December 1989 (Vol. II, No. 11)

Holiday Greetings to all Friends of Silence! May each one of you be blessed this holy season and throughout the new year with the joy ... peace ... gratitude ... and, love that arises from the inner sanctum of our hearts, where love is ever born anew. Two offerings from a new book, SONGS FOR EVERY SEASON, seem especially timely:

While gentle silence enveloped all things

"While gentle silence enveloped all things," reads the Wisdom of Solomon, "and night in its swift course was half gone, your all-powerful Word leaped from heaven into the midst of the land that was doomed." Faith is not a frantic reaching out to God, grasping at promised straws of salvation. Faith is an act of welcome; it is a gentle silence that embraces a divine mystery that has already come to us, is now coming, and will always come in time and through eternity. This sacred season proclaims the Light who leaps through eternity. This sacred season proclaims the Light who leaps into our lives even when darkest night reigns. It celebrates the Word of glad tidings that announces the end of quiet doom and despair.

~ Richard Byrne

Life becomes an unceasing prayer

The faithful heart finds in itself a mysterious longing for an epiphany of the Divine. A seed of unceasing prayer is this longing, we must abide with it, attentive to its invitation. Silent abiding is the beginning of fidelity. The gift of holy longing is veiled for us by anxious concern, vexing problems, tedious tasks and ambitious pursuits. How large they loom in daily life! ... Our life is like a dish that is broken, but needs and problems appear trivial in the light of an epiphany of the Holy. In the radiance of this sacred presence, concerns recede in the shadows of attentiveness. Life becomes an unceasing prayer, a lasting gestures of fidelity.

~ Adrian Van Kaam

Unlikely places

It was Christ who chose the stable to be born in and who continues to choose unlikely places. In each of us, just beyond the noise of our outward life, there is some place of silence and darkness, an emptiness where, if we have courage enough, we are alone with ourselves. In this place of silence, we know that God alone can fill our emptiness, God alone can content us, God alone is our peace. And in this secret place of the soul, Christ wants to be born in us, that through us, God may live in this world again and make it new ... make it young and childlike ... make it true and pure. In this dark place of our heart, Christ wants the light of the world to begin to burn and from its burning to radiate, until it shines back from the face of humanity. Here it is that the light begins to shine in darkness and the life of the world begins again. It is easy to see that the world is wounded, hard to see that its healing begins in our own heart. Christ can be born in us only if we accept God in littleness, humility, silence -- hidden and small -- to be fostered and loved in us, cradled and clothed in us, that Christ may grow naturally in our lives to full stature.

~ Caryll Houselander

In silence which is active

In silence which is active, the
Inner Light begins to glow -- a
tiny spark.

By an attention full of love,
we enable the Inner Light to
blaze and illuminate our dwelling
and to make of our whole being
a source from which this Light
may shine out.

~ from GOD IS SILENCE by Pierre Lacout with thanks to Donald & Lesley Holmes

The Dry Salvages

For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit lost in a shaft of sunlight,

Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline,
thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood,
is incarnation.

~ "The Dry Salvages" by T. S. Eliot

We realize ourselves

We realize ourselves, when we discover God. We discover a reality that is identical to ourselves, although a realm that transcends us infinitely ... a reality from which we are estranged, but from which we can never be separated ... In reality, in our search to know God, we realize our true selves.

~ Paul Tillich, thanks to Robert Hamlyn

So often, we forget how to pray

So often, we forget how to pray. We forget that there must be a time when we are silent so we can hear what God wants to say to us. Yes, my friends, we must pray, the prayer of two people in love with each other who cease to talk. Their silence speaks. This is the kind of prayer that the poustinia will teach you. Resting in God's love, you will understand the unity God wishes for you. Then as a pilgrim, you will go forth and shout and sing about this to all peoples.

Two people in love! When you are in love with God you will understand that God loved you first. You will enter into a deep and mysterious silence and in that silence become one with the Absolute. Your oneness with God will overflow to all your brothers and sisters.

My friends, this is the kind of prayer we need today. If you pray like this you will be overshadowed by the wings of a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit. On those wings your prayer of silence will be lifted into the hands of the Woman Wrapped in Silence, and she will lay it at the feet of the Most Holy Trinity. The answer today to the salvation of the world lies in prayer.

~ from FRAGMENTS OF MY LIFE by Catherine de Hueck Doherty