May the flowers of May brighten your hearts! GREETINGS to all Friends of Silence. Recently, in recollecting personal Emmaus experiences, we found a paragraph in Douglas Steere's book, TOGETHER IN SOLITUDE, which beautifully describes that sense of being present to another that comes out of the deep silence of our hearts:
There is One who, on that road out of Jerusalem to the little town of Emmaus, taught his companions of the road and of the table what it was to be present. "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way?" That same quickening presence still walks by our side. That same presence kindles our meetings and reveals to us our failure to be truly present with our families, our friends, our sisters and brothers in the world. It is there in his presence when we are again given the gift of tears, that we are once more joined to all the living, the hope is restored in us, and that we are rebaptized in to the sacredness of the gift of life and of the gift of being set down here among other humans who, in the depth of their being, long to be truly present to each other. Not only is there "no time but this present", but there is no task God has called us to that is more exciting and challenging than being made inwardly ready to be present where we are.
Nonexperience is longing that no longer seeks fulfillment. Even longing itself is being continually let go, the tears mark its passing even as they magnify the Face of God ... Nonexperience is the passage to dwelling in the Silence, of Living Water where we find the waters of eternal life, possibility, salvation, which satisfy our thirst forever ... Nonexperience is the prayer of the abyss, making up by being poured-out-through what is lacking, what remains to be done, in the reconciliation and transfiguration of all things.
And, from THE AWAKENING CALL by James Finley, a word for mothers (outer and inner!):
A mother is at home trying to pray while her small child is playing on the floor near her feet.The child's constant movements, its requests to be helped now with this toy, now with another, are a continual distraction to her.At the level of ego consciousness, the child is an obstacle to her attempts to recollect herself in prayer.
But then, by God's grace, she looks at the child in solitude, she sees the child through the eyes of the love that impels her to pray. Is it that her awareness of the child incarnates the divine awareness in which God eternally beholds the child in the depths of his unfathomable love? Is it that in this moment she is given to realize that this child incarnates all that Christ is? She cannot say. But for a moment, she gazes at her child, and this simple gaze of love becomes her prayer. It is in eternity that she repents of her blindness in reaching out to touch the child's face. It is with humility that she acknowledges her foolishness in seeing only an obstacle to God, in this child so fraught with the divine. For in this vowed moment the beauty of the child's presence touches her, wounds her, silences her with the beauty of God's presence. And in this bonding with her child in the love of God, prayer spontaneously stirs within her.
There was nothing in the Virgin's soul
that belonged to the Virgin --
no word, no thought, no image, not intent.
She was a pure, transparent pool reflecting
God, only God.
She held Love's burnished day; she held Love's night
of planet-glow on shade inscrutable.
God was her sky and she who mirrored God
became Love's firmament.
When I so much as turn my thoughts toward her
my spirit is enisled in her repose.
And when I gaze into her selfless depths
an anguish in me grows
to hold such blueness and to hold such fire.
I pray to hollow out my earth and be
filled with these waters of transparency.
I think that one could die of this desire,
seeing oneself dry earth or stubborn sod.
Oh, to become a pure pool like the Virgin,
water that lost the semblances of water
and was a sky like God.
Where am I running to, Lord? Why am I in such a hurry when what I really want is to slow down to your timing and to enjoy the present moment you have given me? Too often, when you give me something to savor I am mentally looking ahead to what might happen next. Slow me down, Beloved: my body, my mind, my reactions, my emotions. Get me off this racetrack. Teach me how to go down deep into the moment of now to enjoy your goodness in peace, with you.