A Garden Enclosed

Thomas Merton said:
“If our life is poured out in useless words
we will never hear anything in the depths of our hearts,
where Christ lives and speaks in silence.
We will never be anything, and in the end,
we shall be found speechless
at the moment of the crucial decision:
for we shall have said everything
and exhausted ourselves in speech
before we had anything to say.”

Evelyn Underhill said: “Without silence,
the inward stillness in which God educates and molds us
is impossible.”

T.S. Eliot said:
“If we really want to pray we must first learn to listen,
for in the silence of the heart God speaks.”

Thomas Merton said:
“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.”

True silence is a garden enclosed,
where alone the soul can meet its God.

Silence is a gift from God,
to let us speak more intimately with God.

If we are constantly talking,
God will be unable to teach you anything.

If you don’t listen, you will never learn.

Solitude is not the same as withdrawal,
which has negative connotations.
Solitude has positive qualities.
In solitude, I stopped running from myself
and became friends with myself;
solitude me to enjoy my own company.
In solitude, I learned that I am not alone;
moreover, it taught me
there is no such thing as aloneness.
Spiritual growth does not come from fleeing the world,
but from entering into it fully.
However, for the sake of our spiritual health,
we each need periods of solitude.
And we also need to develop an inner solitude
that can be entered no matter where we are.

Henri J.M. Nouwen said:
“Solitude is the furnace of transformation.
Without solitude we remain victims of our society
and continue to be entangled in the illusions of the false self.”

Entering into solitude with the idea of affirming ourselves,
separating oneself from others, even interiorly,
in order to be different,
or by intensifying one’s individual self-awareness
is not in harmony with the purity
required for spiritual growth.
For the Christian, pure solitude is a place
of self-emptying in order to experience union with Christ;
in the interior abyss we become detached
from our petty false self and
open ourselves up to the vastness of the Infinite Presence.

Solitude gives you the ability to hear an inner voice
longing to tell you the truth about yourself.

Everyone has the potential to be a mystic –
to awaken to the deep mystery within them
and beyond them.
Mysticism is not relegated to a select few.

John Dear, a Jesuit priest, said:
“Solitude plucks us out of the world’s frenzy
and centers us in nonviolence.
Solitude silences the loud voices within us
to allow the still, small voice of God to speak.
Solitude gives God the time and
space to disarm our inner wars.”

Contemplation takes us out of the world
so we may see the world better, more clearly.

Thomas Keating, a Trappist monk, said:
“Silence is God’s first language;
everything else is a poor translation.
In order to hear that language,
we must learn to be still and to rest in God.”

Silence gives us space for receptivity;
it allows us to hear the speechless language of God
and to respond with our hearts.

Only an open and serene heart
can absorb God’s love.

In the state of emptiness,
you are better able to encounter
the fullness of God.

Only in silence can you hear the vast,
boundless depths of the Spirit speaking
more and more clearly about the
unlimited love and mercy of God.
Be still. Be quiet. Be.


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