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.
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!"
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.
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!
"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."
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.