“A Dhia Ghleigil, Oh Glorious God”, Noirin Ni Riain & The Monks of Glenstall Abbey, from the album “Vox de Nube (Voice From The Cloud)” (1996)
Robert Cardinal Sarah
“134. We need to cultivate silence and to surround it with an interior dike. In my prayer and in my interior life, I have always felt the need for a deeper, more complete silence.
I am talking about a kind of discretion that amounts to not even thinking about myself but, rather, turning my attention, my being, and my soul toward God. The days of solitude, silence, and absolute fasting have been a great support.
They have been an unprecedented grace, a slow purification, and a personal encounter with a God who wanted to draw me gradually toward a more substantial interior life so as to maintain an intimate relationship with him. Days of solitude, silence, and fasting, nourished by the Word of God alone, allow man to base his life on what is essential.”
Sarah, Robert Cardinal. The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise (Kindle Locations 1224-1230). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen
This book of Cardinal Sarah’s is another “treasure from the attic” and amazingly current, not even an antique, but as important and lucid as Father Gabriel’s “Divine Intimacy” or even Augustine’s “Confessions” at the right time in one’s life.
Cardinal Sarah writes in French and this e-book is translated into English for those who have problems reading French … but not so much of a problem for a survivor of, a refugee from, Quebec Premier Jean Lesage’s “Quite Revolution” of the 60’s.
My father realized that there was no future for an Anglo in the new Quebec, and my family emigrated to Ontario with the tidal wave of Anglos escaping the anti-Anglo bigotry running rampant in the Quebec of the 60’s.
Anyway, I did learn French as a result, forced to learn it to graduate from High School, and mostly it was useful in future years in understanding what French delegates at National Conferences were ranting about when they thought only Anglos were listening.
As to the book, I think the original French might be a better read, but the translation is good. Cardinal Sarah also gave us “God or Nothing” which I read a couple of years ago. For a few bucks on Amazon.com for the e-book … priceless.
Almost exactly a year since I started practicing intermittent fasting as part of my “Flame of Love” devotions. Amazing health benefits have flowed from that decision to begin fasting and the practice has become a regular part of my life.
Strangely prescient, making this lifestyle decision, and then to find the practice popping up again everywhere I go in my spiritual reading as a recommended practice in aid of spiritual growth.
Perhaps not such a surprise, in hindsight, to find that following the manufacturer’s instructions helps the engine run better, smoother, faster, longer … follow the manufacturer’s instructions. They are hard to miss once one starts sincerely looking and reading.
So much to read, so much to digest, in silence and no calories …
67. In “Un autre regard sur l’homme” [Another look at man], Maurice Zundel seems to develop Plotinus’ thought in greater depth when he writes: ******
“Our whole life is comprised in this alternative: either I am in myself or I am in God. There is no middle way. When I stop encountering myself, that is when God is really present. When I lose sight of myself, that is when I look at Him. When I no longer hear myself, that is when I listen to Him, and God, at all levels, consists precisely in losing myself in Him.
The program is simple, but implementing it is difficult, because we cannot decree an encounter or set the hour in which love will spring forth. There is no path that infallibly ends with an exchange of intimacies. Nothing is freer, more unforeseen, or more gratuitous. All you can do is to remove the obstacles that make such an exchange impossible, and they are all summed up in the noise that one makes with oneself and around oneself.
The only chance we have of leaving ourselves is to neutralize our attention, peacefully to withdraw our attention from this whole confused mix of appetites and claims, and to shut off the psychological current that feeds this turmoil; in this recollection, the emptiness that makes us available grows ever wider and deeper. When total silence is established, it is already an announcement of the Presence who fills up the space resulting from the retreat of myself.” *****
Robert Cardinal Sarah
68. Silence is difficult, but it enables man to let himself be led by God. From silence is born silence. Through God the silent, we can attain silence. And man is unceasingly surprised by the light that pours forth then. Silence is more important than any other human work. Because it expresses God. The true revolution comes from silence; it leads us toward God and others so as to place us humbly and generously at their service.
Robert Cardinal Sarah, “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise” (Kindle Locations 821-837, para 67 & 68). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
When I stop encountering myself, that is when God is really present. When I lose sight of myself, that is when I look at Him. When I no longer hear myself, that is when I listen to Him. Maurice Zundel
From the book “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise” Section 31. I will never stop thanking the good, holy priests who generously give their whole lives for the kingdom of God. But I will untiringly denounce those who are unfaithful to the promises of their ordination. In order to make themselves known or to impose their personal views, both on the theological and the pastoral level, they speak again and again. These clerics repeat the same banal things. I could not affirm that God dwells within them.
