A timeless moment of presence

10.10.2021. An excerpt from Laurence Freeman OSB, “Letter Two” in WEB OF SILENCE (London: Darton, Longman + Todd, 1996), p. 26.
Bonnevaux August 2021

We need to move beyond the images of Jesus to the deep inner reality of his presence. “We however possess the mind of Christ,” self-manifesting in the fruits of the spirit, the existential fruits of meditation. We pass through the stages of faith along which meditation guides us, first knowing Christ as one like ourselves, then as our saviour and finally as the Word through whom all that is came to be.


The journey of faith is similar to the experience of turning a corner in a gallery, and finding oneself face to face with an original painting which, up to then, we have only known through reproductions. It is a moment of wonder, of recognition and new discovery. A timeless moment of presence

After meditation: “Bach and My Father” by Paul Zimmer in: CROSSING TO SUNLIGHT REVISITED: New and Selected Poems (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2007), p. 15. 

Bach and My Father

Six days a week my father sold shoes

To support our family through depression and war,

Nursed his wife through Parkinson’s,

Loved nominal cigars, manhattans, long jokes,

Never kissed me, but always shook my hand. 


Once he came to visit me when a Brandenburg

Was on the stereo. He listened with care—

Brisk melodies, symmetry, civility, and passion.

When it finished, he asked to hear it again, 

Moving his right hand in time. He would have 

Risen to dance if he had known how.


“Beautiful,” he said when it was done,

My father, who’d never heard a Brandenburg.

Eighty years old, bent, and scuffed all over,

Just in time he said, “That’s beautiful.” 

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