October 1988 (Vol. I, No. 9)

Greetings to all friends of Silence, to each one of you who is a fragment of the word of God. Every one of us is a thirst for meaning, for ultimate value, for truth. Each one of us is a readiness to love, to follow, to give ourself to that which fills and completes the movement of our being.

The Word not only reveals God, it unveils us. The Word is consecratory -- continuing to change us more and more into God's image so that we can hear and understand how God is speaking in us. For the Word that God speaks is deposited deeply within. The womb of the mind and heart must be readied, waiting and responsive. The Word does not simply imprint itself. It embeds itself, releasing seeds that fall on the earth of our hearts. And these Word-seeds will mature in their own time, so that we may become the Word.

The Word of God always renders God present to us. When we have the desire and openness to hear, in the Silence we can ask, "What is the Word of God that is being uttered in me? What is the Word of God inviting me to become?" And as we experience God's word deep within us, we are compelled to share it with others, to act out of God's presence within us. Happy are those who hear the Word and make it their own!

~ from PRAYER IS A HUNGER by Edward J. Farrell
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Only the one who can bear silence will hear the voice of God.

~ Anonymous
Anonymous word


Only the one who can bear silence will hear the voice of God.

~ Anonymous
Anonymous word

The following excerpt is from the deeply moving story of Oliver written by his brother, Christopher de Vinck, who discovered through Oliver's life THE POWER OF POWERLESSNESS:

For thirty-three years Oliver lived in an upstairs bedroom, a child of light, a true innocent who never caused any trouble, never broke a commandment, never wronged another human being. Mother was confined to the house, alone and without the support of relatives or friends ... "This enforced seclusion was difficult for me; I had a restless, seeking spirit. Through a solitude where I could 'prepare the way of the Lord.' Sorrow opened my heart, and I 'died.' I underwent this 'death' unaware that it was a trial by fire from which I would rise renewed -- more powerfully, more consciously alive ... If there is a silence that is opaque and a solitude that is a prison, there is also a silence that is luminous and a solitude that is blessed terrain where the seeds of prayer can grow."

~ from THE POWER OF POWERLESSNESS by Christopher de Vinck
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That is not to suggest that we can live harmlessly, or strictly at our own expense; we depend upon other creatures and survive by their deaths. To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.

~ from "Nature's Way" by Wendell Berry
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One area where we probably often have the chance to be aware of our duplicity is in our speech. We talk so much. How much of what we say do we mean? How much of what we mean do we say? How much does what we say really mean? Suppose one undertook the discipline, well known in monastic tradition, of speaking only what one knew was GIVEN to one to speak? How quiet our homes, our dining rooms, even our churches and places of worship would be. Our society plays very loose with words, with talk; but there is little silence, and silence is where meaning comes from.

~ from REFLECTIONS ON SIMPLICITY by Elaine M. Prevallet
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We received a beautiful letter from Jean Vanier sharing his reflections on retreat as he celebrated his sixtieth birthday and the 25th anniversary of the L'Arche communities. He writes in part:

Sixty years is a turning point in life, and I am trying to prepare for it. I know that after sixty we begin to lose strength. I ask Jesus to help me grow old as He wants. If to disappear, how to trust others more, how to live with less power, but more from the grace of Jesus and the poor and to be more centered in prayer. In my prayer here I have a deeper desire to do the will of God, to be a friend and a servant of Jesus, and to let Jesus penetrate more and more into my whole being. Often my prayer has been just that: inviting Jesus to come with Light and Love into all the darkest, most hidden corners of my being.

~ Jean Vanier
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Father, to you I raise my whole being,
-- a vessel emptied of self. Accept, Lord,
this my emptiness, and so fill me with
Yourself -- Your light, Your Love, Your
Life -- that these Your precious Gifts
may radiate through me and over-
flow the chalice of my heart into
the hearts of all whom I
come in contact this day,
revealing unto them
the beauty of
Your Joy
and Wholeness
Of Your Peace
which nothing can destroy.

