Thursday, January 5, 2012
A Year With Thomas Merton - January 4
The Speech of God Is Silence
For the first time in my life I am finding you, O Solitude. I can count on the fingers of one hand the few short moments of purity, of neutrality, in which I have found you. Now I know I am coming to the day in which I will be able to live without words, even outside my prayer. For I still need to go out into the no-man's-land of language, which does not quite join me to others and which throws a veil over my own solitude. I say "live without words." By words I mean the half-helpless and half-wise looks by which we seek one another's thoughts. But I do not abdicate all language, for there is the Word of God. This I proclaim and I live to proclaim it. I live to utter the Mass, the Canon, which implicitly contains all words, all revelation, and teaches everything. It is at the Canon and at the words of Consecration that all solitudes come into a single focus. There is the City of God gathered together in that one Word spoken in silence. The speech of God is silence. His Word is solitude. Him I will never deny, by His grace! Everything else is fiction, half-hiding the truth it tries to reveal. We are travelers from the half-world of language into solitude and infinity. We are strangers. Paper, I have not in you a lasting city. Yet, there is a return from solitude to make manifest His Name to them who have not known it. And then to re-enter solitude again and dwell in silence.
January 11, 1950, II.158