Besides spending quite a bit of time studying Hebrew today, the other focus (reminder) has been SILENCE.
During my morning walk today at the Greenway Farm, the fog was thick and made for a wonderful cocoon in which to walk. There were areas so thick that you couldn't see the objects, a visual silence.
In my walk this morning I was able to soak in the silence and solitude in the protection of the fog. Though physically foggy, I was able to to spend needed time listening to God so that my heart, mind, and soul could clear out some.
I was refreshed and ready to study after my walk.
During one of my study breaks this morning I opened up A Guide To Prayer For All God's People to week 52 "When God Calls" and read a quote from Elton Trueblood that came from his book The New Man for Our Time. He spoke about the Iona community and their example of starting each day by listening to God for guidance. But what grabbed my attention today wasn't that, but rather his second paragraph. Trueblood writes about silence: "Powerful and productive as individual silence may be, group silence may be even more productive. Many are able to report that a genuine entering into a group silence, when it is dynamic and not merely sleepy, can bring, in the briefest conceivable time, an entire flood of ideas not previously recognized." (p. 315 in A Guide To Prayer For All God's People)
Silence in solitude is wonderful. I concur.
Yet, I have also experienced group silence and find it to be powerful. I have experienced group silence in groups of centering prayer. There is something very special to that. I have experienced group silence in active silence once during my journey in the 2 year Academy. That was an extremely powerful and meaningful experience. There was healing in that experience. I have experienced group silence on 1/2 day retreats and during silent days on retreats or silent times.
There is something about being together, united through a common bond, that gives life to the silence.
Beyond the simple experience of it, group silence can be extremely beneficial when seeking discernment on issues or situations. But that aspect of silence for group discernment is a whole other topic, one very well worth time and attention.
Do you take time in groups for silence? Whether it is silence during prayer, or silence to focus and settle in, silence to reflect on a word or message spoken or sung..... if you haven't tried it, try it. Allowing the time and space for silence in groups for us to listen to God is powerful.
Meanwhile, if you've not had your individual time of silence today, I encourage you take some time for silence.
I learned of a new resource today, Friends of Silence. It is a contemplative community started by Nan Merrill in 1987 in Detroit. On their website they mentioned T.S. Eliot's "Ash Wednesday" poem and the importance of there being enough silence for the word to be heard.
Intrigued, I looked for the poem. I learned that this was considered T.S. Eliot's "conversion" poem, published in 1930.
It has 6 stanzas. Though long, it is definitely worth a read (or two). It makes a good lectio divina exercise.
Here is a link to the written poem: "Ash Wednesday".
If you prefer to listen to it, here is a YouTube video:
Blessings on your journey,