~ "The Prayer of the Chalice"
The Prayer Of The Chalice word

September 1988 (Vol. I, No. 8)

Autumn greetings! Harvest time -- the season for gathering the fruits of the earth ... a time when the words of blessing during Mass come so alive they seem to expand and encompass all the world. Blessed are you Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have the wheat of the field ... the fruit of the vine. You have made us co-creators with you giving us opportunities to grow in love, to bring peace and justice to the world, to feed the hungry and to heal the planet. We are graced with forgiveness ... we are blessed with hearts that unite us to one another. Blessed are you Creator God, you who give each one of us the light to be ourselves! May we be led deeper into the Silence, that we might come into full harmony, to full union with the Heart of our hearts.


may we consistently choose the single goal of peace
rather than multiple goals that lead to conflict;

may we continue to practice forgiveness;

may we recognize that we are united as one Self and illuminate the world with the light of Love that shines through us;

may we awaken to the knowledge that the essence of
our being is Love, and, as such, we are the light
of the world.

~ from LOVE IS LETTING GO OF FEAR by Gerald Jampolsky
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Silence is the language of the spirit.
~ John Main
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CONTEMPLATION ... from the Latin 'com' -together and 'templum' - temple. We contemplate that we might recognize ever more deeply who and Whose we are. "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? ... God's temple is holy and that temple are."

~ I Corinthians 3:16-17
I Corinthians 3:16-17 contemplation

"Gather yourself up. Then -- with attention no longer frittered amongst the petty accidents and interests of your personal life, but poised, tense, ready for the work you shall demand of it -- stretch out by a distinct act of loving will towards one of the myriad manifestations of life that surrounds you: and which, in an ordinary way, you hardly notice unless you happen to need them. Pour yourself out towards it, do not draw its image towards you. Deliberate -- more, impassioned -- attentiveness, an attentiveness which soon transcends all consciousness of yourself, as separate from and attending to the thing seen. As to the object of contemplation, it matters little. From Alp to insect, anything will do, provided that your attitude be right: for all things in this world towards which you are stretching out are linked together, and one truly apprehended will be the gateway to rest."

~ from PRACTICAL MYSTICISM by Evelyn Underhill
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A note from Jerusalem Community in Paris:

Recently, Sr. Francesca-Marie wrote that a foundation of their community seems to be in gestation for the United States. She and several others spent time this summer gathering information and meeting with friends in the states for prayer and discernment. She asks us to pray in the Silence that the Lord of the harvest will send forth enough living American stones to build a solid foundation.

"Water from the moon" -- a Javanese proverb for what one cannot have. Why are we so full of these strange movements for what is not here? Longings get touched, yet have no place to expand into fullness. And what is longing anyway? Water. From the moon. I am not at home -- never have been. Not that I don't know at some levels my way around. I do. But in the end, I am alone. Still waiting. Still riding the swing of my childhood years with my feet stretching up to the clouds ... The person of a thousand dreams rarely realizes one. And worse, never gets broken by one -- and humanized ... So, what claims me? Perhaps only that I set my face toward the stars -- less compellingly than I could hope ... and yet, more tenaciously that I would wish. I face. Perhaps that is enough.

~ Jim Perkinson
Jim Perkinson contemplation

INTERIORITY ... The disciple asked for a word of wisdom. Said the Master, "Go sit within your cell and your cell will teach you wisdom." "But I have no cell. I am no monk." "Of course you have a cell. Look within."

~ from ONE MINUTE WISDOM by Anthony de Mello
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Let all the earth keep silence

May we each answer the call to let ourselves be defined by God at any given moment, let ourselves be attuned to our essential course of action, without loosing or abandoning any one of our own unique qualities and gifts.May we, like Mary, discover the secret of true silence.

"Let all the earth keep silence before God!"

July-August 1988 (Vol. I, No. 7)

Blessings to all Friends of Silence in these last two months of the Marian Year! Mary, beautiful model of holy receptivity, knew the secret of true silence ... she treasured all her memories faithfully and pondered them in her heart. She knew that to live in faith means to live in silence. Her very being is in unity with the hiddeness of a great Silence. Yet to know this Silence, she must depend on her own inner silence ... her own mystery. Mary shows us that to reverence that Silence is to be ever expectant to the divine Word welling up from within us. Blessed are those who await in faith for the Word to be dropped into the silence of their own well.

