Only in silence and solitude, in the quiet of worship, the reverent peace of prayer, the adoration in which the entire ego-self silences and abases itself in the presence of the Invisible God to receive His one Word of Love; only in these “activities” which are “non-actions” does the spirit truly wake from the dream of multifarious, confused, and agitated existence.
Merton, Thomas. Love & Living. Naomi Burton Stone and Br. Patrick Heart, Editors. Harcourt, 1979. p. 20-21
I wish I could express somehow how these words awaken my heart’s longing. They come like some rumour from a distant shore, like the scent of green places across a salt and barren sea at the end of a long voyage.
These are not words of escape, though. Peace yes, but no escape, no final rest until “creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8.21) Until then, our silence and our solitude are the risk of radical openness, the love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13.7)
Prayer cannot finally rest in itself as long as there are tears shed, blood spilt, among even the least in God’s creation—for “we know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8.22-23)
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner…