In the morning
When I began to wake
It happened again —
That You, Beloved
Had stood over me all night
That as soon as I began to stir
You put Your lips on my forehead
And lit a holy lamp
Inside my heart.
— Hafiz from I Heard God Laughing: Poems of Hope and Joy
Contemplatives and ascetics of every age and every religion have always sought God in the silence and solitude of deserts, forests and mountains. Jesus himself lived for forty days in complete solitude, spending long hours in intimate converse with the Father in the silence of the night.
Continue reading “In Silence …”
Lord, it is night – the night is for stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has not been done, has not been done.
Let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world,
and of our lives rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
all who are dear to us, and all who have no peace.
the night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day –
new joys, new possibilities.
In your name, we pray.
Lord, make us to walk in your way: Where there is love and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance; where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor annoyance; where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice; where there is peace and contemplation, there is neither care nor restlessness; where there is the fear of God to guard the dwelling, there no enemy can enter; where there is mercy and prudence, there is neither excess nor harshness; this we know through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Prayer of Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226)
Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am – a pilgrim in this world, a Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those in authority over me or those under my authority, my friends and my enemies. Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor. Help me to forget myself and reach out towards others.
— Prayer attributed to Clement XI of Rome
O merciful God, fill our hearts, we pray, with the graces of your Holy Spirit; with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. Teach us to love those who hate us; to pray for those who despitefully use us; that we may be the children of your love, our Father, who makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. In adversity grant us grace to be patient; in prosperity keep us humble; may we guard the door of our lips; may we lightly esteem the pleasures of this world, and thirst after heavenly things; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
— Anselm of Canterbury, 1033-1109
An inspiring story aired on BBC World Service – Outlook this week. It was about a film that was made about the Carmelite Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity – a silent order of religious sisters that are located in the busy Notting Hill area of London. The film’s title is No Greater Love by Michael Whyte.
I was particularly struck by our great need for stillness and how this hunger is so often unrecognized or simply ignored. And yet love has a way of transcending through all the barriers – and leads us back into stillness – where there is joy, peace – and above all abundance through love. It is stillness that we seek with weary hearts – the antidote to the sighing and longing of our hearts – the sanctuary and freedom from all the distractions and brokeness that torment and bring chaos into our busy lives. It is the very heart of love that brings the hope with which we journey – the breath that sustains us – and the light that destroys all darkness. Because it is in stillness that love shows us the way …