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

~ Anonymous

The power of powerlessness

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

To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation

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

Our duplicity is in our speech

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

I ask Jesus to help me grow old as He wants

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

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.

To you I raise my whole being

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"
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