Wednesday, August 24, 2022


Dear All of Us,

Life sure is full 

of opposites 

that aren't. 

For example, 

sometimes restriction 

opens things up.

That was so especially true

a cultural notch or two back.

For instance, there was 

a restrictive insistence on


a semi-sacred silence,

a restriction that opened 

to a freeing fullness.

Going to visit in the hospital 

we were met by a pictured 

white capped-clad, 

starched stiff nurse, 

and if needs be, 

by one in person

insisting on


That restriction opened up

a calmed gentle space for both

patient recovery and visitation.

The same was so when 

I was a teen visiting our 

public library in Montclair, NJ.


was required and opened

space and place 

for undistracted focus.

That restriction open for me

the sacred as I got lost

in the stacks reading 

Thomas Merton.

In the novitiate and seminary, 

it was 

         Silentium Magnum

from night prayer to after breakfast.

It invited expansive freeing into the

           Silent Sacred

Many, well ok, 

most of us today 

live in agitated noise 

outside and inside.

We are spun out, 

noised in and out.

How about we restrict

some of that so we are

opened up, freed up, 

calmed down for the


It comes 

highly recommended.

Let's take time here.

Let's paradoxically 

"hear" about silence 

and how it "speaks" 

to the particulars of 

our deepest self and 

how inviting, opening to 


    it is and offers.

      What does 

   The Spirit Speak

        to our 

     Soul Center

- "In silence God ceases 

   to be an object and 

   becomes an experience."

       Thomas Merton

- "Silence isn't shutting up.

   It's opening up."

          John Frank

- "Silence is the language of God, 

    all else is poor translation."


- " In the silence of LOVE

    you will find the spark of LIFE."


- "Be still and know that I am God."

             Psalm 46:10

Our circumstances vary:

raising kids, paying the mortgage,

getting spun out in mid-life,

sorting sexuality,

being slowed down on our way 

to the stop and start fresh of death,

struggling for social and 

ecological justice.

We can be in them 

and go beyond them

into the deep, 

dear depths of the


and deep in encounter



May we take time 

and give preference

to place and way

so we can turn off 

the surround sound 

that numbs head and heart.

If it helps, let's consider,

let's personalize 

and "practicalize"

the wisdom shared in the

      Ponder Prayer

      that follows.


       "Hush Up" 

       so we can

      "Listen Up"

        in the


Quietly beside you,

    John Frank



            Seeking the 

         SILENT SACRED, 

        we listen to Jesus:

   "Here's what I want you to do: 

    find a quiet, secluded place 

    so you won't be tempted 

    to role-play before God. 

    Just be there as 

    simply and honestly 

    as you can manage. 

    The focus will shift 

    from you to God, 

    and you will begin 

    to sense his grace."

       Matthew 6:6

       The Message

In that place and way 

Silence frees us Sacred.

We hear and see

   God Good

at the center 

of who we are.

We sense a solidarity

that goes beyond 

concept or word,

a oneness with 

The One of All

    That Is

We are held 

tenderly close,


It's like the 

quiet union 

after love making, 

only indescribably deeper. 

So centered, we notice

      God Good

at the center of all else

and flowering forth:

the marvelous 

intricacy and coloration 

of a summer azalea

the pump of a seven year old

scoring a first ever homerun

the transparent communion

of Salvador Dali's 

The Sacrament of the Last Supper

the mystical stillness 

of an English meadow

the majesty and wonder 

of images from the 

James Webb Telescope

the rich mellow transport 

of a robust red

Silence is stillness enough to see.

         Other seers say the

            Silent Sacred:

"Listen to God in the silence 

 of your heart and 

 you will know 

 His perfect plan for you."

        Psalm 46:10

"The media transforms 

the great silence of things 

into its opposite. 

Formerly constituting a secret, 

the real now talks incessantly. 

News reports, information, 

statistics, and surveys 

are everywhere."

    Michel De Certeau

"There is in all visible things

  an invisible fecundity,

  a dimmed light,

  a meek namelessness,

  a hidden wholeness...

  There is in all things 


  sweetness and purity, 

  a silence that is 

  a fountain of action and joy. 

  It rises up in 

  wordless gentleness, 

  and flows out to me 

  from the unseen roots 

  of all created being."

    Thomas Merton

 "Keep silent,


  the world of silence 

  is a vast fullness."



 A quiet deep welcome to

       frankly speaking

   spirituality for the street

(click top left, frankly speaking)




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  One more for good measure.

     "Silence is an ocean. 

      Speech is a river. 

      When the ocean 

      is searching for you, 

      don't walk into the river."


     Swim away oceanically!

       See you next week!