winter

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
St Isaac of Nineveh on Ascetical Life (English and Syriac Edition)
By Bishop of Nineveh Isaac, Mary Hansbury, Translator

The sound of the snow falling

How I would like
people to hear ...
the sound of the snow falling
through the deepening
night ...

~ Hakuin (17th century)

As we begin the second year of this little newsletter

As we begin the second year of this little newsletter, please know of the joy and gratitude received and given through our mutual sharing and prayer. That our "membership" almost quadrupled is perhaps an indication of how many hidden contemplatives live and work in our busy and noisy world. How crucial our Silence is for the balance and transformation of our planet!

In the November issue, having asked if anyone knew of THE ROLL, what a delight to discover a complementary group offering an in-depth, quarterly newsletter. Schola Contemplationis, dedicated to global spirituality, is a networking community for contemplatives in the world, at home and in monasteries.

~ Nan Merrill

Advent is the season of the seed

Advent is the season of the seed:
The seed, Christ said, is the word of god Sown
in the human heart.
The advent, the seed of the world's life, was hidden in Mary.
Like the wheat seed in the earth,
the seed of the Bread of Life was in her.
Like the golden harvest in the darkness of the earth,
the Glory of God was enshrined in her darkness.
Advent is the season of the secret,
the secret of the growth of Christ,
of Divine Love growing in silence.
It is the season of humility, silence and growth.
This time of advent is absolutely essential to our contemplation.
If we have truly given our humanity to be changed into Christ,
It is essential to us that we do not disturb this
time of growth.
It is a time of darkness, of faith.
We shall not see Christ's radiance in our lives yet;
It is still hidden in our darkness;

~ from THE REED OF GOD by Caryll Houselander
The Reed of God
By Caryll Houselander

Born in me

Christ could be born a thousand times in Galilee -- but all in vain until he is born in me.
~ Angelus Silesius

In the silence of Advent

In the silence of Advent, we are called to joy:

"Listen, I bring you news of great joy."
Joy is the transparency of grace,
the overflow of Christ's presence into us,
into the lives of others.
Joy is a gift, the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
"Christ's joy is the sharing in the unfathomable joy,
both divine and human,
which is at the heart of Jesus Christ glorified."
The deep, quiet joy of the gift
of goodness of life,
of one's family and friends,
of loving and being loved,
of holiness,
of the Eucharist.
We were created for joy!

~ from CELTIC MEDITATIONS by Edward Farrell
Celtic Meditations
By Edward J. Farrell

Unconditional love

Advent's silence reaches us as Love:

At the very heart of our experience, each of us has an intuitive sense of the value of unconditional love. We discover great joy when we can love without reservation, suspending judgments and opening fully to the vivid reality of another's being. Unconditional love has tremendous power, activating a larger energy which connects us with the vastness and profundity of what it is to be human. This energy is the energy of the heart ... This energy is the Love of Christ.

~ from "On Love" by John Welwood

To love another

For, to love another is to address to that person the most powerful and imperious form of appeal. It is to stir up in his or her depths a silent and hidden person forced to emerge in response to our voice, so new that even its owner did not know it, yet so true that he or she cannot fail to recognize it, even though seeing it for the first time.

~ from IN HIS PRESENCE by Louis Evely
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