winter

To be a monk, you must learn to close the door

Driving to Kirkridge for a retreat, I listen. On cassette, made in 1967, Thomas Merton speaks to the novices. He speaks of a Buddhist monk who has come to visit the monastery at Gethsemane. Joyfully, I remember. I remember 1967. I remember Thich Nhat Hanh. Students had organized a multi-faceted event on "the war" at my college. Two Buddhist monks came to be among us. In their orange robes, with agony for their Vietnamese brothers and sisters in heart, they spoke to us. I remember the power of their souls. I don't remember the quiet. My own life at 21 was such a noisy jumble. My own soul -- such a kaleidoscope of passions. Who did I love? What was my call? What were my gifts? Then, always relentlessly the question of "the war" -- how would I respond to the death and violence, the heroism and the compassion, the deceit and the debate? Those questions powered my soul into overdrive. And yes, I liked being in overdrive. Because then I could produce.

~ Rev. Brooks Smith, No. Plainfield, NJ

Behold I stand at the door and knock

Our Quaker friends have much to teach us in the way of silence. The following quotations are taken from the little classic, A TESTAMENT OF DEVOTION, by Thomas R. Kelly:

"... the Living Christ within us is the initiator and we are the responders. God the Lover, the accuser, the revealer of light and darkness presses within us. 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.' And all our apparent initiative is already a response, a testimonial to His secret presence and working within us.

"The basic response of the soul to the Light is internal adoration and joy, thanksgiving and worship, self-surrender and listening. The secret places of the heart cease to be our noisy workshop. They become a holy sanctuary of adoration and of self-oblation, where we are kept in perfect peace, if our minds be stayed on Him who had found us in the inward springs of our life ... In the Center of Creation all things are ours, and we are Christ's and Christ is God's."

~ from A TESTAMENT OF DEVOTION by Thomas R. Kelly

Our little community

Our little community of the FRIENDS OF SILENCE is an expression of the desire to have all our relations, all of our activity in the world, pass THROUGH Eternity. If we are to participate in bringing the Blessed Community to its completion, we must be still and know God in our inner beings. We invite anyone who shares this dream, this hope, to COME and SEE ... to COME and BE with us each month.

This is our beginning. We welcome your sharings and responses. Please send them by the 15th of each month to Nan at St. Agnes Church.

~ Nan Merrill
Syndicate content