Thursday, February 8, 2007

waiting for a "word" that one cannot speak

"The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and when he is "answered", it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God." (THE CLIMATE OF MONASTIC PRAYER - one of the last books Merton prepared for publication before he died.)


  1. This reminds me of an interview I heard with Karen Armstrong. She was asked if she had ever heard the voice of God. She said, "No, but I have been close enough to hear him clear his throat." [or alternatively, hear her clear her throat].

  2. I think that Karen Armstrong has probably been that close! The "about to speak" is a very powerful place!


God speaks

God speaks, and God is to be heard, not only on Sinai, not only in my own heart, but in the voice of the stranger. — Thomas Merton, Emble...