January 1992 (Vol. V, No. 1)

BLESSINGS, dear friends, as we begin the fifth year of this monthly offering. Friends of Silence started as an inner-city contemplative community of individuals committed to pray in the Silence. Linked to a growing number of groups and individuals around the globe, we open our hearts to radiate love as one response to the violence, injustice and confusion in the world today. The outward, visible results of our silence are often difficult to discern or define. Yet, by faith, we continue to meet together in the solitude of our homes to pray in the Silence -- and, to experience the inward fruits of the Spirit at work in us ... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, gratitude ... May your own Silence of the inner being offer blessing, harmony and balance to Love's Creation in this new year!


Contemplation consists essentially in the affective knowledge that is the fruit of the gift of wisdom. Contemplation attains God in a different way from faith, which is a more objective type of knowledge. Affective knowledge is rooted in love and blossoms into love. Love takes the place of the concept; love is its light. In this act of affective knowledge, we touch God, so to speak, and are conformed to God.

The act of love plunges us into God, who is given in silence. Anything else would run the risk of detracting from the gift. This act of love or affective knowledge frees us from ourselves. And, in this love, God is revealed in a silence that strips us and makes us experience that "blessed are the poor". Silence preserves us from illusion and gives us a security.

~ from THE CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE by Thomas Philippe

To be in communion with Becoming

My whole spiritual life consists more and more in abandoning myself (actively) to the presence and action of God. To be in communion with Becoming has become the formula of my whole life.

~ P. Teilhard de Chardin

We are all contemplatives

We are -- all of us -- contemplatives in the root and ground of our being. For at the root of our being, we are one with God, one with one another, one with the world in which we live. Spending time in prayer is not a means of achieving oneness, but of recognizing that it is there. Prayer does not make us contemplatives; rather it can make us aware that we truly are contemplatives, but at a level of perception we do not often achieve. Prayer, silence and solitude are moments of grace that can awaken us to the contemplative side of our being.

~ from SILENCE ON FIRE by William H. Shannon

Insight and fresh vision

Insight and fresh vision inevitably depend on our ability to free ourselves from the prejudices and stereotypes that we have inherited, along with everyone else. Merton believed that silence and solitude could play a crucial role in this respect. For example, once, in the middle of the shopping district, he had what for want of better words we must call a mystical experience. There "at the corner of Fourth and Walnut" he was "suddenly overwhelmed with realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness." In that ordinary, everyday, unremarkable setting he suddenly saw and felt God's love for each person, and the deep solidarity that exists between each member of the human race despite their illusions of separateness.

~ from THE SPARK IN THE SOUL by Terry Tastard

Lord, am I such a pain in the neck?

Lord, am I such a pain in the neck? I see you everywhere, yet turn from your presence in the faces of my wife and children. I look for your face everywhere and then spit in your face -- in the faces of those you give me to love ... and in whom you offered your love for me again and again in a million imperfect ways every day. I turn from them if they aren't just so -- just perfect. Nevertheless, your quiet is finally growing in me ... I want to calm my restless feelings, Lord, and look deeply into the faces of my family and see you face to face as we talk during our meal.


Breakthroughs to a new state of being are often preceded by a state of turbulence

Breakthroughs to a new state of being are often preceded by a state of turbulence in which there seems to be a lack of order, as in water that boils before it reaches another state of being as steam. The world is now going through great changes. It is possible that life has no meaning or purpose. Yet there is also another viewpoint: that through our increased awareness and closeness we are coming into another state of being. Such awareness can move us to be more fully human than ever before in history, because it is ultimately awareness, not denial, that creates greater humanness. Teilhard sees the purpose of God as moving us toward the next stage of evolution, moving us toward a new, deeper worldwide interconnection of human beings.

~ from THE SERENITY PRAYER BOOK by William V. Pietsch

O Silent Meeting

O Silent Meeting, starting with a sigh
Of helpless awaiting for God's Presence there,
Each one alone, together sit, and I
Of my own breathing in and out aware.
The breath of God doth move within my heart
As surely in, and out, as that of me.
The Seed there needs to breathe if it's to start
To grow, to act within my life, to be
As breathing can't in life be hurried much,
So, too, the Seed will take its breathing space.
And, giving over will, desire, and such
I wait, expectant, bound to time and place.
Our mingled breathings fertilize the Seed,
And help us grow from Inward Light to deed.

~ Isaac Penington

July-August 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 7)

GREETINGS! The summertimes of our lives are times to rest and appreciate who we are, to relax and enjoy, to celebrate the extravagance and exuberance of creation, to remember to pause, to let the joy and wonder of becoming like a child again well up within us. Summer re-creation offers times to be free to be nothing, to be present in grateful receptivity, wordless awe, silent simplicity ... times to dip into the well of contemplation.

At the still point

At the still point of the turning world, there the dance is.
~ T.S. Eliot
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