13 February 2011

Silence is Golden

"Those who love their own noise are impatient of everything else. They constantly defile the silence of the forests and the mountains and the sea. They bore through silent nature in every direction with their machines, for fear that the calm world might accuse them of their own emptiness. The urgency of their swift movement seems to ignore the tranquillity of nature by pretending to have a purpose. The loud plane seems for a moment to deny the reality of the clouds and of the sky, by its direction, its noise, and its pretended strength. The silence of the sky remains when the plane has gone. The tranquility of the clouds will remain when the plane has fallen apart. It is the silence of the world that is real. Our noise, our business, our purposes, and all our fatuous statements about our purposes, our business, and our noise: these are the illusion. God is present, and His thought is alive and awake in the fullness and depth and breadth of all the silences of the world. The Lord is watching in the almond trees [Jer 1.11, 12]. . . Whether the plane pass by tonight or tomorrow . . . whether the liner enters the harbor full of tourists or full of soldiers, the almond tree brings forth her fruit in silence.
"There are some men for whom a tree has no reality until they think of cutting it down . . . men who never look at anything until they decide to abuse it and who never even notice what they do not want to destroy. These men can hardly know the silence of love: for their love is the absorption of another person's silence into their own noise. And because they do not know the silence of love, they cannot know the silence of God . . . Who is bound, by His own law of Charity, to give life to all those whom He draws into His own silence."

--Thomas Merton in No Man is an Island

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