Sacred Silence

Sometimes just being there is enough
When words would be an encumbrance upon sacred silence
That lends itself so well to contemplation.

Sometimes just being there is enough
Presenting oneself, body, mind and spirit
In an act of trust
When Love pours itself out of a ruby-rimmed cup
And all of me fills with longing.

[Taken from:
The Blueness Above, by Ann Murray]

Please visit Ann at her Poetry, Prayer, and Praise blog for some excellent news.

30 thoughts on “Sacred Silence

  1. Ann on 01 Sep 2008 at 3:23 pm
    I’m overcome with joy, Gabrielle, and lost for words at the same time. May God bless you for spreading this good news. A hundred thousand thanks!!!!

    Cathy on 01 Sep 2008 at 9:02 pm
    Words escape me…This doesn’t happen very often! Thanks be to God…

    Pia on 02 Sep 2008 at 4:17 am
    Simply beautiful and so fitting with our recent commenting. Thanks for giving our friend Ann this well deserved vote of confidence and encouragement.

    C on 02 Sep 2008 at 1:23 pm
    Ahmen.
    Yet Ann’s lines above do not speak of “news” — they are timelessly beautiful. The news will change, first bad, then good, then bad, then so-so, then tolerable, then unbearable, then good, then baffling, hair-raising, then sweet.. but the News at Mass is ever-current fact, as noted in Ann’s lines, and seriously, her work is so exceedingly pure and sparse, like a wife of St. John the Baptist might be, it is a shame that some Master doesn’t paint, frame and hang her every poem.

    Cathy on 02 Sep 2008 at 10:40 pm
    Back again!!! You’ve been tagged.

    gabrielle on 02 Sep 2008 at 10:40 pm
    Ann, it’s my pleasure, in more ways than one! I’m just thrilled about what’s happening, and you already know how much I love your poetry! The more people who have a chance to find out about it the better, not only for the causes you’re so generously helping, but for the sheer beauty your verses add to our lives.
    Cathy, you’re so funny. Although it’s not often that words escape you, I guess it’s appropriate enough for a post on sacred silence!
    Pia, I’m waiting expectantly for Ann’s second compilation.
    C, I just love the last two lines; I receive an image of the Sacred Heart as well as the Eucharist from them. Paintings of Ann’s poetry; can you imagine?

    gabrielle on 02 Sep 2008 at 10:46 pm
    Tagged??? Zut alors. That’s what happens when your knees give out.

    Ann on 03 Sep 2008 at 4:02 pm
    I want to thank you all for your kind words – really, it is very humbling to come here and read this.
    But the truth is you all bring beauty and creativity and gifts to this blog and to your own areas of the internet and beyond, so please, let’s celebrate US – I had a look at Cathy’s holy card meme- it is really fun to do and revealing too -can’t wait to see Gabrielle’s and then maybe C’s And Pia’s. ?

  2. I cannot locate the blogpost where someone spoke of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift From the Sea,” so let me speak to it here, about the contemplative need for solitude. I went and got the book a few hours ago –go figure, folks so ignored it they had put it down cellar. Oh my WORD, wait’ll I get it back to the Library: I’m going to tell the girls there to read it asap! Oh, it’s wonderful, wonderful.. I’m halfway through. (And it seems definitely a book for the ladies.) It touches on everything I have whined about/mentioned lately. : – ) How it resonated!

    If only I’d known it didn’t border on evil to just ask a daily hour for myself to be alone — as if Mass had been a total luxury and I could not ask for more — I’d have done so decades ago. Let me quote Anne: “The world today does not understand, in either man or woman, the need to be alone. How inexplicable it seems. Anything else will be accepted as a better excuse. If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement, or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: I cannot come because that is my hour to be alone, one is considered rude, egotistical or strange. What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it–like a secret vice! Actually, these are among the most important times in one’s life–when one is alone. Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone. …”

    I’ll finish it by mid-morn. I will then begin (thanks to Kristin mentioning C.S. Lewis recently), “A Grief Observed.” I’ve read it before, but long long ago. If anyone would like to read it with me, let me know and I’ll hold off on starting it. It’s a tiny paperback of 150 pages. Or if anyone else has a small-ish book suggestion for us all to read together, good heavens, I’m game for it. It’ll be fun.