IN A CITY NOT FORSAKEN, the Jerusalem Community Rule of Life invites all to enter into the mystery of silence:

Silence is the well-spring of your prayer at the heart of the city and the daily peace of your soul ... In the crucible of silence you will learn holiness, since silence is the door to humility, contemplation and mercy. By leading you to self-forgetting, silence will allow you to discover God and in the heart of God, you will rediscover the world by God's light. So live outward silence and enjoy it inwardly and you will taste the perfect delight of those who keep the commandments in their hearts and dwell silently in God's love.

In A City Not Forsaken mystery

May we each answer the call to let ourselves be defined by God at any given moment, let ourselves be attuned to our essential course of action, without loosing or abandoning any one of our own unique qualities and gifts.May we, like Mary, discover the secret of true silence.

"Let all the earth keep silence before God!"

~ Nan Merrill
Nan Merrill mystery

Faith and Sharing celebrated their twentieth year with a retreat in Montreal in July. Jean Vanier shared out of his experience in the Faith and Light and the L'Arche Communities around the world the healing power of the poor. "The power of the powerless is to touch people in their hearts ... We will be healed by the weak ... To love someone is to reveal they are important, to reveal their beauty, to spend time with them."

"Love for a weaker person must come from a heart that is fulfilled. That is why one needs family or community with real love linking people together. But even more than that, one needs a heart that is formed and filled by the love of God; a heart that has known the tenderness of God's love. Only then can he or she love fully, freely, with tenderness, with a love that gives life and freedom ... Jesus is silent, hidden in the Eucharist. We must be very attentive if we are to hear the call: "Come and follow me." The poor are also often very silent, hidden away from the crowds and from society, in institutions and asylums. We must be very attentive if we are to hear their call "Come and live with me." Jesus touches our heart if we take the time to listen, calling us to a commitment and to a relationship of tenderness and fidelity.

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This we know:
The earth does not belong to us
We belong to the earth.

All things are connected
Like the blood which unites one family

We do not weave the web of life
We are merely a strand in it.

And whatever we do to the web
We do to ourselves!

~ Chief Seattle (1854) with thanks to Maria Henry
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"Silence is sound from the future, an intimation of eternity. Eternity has begun for me. I carry eternity within me; it is slowly, silently growing out of me. More is becoming eternalized, forevered. 'Whoever really possesses the Word of Jesus can sense also his silence' (Ignatius of Antioch). Silence is our way of going into the desert, into eternity ... We each carry our own found anywhere else. Another can enable us to discover the hidden silence within ourselves. It is a special gift to receive the depth silence of another. Silence is a presence, a receptivity, a readiness, a waiting, a listening."

~ from CELTIC MEDITATIONS by Edward J. Farrell
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Lead us, O God, into paths from which our spirits shrink because the demand is so great. Give to us the quiet confidence, without trumpet blast, without arrogance and pride, declamation, flag waving ... but just a simple, simple trust. Let us be true to that which You have entrusted into our keeping, the integrity of our own souls. For us, O God, this is enough. Amen.

~ from TEMPTATIONS OF JESUS by Howard Thurmond with thanks to Fredi Brown
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June 1988 (Vol. I, No. 6)

Summer greetings to all friends of Silence! May each one of you enjoy a time of recreation ... re-creation ... this season both outwardly and inwardly. And, what season of Silence are you experiencing in your prayer life? Winter Solstice sometimes seems like a deep abyss where the Word dwells in us unspoken ... Spring Silence brings an expectancy, an active waiting, for the Word in us ... in Summer Silence, the Word wells up -- growing in us, challenging us, changing us, nurturing us into new life, into new creations ... while Autumn Silence seems the time to reap the harvest of the Word in us, to reflect on the fruits the Word has borne. It seems good to share our reflections and experiences of the Silence that we might come to know one another and grow in Silence together.

