The fullness of the mystery

From John Main OSB, The Silence of Love, WORD MADE FLESH (Norwich: Canterbury, 2009), pp. 29-30.

From John Main OSB, The Silence of Love, WORD MADE FLESH (Norwich: Canterbury, 2009), pp. 29-30.

Language is so weak in explaining the fullness of the mystery. That is why the absolute silence of mediation is so supremely important. We do not try to think of God, talk to God or imagine God. We stay in that awesome silence open to the eternal silence of God. We discover in meditation, through practice and taught daily by experience, that this is the natural ambience for all of us. We are created for this and our being flourishes and expands in that eternal silence.
Silence as a word, however, already falsifies the experience and perhaps deters many people, because it suggests some negative experience, the deprivation of sound or language. People fear that the silence of meditation is regressive. But experience and tradition teach us that the silence of prayer is not the pre-linguistic but the post-linguistic state in which language has completed its task of pointing us through and beyond itself and the whole realm of mental consciousness. The eternal silence is not deprived of anything nor does it deprive us of anything. It is the silence of love, of unqualified and unconditional acceptance. [. . . .]
We know ourselves to be loved and so we love. Meditation is concerned with completing this cycle of love. By our openness to the Spirit who dwells in our hearts, and who in silence is loving to all, we begin the journey of faith. We end in faith because there is always a new beginning to the eternal dance of being-in-love.
After Meditation: Altars, Denise Levertov in THE STREAM & THE SAPPHIRE: Selected Poems on Religious Themes (New York: New Directions, 1997), pp.30.
Again before your altar, silent Lord.
And here the sound of  rushing waters,
a dove’s crooning.
Not every temple serves
as your resting place.
Here, though, today,
over the river’s continuo,
under the dove’s soliloquy,
your hospitable silence.
Again before your altar, silent Lord.
Your presence is made known
by untraced interventions
like those legendary baskets filled
with bread and wine, discovered
at the door of someone at wits end
returning home empty-handed 

after a day of looking for work.

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