How gracious, how benign, is Solitude

When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign, is Solitude...
There is really nothing you must be.
And there is nothing you must do.
There is really nothing you must have.
And there is nothing you must know.
There is really nothing you must become.
However. It helps to understand that the fire burns,
and when it rains, the earth gets wet...

~ from IT WAS ON FIRE WHEN I LAY DOWN ON IT by Robert Fulghum

All of us are solitaries

All of us are solitaries: we are born alone through the birth canal into the world and time, and we die alone. No one can enter our interior experience, or its continuum with the outer world we call community. Solitude is the human condition, the universal vocation to be human. It is the willingness, with Love indwelling, to go to the heart of pain to find new life and share it with the world even though you may be separated from it physically. It is from this commitment to be focused through the narrow gate of solitude that self-emptying love is outpoured, and the heart of the community, the heart of its pain, is transformed into the heart of joy.

~ from SEASONS OF DEATH AND LIFE by Maggie Ross

The Edge of Solitude

Alone, in the cave that he loved so well near the summit of Mt. Subasio, Francis met God again ... Silence and solitude had become dear and sweet to Francis. As he reflected on that, he remembered a time when it was not so. In his youth, he dreaded and took refuge in the gaiety and laughter and frolicking of his friends. Always, at the edge of his consciousness, however, was the somber specter called Aloneness.

That's the way Aloneness appeared to Francis then -- a specter, a mortal enemy bearing a sickle in its hand. It was only when he finally met that specter head on, after his conversion experience, that he found the IT became HER; and then he made friends with her. She became, in fact, his best friend and constant companion.

~ from TOUCH OF GOD by Fr. Kieran Kay

Room for much more solitude

Most people agree that there is room for much more solitude than our present way of life affords. Whether the solitude is friendly or frightening, we are likely to feel in it God's presence, or absence. It is of great value to feel either ... Solitude reminds us that human interaction is rich and fathomless. Emerging from solitude, either shaken or serene, I nearly always cherish my first contacts with people, and see more clearly that what passes between us can bear meaning's heaviest weight.

~ from "Meditations" by Addison Hall with thanks to Liz Simons

The root of friendship is prayer

The root of friendship is prayer, because the root of prayer is presence -- presence to all that is. It is not easy to be present with oneself. We spend most of our time in a flight from prayer, which is a flight from ourselves. We can take only so much of ourselves; but it is only in a radical presence to ourselves, in a coming to say "I am", that we can be present to the One who is all that we are. Our presence to Christ becomes a compelling force to be present to others. We can know that we are living in Christ, that Christ is living in us because we are invited to share in Christ's spirit. Open your hearts to one another as Christ's heart is opened to you, and God will be glorified. Each one of us has been entrusted with a gift which is intended for one another.

~ from THE FATHER IS VERY FOND OF ME by Fr. Edward J. Farrell

I dedicate this winter day to You

I dedicate this winter day to You, as I now enter into the chapel of my heart to sit in stillness with You. May I leave outside the circle of silence all my worries and concerns for this day, as I enter into prayer. 'O Weaver of oneness and Reader of hearts, I know you need no spoken words to tell you of my affection for you. But may these words of prayer be sacraments of my love.'"


For those who listen in the stillness of their hearts

For those who listen in the stillness of their hearts, there comes a time to put what is heard into action and to stand up against that which is unjust, to live that which is beauty and justice...

~ Catherine Teresa Browning in "Creation" magazine

January 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 1)

ALL GOOD WISHES to friends of Silence around the world! ... with the hope of a peace-filled, joy-filled and grace-filled new year. After the busyness of the holiday season, 'til good to take time for inner reflection. Wordsworth describes it well in "The Prelude":

Envision peace

Envision peace, be peace, radiate peace

~ Anonymous

Being made inwardly ready to be present where we are.

There is One who, on that road out of Jerusalem to the little town of Emmaus, taught his companions of the road and of the table what it was to be present. "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked with us by the way?" That same quickening presence still walks by our side. That same presence kindles our meetings and reveals to us our failure to be truly present with our families, our friends, our sisters and brothers in the world. It is there in his presence when we are again given the gift of tears, that we are once more joined to all the living, the hope is restored in us, and that we are rebaptized in to the sacredness of the gift of life and of the gift of being set down here among other humans who, in the depth of their being, long to be truly present to each other. Not only is there "no time but this present", but there is no task God has called us to that is more exciting and challenging than being made inwardly ready to be present where we are.

~ from TOGETHER IN SOLITUDE by Douglas Steere
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