silence

On a dark afternoon

On a dark afternoon -- I was ten or eleven -- I was walking on a country road, on my left a patch of curly kale, on my right some yellowed Brussel sprouts. I felt a snowflake on my cheek, and from far away in the charcoal-gray sky I saw the approach of a snowstorm. I stood still. Some flakes were now falling around my feet. A few melted as they hit the ground. Others stayed intact. Then I heard the falling of the snow, with the softest hissing sound.

I stood transfixed, listening ... and knew what can never be expressed: that the natural is supernatural, and that I am the eye that hears and the ear that sees, that what is outside happens in me, that outside and inside are unseparated. It is the inexpressible, and the inexpressible is the only thing that it is worthwhile expressing.

~ from THE ZEN OF SEEING by Frederick Franck

November 1988 (Vol. I, No. 10)

Greetings to all Friends of Silence in this month where we celebrate all the Saints and all the Souls. November is also the time to remember that we are all called to live with grateful hearts. And our Silence is often where the fullness of our thanksgiving is most keenly experienced.

Ineffable journey

This poem-prayer comes from Philip J. Bennett of Fostoria, Ohio. An excerpt from his letter gives some sense of his journey, which he generously shares with us: "The past six years have been my time of silence -- a time for prayer, a time for thought, a time to listen to God and man. As I listen to God, I receive hope out of inescapable despair; from man I hear mostly a college of confusion, ignorance, sin, arrogance, and ultimate despair, which drives me once again into the Silence to God for assurance and hope ... You are, therefore, an ember in a smoldering fire to me. You may be enough to rekindle a flame ..."

~ from "Meditations of the Heart" by Howard Thurman
Meditations of the Heart
By Howard Thurman

To be born again

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
Thomas Merton My Brother
By M.Basil Pennington

God embraces our nothingness

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
The World of Silence
By Max Picard

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,

~ by Nan Merrill inspired by Psalm 62

Martha's prayer

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

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.

Remain in me

"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

The risen Jesus penetrates the entire cosmos

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
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