planted
in fertile soil
that grows into a mighty oak.
Your life blesses others,
you radiate love;
joy delights your heart.

~ from Meditations and Mandalas by Nan C Merrill

Listen deeply to others

Listen deeply to others and encourage
their aspirations
by word, by deed, or in deep silence.
Live in a way that draws peace, beauty,
harmony, and justice
toward others and all of creation.
Become an ambassador of peace
through loving service.

~ from LUMEN CHRISTI, HOLY WISDOM by Nan Merrill

The day I saw all things in God and God in all things

As Mechtild of Magdeburg said, "The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw -- and knew I saw -- all things in God and God in all things."  Everything else suddenly fell into perspective in the light of this awareness.  In time, I was to discover that once Life had found me, once Love had taken me by the hand, there was no way I could stop the inner pilgrimage.  . . .  There was no turning back. . . . To choose Life with deep conviction and commitment is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves, our families, our global neighbors, as well as the planet and ourselves.

~ from Journey Into Love by Nan C Merrill

True Wisdom emerges silently

True Wisdom emerges silently, rising up from the Mystery of the unseen Source within all.

~ from WALKING WITH WISDOM by Nan C. Merrill
Walking with Wisdom
By Nan Merrill

Awakening is an ongoing journey

Awakening is an ongoing journey.  To begin to see and to turn our lives around is only the beginning. . . . This road humbles us and gives us strength to repent, to ask forgiveness, to simplify and discard all that is not Life-giving, and to abandon ourselves into Love’s hands. . . .

I’ve learned to love and to trust the Mystery not needing to know the future.  I no longer take Grace for granted -- it is pure gift. . . . My essential course of action is simply to be in the Eternal Now, ready to follow the small, still voice heard in the Silence.

~ from Journey Into Love by Nan C Merrill