By the Sea - William Wordsworth
It is a beauteous evening, calm and free;
The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven is on the sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder - everlastingly....
This is a piece of Wordsworth's poem that first grabbed me in my college days. Doesn't it make you want to, in the words from a recent Paul Simon song, "sit down, shut up, think about God"?
Oh the power and the beauty and the sometimes awkwardness of SILENCE! Before Easter, in the next two weeks, can we find some time to be still in it? To wallow in silence for a good 30 minutes, or 20? There are deep mysteries within and without every heart. Can we drink from that chalice given to us by the Father in a wordless act of prayer and adoration?
Silence is GOLDEN. Catherine Doherty once said "Silence can be the greatest expression of love. Such silence is deep, unfathomable, and endless. It already partakes of eternity. Such silence touches the face of God..." Listen to the poets, the mystics, the saints. No need for fear here, because the Loving Father is closer to us than we know. Just walk out into silence and see what happens. Peer into the quiet pool of your heart when the water is still and see what you see.
Perhaps it will take some time before the last ripples of distraction dissipate, but let's be patient (that's why a good session of silence takes a solid 20 minutes or more). Maybe walking, sitting, driving... and remember, it's not a "library" silence, not a vacuum, or a pall laying over everything and suffocating the heart. It's a pregnant stillness. It's the rhythm of breathing. It's the ancient movement of exitus-reditus, the sending out and the return that is the very life-breath of the created world.
What will we discover in this place of silence?
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