Teilhard de Chardin's knowledge of himself in the Silence is powerfully described in the DIVINE MILIEU:

We must try to penetrate our most secret self, and examine our being from all sides. Let us try, patiently, to perceive the ocean of forces to which we are subjected and in which our growth is, as it were, steeped ... And so, for the first time in my life perhaps (although I am supposed to meditate every day!), I took the lamp and, leaving the zone of everyday occupations and relationships where everything seems clear, I went down into my inmost self, to the deep abyss whence I feel dimly that my power of action emanates. But as I moved further and further away from the conventual, I became aware that I was losing contact with myself. At each step of the descent, a new person was disclosed within me of whose name I was no longer sure, and who no longer obeyed me. And when I had to stop my exploration because the path faded from beneath my steps, I found a bottomless abyss at my feet ... and, if someone saved me, it was hearing the voice of the Gospel speaking to me from the depth of the night: ego sum, noli timere ... It is I, be not afraid!

~ from DIVINE MILIEU by Teilhard de Chardin
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The experience of prayer is the experience of coming into full union with the energy that created the universe. What Christianity has to proclaim to the world is that that energy is LOVE and it is the well-spring out of which all creation flows. It is the well-spring that gives each one of us the creative power to be the person we are called to be -- a person rooted and formed in love.

John Main Moment Of Christ prayer Buy on Amazon

The person who loves never abandons contemplation. On the contrary, s/he alone thirsts for it in the right spirit ... God gives Love to those in prayer, and the more s/he loves others, the better s/he can understand. Being filled with God's love, one is capable of a new love for one another -- a joyful and self-forgetting love. Love brings contemplation itself into the mystery of change. It is no longer a neutral point from which the transformations of love are beheld; it is carried away in the flood of the love which is ever the same and ever new, forever changing.

~ Hans Urs Von Balthasar
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Good is holy silence and giving of holiday to every sense.

~ Egyptian 350 B.C.
Unknown prayer

Silence is the home of the word. Silence gives strength and fruitfulness to the word. We can even say that words are meant to disclose the mystery of the silence from which they come ... Words can only create communion and thus new life when they embody the silence from which they emerge ... Thus silence is the mystery of the future world. It keeps us pilgrims and prevents us from becoming entangled in the cares of this age. It guards the fire of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. It allows us to speak a word that participates in the creative and recreative power of God's own Word.

~ from THE WAY OF THE HEART by Henri Nouwen
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When one says to the great Thinker: "Here is one of your thoughts: I am thinking it now," that is a prayer -- a word to the big heart from one of its own little hearts.

~ George MacDonald
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"I have often repented of having spoken ... but never of having remained silent."

~ Arsenius
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To pray is never to get over the wonder of being born, of being alive. To pray is to live in the profound gratitude that no matter what happens, we're ahead. To pray is to be in reverence, in awe, in joy with some moment of each day. There are no perfect days, but there is a beautiful moment in each day that draws us into prayer ... consciously or unconsciously.

~ from GATHERING THE FRAGMENTS by Edward J. Farrell
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O Lord, the Author and Persuador of peace, love and goodwill, soften hearts that are hard and steely ... warm hearts frozen by fear, that we may wish well to one another, and may be true followers of the Way of Love. And give us grace even now to show forth that heavenly life, wherein fear does not abide -- but peace and love on all hands, one toward another. Amen.

~ Ludovicus Vives - 16th century
Ludovicus Vives prayer

May 1988 (Vol. I, No. 5)

Happy Pentecost season to all friends of Silence! And what gift of the Holy Spirit are you praying to receive over the next thirty weeks -- piety ... counsel ... courage ... fear of the Lord ... knowledge ... understanding ... or, wisdom? There is so much that the Spirit wants to give to us in order that we might die to our inner fears, that we might give birth to our hidden selves which have not yet risen. Our homes, our cities, our countries, our world are in such need of these gifts today. And all that is given to us is for us to use to enrich one another ... to enrich all of creation.

Just as the seed given to Mary by the Holy Spirit brought forth the spiritual birth of Love to our world, the Holy Spirit in every moment awaits our fiat, our total YES to God's word in us, so that the inner womb of our hearts may receive the seed and give birth to that same Love.

God wants the heart.

~ The Talmud
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As a witness for Peace, our role was to witness in two senses of the word: we SAW, and by our presence we offered affirmation by word or example of a solidarity based on love and faith and the Good News. The word that is much used is "accompaniment." Our contribution was less in our doing than our being-with.

~ from "Out of Nicaragua" by Ginny Senders
Ginny Senders Out Of Nicaragua stillness

Something of supreme rightness
Lies at the heart of Life...
Like a star or a single white rose
Sufficient in Itself...
Yet It reaches everywhere
Whispering Itself.