Who can think their sheer outpourings to be a spring coming from the divine depths? But they talk, and the media love to listen to them in order to reecho their ineptitudes, particularly if they declare themselves in favor of the new posthumanist ideologies, in the realm of sexuality, the family, and marriage.
These clerics consider God’s thinking about conjugal life to be an “evangelical ideal”. Marriage is no longer a requirement willed by God, modeled and manifested in the nuptial bond between Christ and the Church. Some theologians in their presumptuousness and arrogance go so far as to assert personal opinions that are difficult to reconcile with revelation, tradition, the centuries-old Magisterium of the Church, and the teaching of Christ.
Thus, highly amplified by the blaring media, they go so far as to dispute God’s design. Have we not arrived at the fulfillment of the prophetic words of Paul VI, quoted by Jean Guitton in his book Paul VI secret: “There is great turmoil at this time in the world and in the Church, and what is in dispute is the faith. . . . What strikes me, when I look at the Catholic world, is that within Catholicism a sort of non-Catholic thought seems to predominate sometimes, and it may happen tomorrow that this non-Catholic thought will become the strongest within Catholicism. But it will never represent the mind of the Church. A tiny little flock has to continue in existence, however small it may be.”
It is urgent to listen again to the voice of Saint Paul in his Second Letter to the Corinthians: For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word; but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. (2 Cor 2:17) Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. . . . We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (2 Cor 4:1-2)
Robert Cardinal Sarah . The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise (Kindle Locations 547-566). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
In the immortal words of David Warren: “Among the joys of winter, up here in the land God gave Cain (“Cainada”), are our glorious “cold snaps.” That is when temperatures, which we had naïvely thought insupportable, suddenly plunge. The breeze comes into this, too. I don’t know if readers in Bali, or Gabon, can fully appreciate what I mean by a “windchill” of minus 40 degrees. (Fahrenheit or Celsius: take your pick.)”
Or even colder, appreciate -50C. After 15 years of working outdoors even in -50 degrees Celsius I can testify that windchill is for pussies. Maybe if you live on the North Slope in Alaska, or in Alert, NWT or I guess that would be Nunavut nowadays, or anywhere in northern Cainada one “gets it” when cold is the topic, or perhaps if one lives in any of the Scandinavian countries or you call home the open stretches of Boreal forest in Siberia.
This is your drink at -40C
Windchill might be relevant should one be running around naked at these temperatures but doesn’t play into the equation absent the naked flesh. One’s parka or vehicle skin are unaffected by windchill and anyway I can testify that at -50C there is precious little wind.
I am now happy to live and work (indoors) in a part of the country which only gets down to a balmy -30 C, cold enough to freeze the doors of ones vehicle shut but not cold enough to turn your cup of coffee into snow should you be prodigal enough to throw it into the air over your head.
One of the interesting things about cold is how the colder it gets the quieter it gets. Cold and silence seem to go together. As do silence and God, and becoming “in” God, as in “union with” God and the will of God. In silence …
Pope Benedict XVI
In the words of Pope Benedict XVI: “… A first door opens if we read these words of the Lord carefully. The choice of the word “in the name of the Father” in the Greek text is very important: the Lord says “eis” and not “en”, that is, not “in the name” of the Trinity—as when we say that a vice-prefect speaks “on behalf” of the prefect, an ambassador speaks “on behalf” of the government: no.
It says: “eis to onoma”, that is, an immersion into the name of the Trinity, a being inserted in the name of the Trinity [that is, a silent, invisible but real and life-giving] interpenetration of being in God and of our being, a being immersed in God the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; just as it is in marriage, for example. Two people become one flesh, they become a new and unique reality with a new and unique name.” Benedict XVI, June 2012, Lectio Divina at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran
Robert Cardinal Sarah
… “It is the same with priestly ordination. In silence, through the sacrament of Holy Orders, a man becomes not only an alter Christus, another Christ, but much more: he is ipse Christus, Christ himself. At that moment nothing appears externally, but in the silence, in the depths of his being, there is a true and real identification with Christ.
Saint Ambrose, in his treatise On the Mysteries, exhorts us, saying: “You saw there the deacon, you saw the priest, you saw the chief priest [i.e., the bishop]. Consider not the bodily forms, but the grace of the Mysteries.” Externally, as priests, we remain sinners, but in reality we are as though “transubstantiated” and configured to Christ himself. In the act of transubstantiation, the priest takes the role of Christ.” Robert Cardinal Sarah, . “The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise“(Kindle Locations 338-342). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.
