your eyes open!...
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: http://www.oneyearbibleonline.com/october.asp?version=63&startmmdd=0101
October 24, 2014
(Psa 46:10) Be still and see that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth.
CWR BLOG: Finding Peace in the Midst of Chaos
FSO: Christian Perfection and Human Perfectionism - A meditation with thoughts of Mother Julia Verhaeghe
FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA RON ROLHEISER, OMI: The Language of Silence
“Nothing resembles the language of God so much as does silence.”
Meister Eckhard wrote those words. What do they mean? Among other things, they speak of a deep mystery.
What language will we speak in heaven? We don’t know, but we have some
inkling of it in the deep experiences of intimacy we have on earth. In
our deepest experiences of intimacy and communion, we come together
beyond words, in a silence that isn’t empty but is too full for words.
In heaven, I suspect, just as in our deepest experiences of intimacy
here, there won’t be a need for words. We will know and be known in a
language beyond ordinary words, in the language of intimacy and the
language of God.
We already experience this somewhat. Sometimes, for instance, we
understand someone or feel understood by someone intuitively, beyond
words, beyond anything we’ve ever spoken to each other, and often this
understanding is deeper than the understanding we come to through
The same is true for intimacy within community. I remember doing a
30-day Ignatian retreat some years ago. About sixty of us were on the
retreat and we arrived there as total strangers. The thirty days were
spent in silence, except for celebrating Eucharist together each day in
the chapel. We ate our meals in silence, never recreated with each
other, and never, except for two very brief occasions early on in the
retreat, had any conversations with each other at all. Yet, when the
retreat ended we had the feeling that we knew each other more deeply
than we would have had we socialized and talked during those days. The
silence was a powerful language, stronger than words, and it brought us
into community in a way that words often cannot.
I’ve experienced this too inside of religious community. I am a member
of a missionary order, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and one of the
things our founder, St. Eugene de Mazenod, mandated for us was that,
each day, we should sit together as a community in chapel for a long
period of silence. My experience has been that whenever we do this,
something akin to a “Quaker silence”, the silent time spent together
does more to bind us into community than do any number of community
meetings. Silence is a special language.
But that doesn’t put silence in opposition to words. Silence and words
need each other. Words take on greater power when they issue forth from
silence, just as they begin to lose their force when they are constant
and never-ending. Conversely silence is more powerful after we have
already come to know each other through words. There are things that we
can only know through silence, just as there are things we can only
know through conversations inside of a community.
That is why solitude is such paradox: Solitude, as we know, is not
defined as being alone, but as being at peace, as being restful rather
than restless. And we all know the strange anomalies that can happen
here: Sometimes we are at a celebration with others, but we are too
restless to enjoy the occasion or even to be present to it. Socializing
with others paradoxically serves to heighten our restlessness and
disquiet. Conversely, sometimes we are alone, away from others, but are
restful, comfortable, and at peace inside of our own lives. Being alone
paradoxically works to still our disquiet and silence is what brings us
And so it is important that we try to learn the language of silence,
just as we also try to learn the words that can help us know each
other. There is a huge silence undergirding us and inside of us that is
trying to draw us into itself. To enter that silence is to enter the
reality of God and the reality of our real communion with each other.
For this reason, all great religious traditions and all great spiritual
writers emphasize the need for silence at times in our lives.
Sadly, we are too often afraid of silence, afraid of being alone,
afraid of what we might meet there. Too often silence speaks to us of
loneliness, of missing out on life, of being disconnected, of a being a
tomb of non-life. And so we cling to each other and look for
conversations, amusements, and distractions that can fill in the silent
spaces in our lives. Ultimately this running away from silence is
founded unconsciously on the fear that, deep down, something is
missing, both inside of the world and inside ourselves and we are best
to cling to whatever can protect us from that painful truth.
But that fear is unfounded. As Thomas Merton put it, there is a hidden
wholeness at the heart of things and that hidden wholeness can only be
discovered if we get to the deepest level of things. And the language
we need to get there is the language of silence – the language of God
and the language of intimacy.
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion
90. A hermit said, 'Do not give to or receive anything from worldly
people. Take no notice of women. Do not remain long in the company of a
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