~ Pat Munk - Katonah, NY
Pat Munk stillness

In the stillness, empty spaces occur and new possibilities are searching their way to the surface of the mind. A connection is made, new relationships are formed and new patterns emerge. This process of being still and moving at the same time to something new is the way the experience of creative thinking comes about in our minds. T.S. Eliot alludes to this process in the middle of the "Four Quartets."

We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion.

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"As the river enters into the ocean, so my heart touches Thee, O God."

~ Kabir
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I believe that God is in me as the sun is in the color and fragrance of a flower -- the Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence.

~ Helen Keller
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The desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.
~ Plato
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I have a dream

  • of people recognizing the giftedness uniquely theirs,
  • of people standing tall in their gifts and using them to enrich the lives of others;
  • of people coming to a deeper union of God dwelling within them and a deeper communion with one another.
  • of peace and harmony reigning -- for power would be in docility to expressing one's gifts ...

I have a dream

  • of a people drawn together out of a shared vision, a new way of living together,
  • of each individual in their rightful place based on gifts,
  • of men and women standing side by side serving together to bring peace and justice to the city,
  • of a society based on deep trust that within each person
  • is a well of goodness, beauty and truth longing to express itself for the good of all ... and in freeing this inner well, an ocean of love that could fill the world.
~ Sr. Mary Frances - Detroit

Thou sweet Well for all who thirsteth in the desert! It is closed to the one who speaks, but it is open to all who are silent. When the one who is silent comes, lo, that one finds the Well.

~ Egyptian - 13th century B.C.
Unknown stillness

April 1988 (Vol. I, No. 4)

Greetings to friend of Silence around the world -- and, welcome to all those who have recently indicated their interest in and commitment to allowing enough silence in their lives for the Word to be heard!

"If two or more people love one another deeply, they may come to that profound level of awareness and mind-expansion in which no words are necessary because their intimacy is not built on words. And the stronger the love, the more profound will be the silence and the deeper will be the enlightenment. Furthermore, if this love goes to the core of their being, it brings a realization of something more than the people involved -- it brings a consciousness of the all; it contains an element of universality."

~ from SILENT MUSIC by William Johnston
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"The property of love is never to seek self, to keep back nothing, but to give everything to the one it loves. Blessed the soul that loves; the Lord has become its captive through love!"

~ St. John of the Cross
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A Morning Prayer: O Beloved of my heart, give me grace today to recognize the stirrings of your Spirit within my soul and to listen most attentively to all that You have to say to me. Let not the noises of the world so confuse me, that I cannot hear your Voice. Help me not to deceive myself as to the meaning of your Word; and so let me in all things surrender myself into your hands, through the grace of Christ's Love. Amen.

~ from A DIARY OF PRIVATE PRAYER by John Baillie
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The mystery IS Christ among you -- Christ in me, Christ in you, Christ between us. The root word of mystery in Greek is SILENCE, which is also related to secret. One way we come to know ourselves is by naming our reality, our experience: I am mystery ... I am sacrament ... I am silence ... I am secret ... I am treasure ... I am temple of the Holy Spirit...

"If you but knew the gift of God and who it is that speaks to you, in you ..." John 4:10 We are invited in the silence to discover the hidden mystery of Christ ... we are invited in the silence to delve so deeply into our inner beings that we become new beings!

~ from CAN YOU DRINK THIS CUP? by Fr. Edward J. Farrell
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Silence is a green, secluded garden,
Where you may walk at leisure, and
speak with the Beloved ...
Leaving the outer world of noise and hurry
To walk serenely on prayer's holy sod.

Silence is a garden sweet with fragrance,
Its grasses nurtured by faith's gentle rain,
Its every bloom a link with God,
our Creator.

Once you have wandered there,
you will return again,
And in the garden's beauty,
be made whole ...
In the Silence,
the quiet garden of the Soul.

~ author unknown, contributed by Fredi Brown, Bradenton, FL
Unknown love

"Inspiration is the feeling of beginning at the threshold where Silence and Light meet. Silence and Light. Silence is not very, very quiet. It is something that you may say is lightless, darkless. These are all invented words. Desire to be, to express. Some can say this is the ambient soul -- if you go back beyond and think of something in which Light and Silence were together, and may be still together, and separate only for the convenience of argument ...