Silence … blessed silence …
“God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence”, Saint Teresa of Calcutta said poetically [in her book A Gift for God].
“… From this perspective, he can adopt as his own the step taken by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val. Having retired from the public business of the Church, the former Secretary of State of Saint Pius X had composed a beautiful “Litany of Humility”, which he recited every day after celebrating Mass:
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Make my heart like yours. From self-will, deliver me, O Lord. From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Lord. From the desire of being loved, deliver me, O Lord. From the desire of being extolled, deliver me, O Lord. From the desire of being honored, deliver me, O Lord. From the desire of being praised, deliver me, O Lord. From the desire of being preferred to others, deliver me, O Lord. From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, O Lord. From the desire of being approved, deliver me, O Lord. From the desire to be understood, deliver me, O Lord. From the desire to be visited, deliver me, O Lord. From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Lord. From the fear of being despised, deliver me, O Lord. From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me, O Lord. From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me, O Lord. From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, O Lord. From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, O Lord. From the fear of being suspected, deliver me, O Lord. From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, O Lord. From the fear of being abandoned, deliver me, O Lord. From the fear of being refused, deliver me, O Lord. That others may be loved more than I, Lord, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be esteemed more than I, Lord, grant me the grace to desire it. That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Lord, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be chosen and I set aside, Lord, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be praised and I go unnoticed, Lord, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may be preferred to me in everything, Lord, grant me the grace to desire it. That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Lord, grant me the grace to desire it. At being unknown and poor, Lord, I want to rejoice. At being deprived of the natural perfections of body and mind,Lord, I want to rejoice. When people do not think of me, Lord, I want to rejoice. When they assign to me the meanest tasks, Lord, I want to rejoice. When they do not even deign to make use of me, Lord, I want to rejoice. When they never ask my opinion, Lord, I want to rejoice. When they leave me at the lowest place, Lord, I want to rejoice. When they never compliment me, Lord, I want to rejoice. When they blame me in season and out of season, Lord, I want to rejoice. Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
What are our fondest desires, in fulsome pride? Self-Will, to be Esteemed, Loved, Extolled, Honored, Praised, Preferred, Consulted, Approved, Understood, Visited … pretty much covers the entire gamut of human pride, original sin, we know best, anyone who disagrees with us is wrong, and so on and so on.
What are our deepest fears? To be Humiliated, Despised, Rebuked, Calumniated, Forgotten, Ridiculed, Suspected, Wronged, Abandoned, Refused … again, pretty much covers the entire gamut of human fears, and yet, and yet …
Is this not a comprehensive iteration of how our culture, our “modern Progressive society”, has treated and continues to treat Christ in his every aspect and manifestation – the “man of sorrows”.
Does not our culture understand and apply to us (Christians) exactly those items which we fear most.
The prevalent culture, even as does ISIS, perceives humility as weakness. Since it is “safe” to attack Christians and Christianity, the Progressive society of our day feels they can attack us with impunity.
All the vile attacks, the endless ridicule and violence, while hypocritically pontificating and posturing about how “Brave” and “Courageous” they are attacking a target they are sure will not strike back. “Je suis Charlie” didn’t last very long, did it?
The sacred cow of “tolerance” is singularly lacking in the Liberal, Democratic culture that hates ANYTHING that does not approve of their deviant lifestyle. Except no one in our progressive society or our mainstream media would even dream of applying the same terms to the “Religion of Peace”.
Thus they reveal for the world the fundamental cowardice of all Progressive philosophies. Thus, unwittingly, they re-assure ISIS and all of Islam that they are no threat. They WILL always accommodate strength and force.
The chestless poltroons in our cultural leadership, the self proclaimed “Brights” of the new enlightenment, will embrace ANYTHING, even Dhimmitude,Kharaj, and Jizya as long as they can escape punishment and discomfort.
And thus they doom themselves to an eternity of slavery and evil.
Even ISIS sees the evil inherent in our culture. That evaluation of our prevalent culture and our leadership is not very humble, eh? So, bring it on! Peace be upon you, may the unification of all true believers come now according to the prophecy of Fatima. Please come now!
5For many will come in my name saying, I am Christ: and they will seduce many. 6And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places: 8Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows. Mat 24 : 5-8