For, when all is said and done, each of us, and in the deepest part of our self, has to learn to accept our own essential solitude. In each of our hearts, there is a wound -- the wound of our own loneliness which hurts at moments of setback and can be even more painful at the time of death. And all suffering, sadness and depression is a foretaste of that death, a manifestation of our deep wound which is part of the human condition. Because our hearts thirst for the infinite, they will never be satisfied with the limitations which are always a sign of death, a manifestation of our deep wound which is part of the human condition. Because our hearts thirst for the infinite, they will never be satisfied with the limitations which are always a sign of death. We can touch that infinite in art, music, poetry and silence. We can experience moments of communion and love, of prayer and ecstasy -- yet, they are only moments.

~ from COMMUNITY & GROWTH by Jean Vanier

Dwelling in the presence

If there is any focus that the spiritual leader of the future will need, it is the discipline of dwelling in the presence of the One who keeps asking us, "Do you love me? Do you love me?" It is the discipline of contemplative prayer. Through contemplative prayer we can keep ourselves from becoming strangers to our own and God's heart. Contemplative prayer keeps us home, rooted and safe, even when we are on the road, moving from place to place, and often surrounded by sounds of violence and war. Contemplative prayer deepens in us the knowledge that we are already free, that we have already found a place to dwell, that we already belong to God, even though everything and everyone around us keep suggesting the opposite.

~ from IN THE NAME OF JESUS by Henri Nouwen


CONTEMPLATIVES -- whether in monastic community or out in the marketplace -- not only help one another to grow grain and produce the bread of the body, but also bring one another to the spiritual ovens of solitude from which they are nourished with the hot, fresh Bread of the Spirit.

They not only press the grapes of their vineyards into material wine, but they lead one another to the eternal fountains of silence in which they drink the living waters and the rich wine of the Holy Spirit ... Thus, the Word of God comes silently into their midst, and eats and drinks with them.

~ from THE SILENT LIFE by Thomas Merton

Giving yourself up to love is falling

Giving yourself up to love is falling, with complete abandon, into the hands of the living God. This is the deep, interior prayer for which we have been striving. Here we must let go our dependency on thoughts, words, and images. We go into the beautiful darkness. We stop struggling. We let the angels carry us. We let go even of our yearning for God. Nothing is left except being in God. What could I say that would matter when I am in the heart of God? Contemplation! It is like going to heaven for a while.



Mystical prayer is essentially an experience of unity with God and God's creation. Kything is a gateway to mystical experience and can foster deeper prayer states. When you kythe you transcend separateness without losing your identity. When you kythe you enter into a state of unconditional love and spiritual union.

As a hasidic master once wrote about experiencing this spiritual energy while kything with nature:

When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy, then from all the stones, and all the growing things, and all animals, the sparks of their soul come out and cling to you, and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you.

~ from KYTHING: THE ART OF SPIRITUAL PRESENCE by Louis Savary and Patricia Berne

March 1989 (Vol. II, No. 3)

Spring greetings to Friends of Silence! Each new season offers a call to dive deep enough into the calm depths of our heart to reach the serene Silent One. In this way we gift the world with an inner stillness and silence that helps to keep the balance and renew the earth.

Who is a holy person?

Who is a holy person? The one who is aware of others' suffering.
~ Kabir

As I sit in silence

More and more people are discovering that one of Jesus' greatest gifts is the sharing of his life with us through the bread and wine of each day ... and, one of the greatest gifts that we can give to each other is the sharing of our selves. Alice Howell, through her book THE DOVE IN THE STONE: FINDING THE SACRED IN THE COMMONPLACE, gifted me recently with a remembrance of my own Dove story, which I offer to you:

~ Nan Merrill

Being silent with friends

THE ROAD TO DAYBREAK, the latest sharing of Henri J.M. Nouwen's spiritual journey, is a gift of his struggles and self-doubts as he entered into a new vocation in the L'Arche community. From his entry on Being Silent With Friends:

~ from THE ROAD TO DAYBREAK by Henri J.M. Nouwen

Lover of silence

Life is so filled with paradox! Words so often get in the way -- yet, we go into the Silence to hear the Word. And what a blessing are the words of Scripture, the words of individuals in every age that continue to live as gift. Isaac of Niniveh, a Syrian monk, offers us reflections on silence:

"If you love truth, be a lover of silence. Silence like the sunlight will illuminate you in God and will deliver you from the phantoms of ignorance. Silence will unite you to God ... More than all things love silence: it brings you a fruit that tongue cannot describe. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then there is born something that draws us to silence. May God give you an experience of this "something" that is born of silence. If only you practice this, untold light will dawn on you in consequence ... After a while, a certain sweetness is born in the heart and the body is drawn almost by force to remain in silence."

~ Isaac of Niniveh
Syndicate content