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Voices from the Cloister

Strange as it may sound, we all came to this busy place seeking silence. We had come from the ends of the known world, hungry for the “great silence’ that we had heard about. We had fled the jarring voices and materialism of our own societies.

The silence we sought was not the absence of noise. From the door of my cell I hear the brooding sound of the endless desert landscape. It was not this silence that I sought. It was an inner stillness that enabled me, to hear my inner self, My own true voice. Greater still it empower me to hear that other silence and stillness, where the “Holy One” is to be found. The inner stillness and silence of contemplation.

“Go to your cell”, the old monks said, “your cell will teach you every thing.” At first I was overwhelmed by the tyranny of my false self.

“Say your prayer word”, they said. Slowly at first, even painfully, I came to hear the meaning of my true self. In my contemplation, to begin to hear the silent presence of the Holy One I sought.

“Listen with the ear of your heart”, so Benedict begins his Rule. A “listening “which occurs in the midst of the cacophony and competing voices of the market place. So the desert is all about us, within us. Brooding in the background of our lives, saying deep within us, “listen with the ear of the heart to the Father who loves you.”

The musings of A desert Monk

– Brian Stitt

Image:  The Cloisters, Beylerbeyi, Northern Cyprus by Bestfor / Richard. Used under creative commons licence.

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