"The way one does things is private, but what one does can belong to everybody. Your greatest worth is in the area where you can claim no ownership, and the part that you do that doesn't belong to you is the most precious. It is the kind of thing you can offer because it is a better part of you; it is a part of general commonality that belongs to everybody."

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A Psalm for Today

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from the Beloved comes my salvation.
Holding me with strength and steadfast love,
my faith shall remain firm.

How long will fears set upon me,
holding me in their grip,
like a trembling child,
a dark and lonely grave?
They keep me from living fully my true self.
They take pleasure in imprisoning my soul.
They pretend to comfort,
so long have they dwelled within me,
but truly, they are my enemies.

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
for my hope is from the Beloved.
Holding me with strength and steadfast love.
my faith shall remain firm.
In Silence rests my freedom and my guidance;
God is the Heart of my heart,
my refuge is in Silence.

Trust in God at all times, O people;
pour out your heart to the Beloved;
Silence is a refuge for you.

Once God has spoken,

March 1988 (Vol. I, No. 3)

HAPPY EASTER, friends! May we pray in the Silence, that in this glorious season of Resurrection -- of new life and new beginnings -- there may be created a new heart in our homes, our cities, our countries, our world ... that all peoples and nations will come to recognize how we complement one another, how we complete one another, how we are all One in the Beloved's heart.

The following quotation from a new biography of Thomas Merton by Fr. Basil Pennington, seems to reflect the spirit of our prayer:

When we attain true freedom, we live in the spontaneity of the Spirit. And we do not know if we are coming or going. And others don't either ... Usually, we become a problem for those who want to have everything under control. Yet, there is within every one of us, IF WE DARE TO BE FREE ENOUGH TO LISTEN, an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of our creative energies and power ... If we dare to listen, we will soon enough realize that the change we seek is actually a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, and most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves, our true selves, in the One who is Christ" ... the Beloved of our hearts.

~ from THOMAS MERTON MY BROTHER by Fr. Basil Pennington
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And, paraphrasing Max Picard in THE WORLD OF SILENCE:

"The mark of the Divine in God's good creation is preserved by the connection with the world of silence. For Silence is a primary, objective reality, which cannot be traced back to anything else ..." except Love itself. Or, as one of the saints exclaimed, "When the abyss of God's immensity encounters the abyss of our nothingness, God embraces our nothingness!" Abyss calls to abyss in the Silence. Each time we enter into the Silence, we open ourselves to the Beloved in a unique and vulnerable way ... we open the eyes and ears of our heart to the Heart of the universe.

~ from THE WORLD OF SILENCE by Max Picard
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For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from the Beloved comes my salvation.
Holding me with strength and steadfast love,
my faith shall remain firm.

How long will fears set upon me,
holding me in their grip,
like a trembling child,
a dark and lonely grave?
They keep me from living fully my true self.
They take pleasure in imprisoning my soul.
They pretend to comfort,
so long have they dwelled within me,
but truly, they are my enemies.

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
for my hope is from the Beloved.
Holding me with strength and steadfast love.
my faith shall remain firm.
In Silence rests my freedom and my guidance;
God is the Heart of my heart,
my refuge is in Silence.

Trust in God at all times, O people;
pour out your heart to the Beloved;
Silence is a refuge for you.

Once God has spoken,
twice have I heard:
Our potential capacity belongs to God;
to you, O Beloved, belongs
steadfast love.
For you render to us all that
we offer you --
fear begets fear.
love begets love.
For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from the Beloved comes my life.

~ by Nan Merrill inspired by Psalm 62
Nan Merrill silence

Martha's Prayer: God, you are in every atom of the creation. You are in my feelings, even feelings of not being consciously close to You. You cherish every one of my poor efforts to remember You. Thank you for the inestimable grace of that little tug at the heart that makes me continue to pray in times of dryness.

