Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A living and vigilant silence

Artist: Olof Hermelin

Oh, this passage by Thomas Merton is so, so beautiful. As much as I once wished for it, the life he describes here has not turned out to be my year-round, routine, life vocation. But I've had enough extended periods like this to cherish its value very deeply indeed:
"To deliver oneself up, hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hill, or sea, or desert: to sit still while the sun comes up over the land and fills its silences with light. To pray and work in the morning and to labor in meditation in the evening when night falls upon that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars. This is a true and special vocation. There are few who are willing to belong completely to such silence, to let it soak into their bones, to breathe nothing but silence, to feed on silence, and to turn the very substance of their life into a living and vigilant silence."


  1. Ellie, thank you so much for allowing me to remember the days when camping and hiking were possible and special. The wonders my sister and I would find and experience were so special even though not part of a vocation, but when we stopped, the silence was there and the wonders, such as the glistening spider webs, were there.
    Thank you,
    Carolyn L.

  2. I'm so glad you liked the passage, Carolyn. I'm even more glad that you have experienced personally what the passage is all about.

  3. I love his phrase "...a living and vigilant silence". It is crackling with energy.
    annie c

  4. Yes, I do indeed agree, Annie.

    (That man could write; yes, he could.)


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