Day 11 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

Day 11

Silence is important even in the life of faith and in our deepest encounter with God. We cannot always be talking, praying in words, cajoling, reasoning, or keeping up a kind of devout background music. Much of our well-meant interior religious dialogue is, in fact, a smoke screen and an evasion. Much of it is simply self-reassurance and in the end it is little better than a form of self-justification. Instead of really meeting God in the nakedness of faith in which our inmost being is laid bare before him, we act out an inner ritual that has no function but to allay anxiety.

The purest faith has to be tested by silence in which we listen for the unexpected, in which we are open to what we do not yet know, and in which we slowly and gradually prepare for the day when we will reach out to a new level of being with God. True hope is tested by silence in which we have to wait on the Lord in the obedience of unquestioning faith.

— Thomas Merton in Creative Silence in Thomas Merton: Essential Writings selected by Christine M. Bochen

Today: Do you sometimes use electronic devices to fill in the silence? Does noise somehow make you feel less alone? Do you see that silence is where we will most likely have an encounter with our God? Consider turning off the TV, the radio or the stereo and just listen to the silence of the morning.

+Ed Jansen, OSB

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2 Responses to Day 11 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

  1. Barbara says:

    The problem is for some of us getting to the silence no matter how quiet it is can be very challenging. I usually have to concentrate very hard for instance at night when I am praying, if I don’t my mind will wonder about something I was praying about. How do you get back to that?? Sorry, I fell off for a minute I’m back now…hmmm. Silence is much more noisy for me then some kind of sound to help me focus.

  2. True hope is tested by silence in which we have to wait on the Lord in the obedience of unquestioning faith
    Striking phrase of truth. Hope is TESTED by silence.. waiting on the Lord in faith.
    It is almost too rich to swallow whole, requiring the silent time of tomorrow morning’s prayer to digest it fully.
    Waiting for anything and how that shifts awareness away from impulsive drive and addictive urgency… and invites in the hope of faith that all is well in the Lord is an area of practice at this time for me. I have not read this from Merton before.. I am quiet, but I am here each day, thank you, Beloved, for posting so faithfully for us all.

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