Old traditions used to say that wisdom consists in the knowledge of the Word. Give us this wisdom to be able to listen, to accept, to receive, to practice the hospitality of the words, paying attention, reacting consequently, being struck, touched, or caressed by the words that come to us. And let us also learn, in turn, to speak the right words, to affirm people who speak in a life-giving way, to recreate ourselves with our own words, because each of them sprouts from the same dynamism from which the plants grow, life unfolds, the universe comes into being. The word is word when it has a speaker, when it speaks about something; the word is word when it speaks with something. Give us, O Creator of Life, this depth, this awareness, and this tremendous joy to discover in ourselves that creative power that we can speak, emit, and receive living words, words of eternal life, words that come of the peace, of the silence, of the transparency of everything. And then we may be able, more and more, to understand the language of many other speaking beings that may not articulate as we do.
Love: a basket of bread from which to eat for years to come; good loaves, fragrant and warm, miraculously multiplied: the basked never empty, the bread never stale.
At first, even one minute spent in unaccustomed prayer will seem as endless as an empty silence or a blank stillness; but these periods of quiet can be lengthened profitably, and these times of silent stillness can become alive, eventually becoming the most rewarding experiences of the day, as one discovers how much God has to say to those who will listen. "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." A person who does not understand another's silences will not understand their words either.
Many of us would say that God knows all and sees all. Yet few of us act consistently with this apparent belief. It does not take particularly long, nor is it difficult to acquire the habit of stilling the mind and recognizing that the Presence of God is ever present to us. The initial effort requires a great spiritual struggle, but soon this habit of mind can be cultivated, developed. Then God takes over. It is as if God has seen that we are sincere in our efforts to live continually in the divine presence, and so when we have the human tendency to lapse, God assists us. But God does not initiate the attitude in us. We are allowed our freedom here, as in all other things. But when we choose the spiritual path of centering in the silence and of trying to be aware of God's divine presence in us at all times, ceaselessly, then we will receive the assistance that we need. We can imagine the tremendous, the significant effect such an ongoing experience will have on our lives. Working toward this end can lead to "ordinary" life lived on a heroic and life-giving level.
Wisdom and compassion must walk together. Having wisdom without compassion is like walking with one foot. You will fall down. If you have both wisdom and compassion, you can walk very well, step by step.
On this bright still silent November day, we walk through bare thickets toward the lake like a silver mirror; so calm, so glassy, it holds on its wide surface all the patterns of light and air above. Its silence silences us. Its stillness stops us in our tracks. As I bend to touch a stone, I hear a voice say, "Love the earth". I cock my ear and hear the echo, faint yet unmistakable as ocean sounding in a shell. When I try to summon it once more, only my words come. A great and terrible tenderness breaks over me. Each pebble, each shell, is filled with beauty; each, in this moment, articulate, a word spoken, and I imagine beyond the grasp of hearing the great murmuring of creation beneath my feet. I feel these patient stones lie like an eternal sacrifice, offering me the ground of their existence on which to grind and crunch the pathways of my life ... I haven't begun to love the earth. Does it take the awareness of our death to wake us up to life?
You can visualize God's light each day and send it to someone who needs help. Your divine nature can reach out and touch the divine nature of another. Within you is the light of the world, it is to be shared with the world. One way of prayer is to visualize a golden light within you and spread it out, first to those about you and then gradually to the world. Keep on visualizing God's golden light surrounding the earth. If you have a problem, take the matter to God in Silence, visualize it in God's hand. Then leave it, knowing it is in the best possible hands, and turn your attention to other things. Carry with you a constant prayer of gratitude. This will add your love and peace to the world.
Give me work to do;
Give me health;
Give me joy in simple things.
Give me an eye for beauty,
A tongue for truth,
A heart that love,
A mind that reasons,
A sympathy that understands;
Give me neither malice nor envy,
But a true kindness
And a noble common sense.
At the close of each day
Give me a book,
And a friend with whom
I can be silent.