Waiting to hear

This is another good thought from Thomas Merton.

Contemplation is essentially a listening in silence, an expectancy… In other words, the true contemplative is not the one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect or anticipate the world 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 world 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.

Thomas Merton. Contemplative Prayer. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1969: 90

2 Replies to “Waiting to hear”

  1. Thank you for dropping by my (currently very ill-maintained) blog. Recently, as my life as gotten busier and busier, I’ve taken refuge in silence. It seems to be opening up to words again, so we’ll see what happens.


  2. I am reminded of a quote from John Bunyan, “in prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words with out a heart.” Your words will come again. I know I felt like chucking it all a few months ago and then a friend encouraged me to continue. Life is busy and I really am glad that it is because it supplies the contrast in tension that makes me appreciate solitude and silence even more. Peace and all things good to you too. 🙂 Don

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