The End of Isolation

“Let there be a place somewhere in which you can breathe naturally, quietly, and not have to take your breath in continuous short gasps. A place where your mind can be idle, and forget its concerns, descend into silence, and worship the Father in secret.”
-Thomas Merton
New Seeds of Contemplation

On the road to God, words eventually dissolve into silence. To become more and more silent, to enter deeply into creative silence, takes courage. The wordless is foreign to us. Yet God transcends language and intellect. In silence, we are able to meet our deepest self. When we have found our authentic self, we are free to give ourselves away, to give ourselves back to God. St. Maximos the Confessor, a great saint of the Eastern Church, said: “Love and self-control free the soul from passions; spiritual reading and contemplation deliver the intellect from ignorance; and the state of prayer brings it into the presence of God Himself.”

The end of isolation is found in prayer. Through prayer, we become aware that God is present. Through prayer we become at home with the living presence with whom we can share everything. And in the presence of God we become aware of our complete dependence on the Creator. Prayer fosters within us a spirit of humility and the realization we cannot truly live without God.

The best way to approach God is to proceed in humility, simplicity, and poverty, and to enter the silence of God’s presence, and then patiently sit in prayer and wait until God elects to speak. The primary focus of prayer is to lead the mind to stillness. Prayer helps us become more aware of God’s presence. Prayer acknowledges our dependency on God. The goal of prayer is communion with God…and each other. Approach God with open hands, a searching mind, and a loving heart.

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