~ Anonymous
Anonymous silence

"Remain in Me." It is the Word of God who gives this invitation, expresses this wish. Remain in Me, not for a few moments, a few hours which must pass away, but REAMAIN ... permanently, habitually, Remain in Me, pray in Me, adore in Me, love in Me, suffer in Me, work and act in Me. Remain in Me so that you may be able to encounter anyone or anything; penetrate further still into these depths. This is truly the SOLITUDE into which God wants to allure the soul that the Beloved may speak to it.

~ from ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY, Vol. 1 by Sr. Giovanna della Croce
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February 1988 (Vol. I, No. 2)

Greetings to you, friends, as we enter into the Lenten season -- the time when in the Silence we are invited to remember our story ... to contemplate the life of Jesus -- the deepest mysteries and most profound truths, which He fulfilled on the Cross ... to commune with God as we reflect, pray, fast, repent of our own shortcomings so that we may come more fully into communion/community with all people -- and, especially with those we see as enemies.

As Friends of Silence, we are united in a common bond-of-being with men and women of every country ... of every faith, creed, color. For in the Silence we are One in God. In recognition of our Oneness, perhaps we could hold this excerpt from the prayer-poem "Way of the Cross - Way of Justice" by Leonardo Boff together in our hearts as we move toward Easter and resurrection:

The risen Jesus penetrates the entire cosmos
pervades the whole world,
And makes his presence felt in every human being.
The resurrection is a process that began with Jesus
and will go on until it embraces all creation.
Wherever an authentically human life is growing the world,
Wherever justice is triumphing over the instincts of domination,
Wherever grace is winning out over the power of sin,
in their social life together,
Wherever love is getting the better of selfish interests
and hope is resisting the lure of cynicism or despair,
There the process of resurrection is being turned into reality. 

~ "Way of the Cross - Way of Justice" by Leonardo Boff
Leonardo Boff Way Of The Cross silence Buy on Amazon

The lenten spring shines forth,
the flower of repentance!
Let us cleanse ourselves from all evil,
crying out to the Giver of Light:
"Glory to You, O Lover ...
Glory to You, O Friend of mankind!"

~ Anonymous
Anonymous silence

There is a kind of giving which is receiving, just as there is a kind of loving that feels like being loved. When the mind is concentrated in the heart and some simple words -- like "Jesus, I love you" -- begin to flow naturally with the breath, if grace is there, the mind comes into a sort of natural union with the mind of Christ. The giving and loving are being done in one's own mind instead of one doing them.

The mind of Christ must be a constant flow of love. If we can concentrate our scattered minds on loving, then our minds and His mind are doing the same thing. Eastern philosophers posit that two things which are in the same flow become the same. They cannot remain separate. This inner loving of the Lord is simply opening one's mind to let Love flow through us.

Alone, this type of inner prayer and loving are not enough. For most of us, our minds are far too scattered to remain in this prayerful state for more than a moment or two. Our inner loving and service must be balanced by outer loving and service, by being and doing for others. Inner and outer loving enhance each other. When one sits quietly to pray, the inner joy is more easily accessible if one has just come from some active time of being open to those in need. And one is energized and inspired to serve others by inner prayer and loving. Jesus was a model of inner and outer loving since he was both a contemplative and an activist. This is why an "INNER CITY CONTEMPLATIVE" is not at all a contradiction in terms, but rather, it is a way to follow the Lord very closely ... to experience Him very closely.

~ Martha Chevalier, Detroit, MI
Martha Chevalier silence

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.

Inner peace -- that was for others. Those of us who were activists, those who really cared, we were driven to act, and act and act some more. So, for me in 1967, my jumbled soul did not even know to yearn for inner peace. I only caught glimpses of the vital connection between inner peace and actions for peace, between clarity of soul and clear commitments, between loving the life of God within me and living love in God's world. Perhaps Thich Nhat Hanh in 1967 offered me that glimpse.

Over twenty year later, now his words sting and bless. "TO BE A MONK, YOU MUST LEARN TO CLOSE THE DOOR." I realize the responsibility and necessity of "closing the door." Shut out obligations and issues, shut out people you love, shut out the pain and hope of the world. It sounds so harsh and yet it MUST be done. We must all shut the door -- so we can go inside to prayer -- "to let God be God in you," as Eckhardt said.

~ Rev. Brooks Smith, No. Plainfield, NJ
Rev. Brooks Smith silence