5 More From Merton: Listen For The Silence, Stand Within The Space

5 More From Merton: Listen For The Silence, Stand Within The Space February 2, 2016


Silence need not render us voiceless.

Isolation need not stir us to loneliness.

Time spent in retreat can be wielded as if a saber, parrying against the the ravages and blows absorbed with every step.

Sometimes, we can only move forward after we’ve first gotten lost in that stillness.

And sometimes, the space between the noise cries out to us the loudest.

Take some time this day to listen.

Listen for the silence.

Then stand within that space.

For often, it is only within that silence that we can truly hear.

May these words of Thomas Merton help you do just that:


Prayer is then not just a formula of words, or a series of desires springing up in the heart – it is the orientation of our whole body, mind and spirit to God in silence, attention, and adoration. 

All good meditative prayer is a conversion of our entire self to God – Thoughts In Solitude


If there is no silence beyond and within the many words of doctrine, there is no religion, only a religious ideology. 

For religion goes beyond words and actions, and attains to the ultimate Truth only in silence and Love – Love And Living


The silence of the forest is my bride and the sweet dark warmth of the whole world is my love, and out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in silence, but it is the root of all the secrets that are whispered by all the lovers in their beds all over the world – Dancing In The Water Of Life 


The world of men has forgotten the joys of silence, the peace of solitude which is necessary, to some extent, for the fullness of human living.

Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally.

When that inner voice is not heard, when man cannot attain to the spiritual peace that comes from being perfectly at one with his own true self, his life is always miserable and exhausting.

For he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul.

If man is constantly exiled from his own home, locked out of his own spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person.

He no longer lives as a man. He becomes a kind of automaton, living without joy because he has lost his spontaneity.

He is no longer moved from within, but only from outside himself – The Silent Life


God spoke His eternal word in silence, and He wishes us to receive His words in silence.

If we are merely speculative students of Scripture, breaking the words of God up into scientific fragments and deafening our spirit with the noise of human argument – which is too often the noise of the ‘flesh’ with its spirit of factions and divisions – then we cannot hear the word who speaks to us silently in the words of God – The Monastic Journey 


Image Credit: Pixabay.com 

Credit And My Sincere Thanks To In A Spacious Place. Any errors in transcription or sourcing credit are mine alone.

Browse Our Archives