  3. Ann,
    “When Love pours itself out of a ruby-rimmed cup
    And all of me fills with longing.”

    As a protestant minister (20 years) I would not have understood this, limited as I was by my own false construct of what Communion is. As a Catholic I feel this to my core.

  4. It’s very kind of you to say so, Owen., and gratifying to know that what I intended to say and what comes across are one and the same.

  5. Ann, let’s celebrate US and what the good Lord has given! Amen!

    Hush, it was in my post of “An Ikebana Kind of Life”. I’m so glad you found it at the library; I just knew you all would love it the way I did. And you picked one of the passages I was reading over and over again myself! Oh, my, we could quote the whole book, couldn’t we! And what a great idea you just had, about a smallish book we could all find and read at the same time! An online bookclub! I’ve never belonged to a bookclub, but always wanted to. (I’m not very keen on C.S. Lewis, but open to other suggestions…)

  6. Well, I didn’t finish “Gift From the Sea” by midmorn, and it goes on (as you know, G, as does.. Suzy? Lucy?) to speak of marriage. It’s a very unique book, and I look forward to the rest of it. As for the holy card meme, let me say it here rather than swamp the side panel with Hush’s that are not hushes (I think there’s a German word for that condition– kommentsomuchia), I can’t wrap my mind around a card for myself, but wow, I could so easily design one for my grandmother. As for a book for all, hmm.. I’m thinking short and sweet and for both guys and gals (and available at any small-town library) — I dunno what.. someone throw out some suggestions for us. I think we’d really like to do that, no?

  7. I’d love to…just let it be known between Sept 14 and 27, while I’m in the US so I can buy a copy to bring back to Italy with me…
    Kommentsomuchia is actually Italianized latin and is spelled “commentasomuchia” (you missed a syllable in your spelling). When you say it you have take on a deeper tone of voice and hold out your arm, bringinging the tips of all your fingers -only the ones on that arm of course 🙂 – together and shake your hand up and down. Seriously.

  8. I just read about Elisabeth Elliott at Word Incarnate. Although I couldn’t find the particular book Abbot Joseph is writing about on Amazon, I did find at least 4 or 5 other titles all available. Just a thought .

  9. I have found some Chesterton books online (actually, if one goes to CCEL website or to Gutenburg Project, one can find hundreds upon hundreds of books online.. simply not the ones that one is looking for in particular, of course)–and of course, not everyone likes Chesterton, but I find him utterly hilarious and wise. I have lately had a heck of a hankering to read some Madeleine Delbrel.. she wrote on solitude, and the holiness of ordinary people and lives, but that might be too gentle. There’s also a great deal of Solzhenitsyn that is both fascinating and discussable by both genders.. There is also AB Oscar Romero’s “The Violence of Love.”

  10. Another one for consideration – and highly acclaimed – and not expensive – Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World by John O’Donohue.

  11. Sadly, J O’Donohue passed away quite suddenly while on holiday in France just a few short months ago – he was in his early 50’s.
    Anam Cara is probably his best known book, although another one Benedictus has also got great reviews. Thanks, Carol, for seconding.

  12. So many great ideas here! Let’s all write down these suggested names so we won’t forget.

    Anam Cara sounds just fine by me too; I just checked online at my library and they have it, but there’s only one copy not borrowed at this time so if someone else checks it out I’ll just have to wait a while (that would give others enough time to buy it if it’s not in their library). On the whole though, I think we should stick to what’s available online or in everyone’s libraries (if we go ahead with this, I’m sure we’ll get the logistics down pat soon enough).

