Creating Time for Stillness

In Gravity and Grace, Simone Weil flatly states, “Attachment is a manufacturer of illusions and whoever wants reality ought to be detached.” In New Seeds of Contemplation, Thomas Merton writes, “We do not detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God, but rather we become detached from ourselves in order to see and use all things in and for God.” And in her book Ascent to Love: The Spiritual Teaching of St. John of the Cross, Ruth Burrows reminds us of this truth: “The detached heart has a far greater joy and comfort in created realities, for to treat them possessively is to lose all joy in them.” Our spiritual heritage is brimming with reminders of the importance of detachment. Each day of my Franciscan life reminds me that I must guard against the onslaught of distractions our culture hurls at me each day. I need to incorporate structured time for spiritual reading and reflection. I need to create time for stillness, carving places in my daily schedule for contemplation, meditation, or prayer. I need to be less concerned with doing so many things, and instead develop my innate capacity for simply being – being fully present to the integrity and capacity of each moment. Knowing these things and doing them are two different things.

More often than not, I seem to be far from God. But in those moments, frequent as they are, God is near. So near, I do not have to struggle to find God, for God is already seeking me, rushing to embrace me. But it is only in stillness that I can sense God’s movement. Whether I am aware of it or not, God’s love is continually coursing through my very veins. For me, meditative walks and listening to sacred music are excellent ways to help me cultivate the inner stillness and silence needed to recognize the reality of God within me.

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2 Responses to “Creating Time for Stillness”


  1. 1 Jerry May 18, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    This echos Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.”

  2. 2 James Sedwick May 18, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I find Merton’s phrases “detached from ourselves” and “in and for God” as most helpful given the ongoing and unavoidable flow of things and stimuli.


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