  13. I’ve been away from blogging for a day and a half (in solidarity with those marking the day of prayer and fasting called for by Italian Bishops for the souls in India martyred or undergoing persecution for their faith in Christ) so I’ve missed the discussion here. I just want to say that if you’ll have me I’d love to take part in reading whatever is finally decided upon. Thanks.

  14. A great suggestion, Owen.

    There’s also Pulitzer Prize-winning “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” by Annie Dillard. I don’t know if it’s online anywhere (I doubt it, but I’ll check), but I’ve read the reviews, read of the authoress, and read some sample pages.. I’ll bet there are discussion groups on this one galore.

    There’s also the Gospel of John, which is so sweet–which we all already have at hand.

  15. Ah, hmm.. I looked in your sidebar and saw Fr. Dubay’s name there and wondered if he has a free book online.. Well, you might wish to go to Catholic Spiritual Direction dot org (no spaces) and click in the left panel offerings on “Spiritual Classics” (free download of numerous books). Any there in which we might be interested? I’d be agreeable to any.

  16. Well, I went to the library and got Anam Cara, just in case, and also Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Poor G is having computer woes, not most of all this blog whose format is goofed up, but we’ll wait, G, and we’re not locked into this thing anyhow, but it sure seems like it would be fun –and nutritious.

  17. I am putting all computer woes (not isolated to blog woes, unfortunately) out of my mind and allowing only positive thoughts to enter. As long as you can read this, I’m happy. I’ve given up on Explorer versus Firefox, one post showing versus two versus ten, etc., because nothing makes any difference. I do believe I screwed up the Sacred Silence post or the Merton “Wordless” post by accidently doing something wrong to the header, because since then the whole blog went wacko. I can’t find anything wrong with the HTML in either of those posts, so I’m at a loss.

    Re the bookclub, if we all would like to start off with Anam Cara that’s fine with me. I put in a request for it at my library, and I think I should have it soon. Is that okay with everyone for starters?

    Owen, the Creighton retreat looks excellent, but I don’t think I could keep up with it consistently because of time pressures. I guess with a book we’d just say have two chapters (or whatever) read by a certain date so we could have a discussion?

  18. gabrielle, I’m pleased for you and us all that you’ve been able to keep your blog in tact as you’ve moved it within the St Blogs service. Phew.

    Yes, the Creighton online retreat is a huge commitment and one of the reasons I didn’t complete it two years ago. Yep, a certain book, so many chapters and chat as you like sounds about the right speed.

  19. I’ve tried the online retreat three times, now. For unfinishability, it seems a close second to the Atkins water diet–too much self, and too little Bread.

  20. Gabrielle, as it happens I have a second copy of Pilgrim At Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. It is in very good condition. If we end up doing this book I will happily mail in within Canada for free and any where else for the cost of the shipping should there be anyone here who would like it.

  21. C, thank you! And thanks for your helpful input along the way! The Atkins diet…oh yeah, the one at the beginning of the diet alphabet. I think I’m around “R” now; raw foods only. Sure. Sure. In my memes. I mean dreams.

    Pia, that’s great. Hope you have no difficulty in obtaining a copy of Anam Cara.

    Owen, thanks; and I should have my copy of Anam Cara tomorrow or the day after. Looking forward to this with all of you! And thank you so much for the offer re the Annie Dillard book. If we decide to do it, I’d certainly take a copy off your hands but I’d like to pay you for it or trade you something (but also, since it’s probably at my library, maybe we should consider your offer if someone wants to join us who lives in a small town or village with no library). We can figure it out later, but thanks again.

  22. I’ll buy both books if I can find them in the States; I’ve been meaning to read something by Annie for a while, and I have already read something about anam cara, written with abuse survivors in mind, so I’d love to go a bit more in depth on that concept.

    I’ll be travelling Sunday, and running around like a chicken with a hole in her head until then…last minute stuff. But I promise to check in while I’m in the US of A. Ciao

  23. Well, this Anam Cara is extraordinarily contemplative based on Celtic spirituality which notes no distance between the you and the eternal, but of course it has a Catholic spin on it. I can’t imagine that Dillard compares, but she’s fun.

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