John Main died in 1982, thirty-two years ago as I write this to you. And by the time you might have a desire to read this for understanding, it will have been maybe fifty years, and yet the truth in these words will be as fresh as the next breath you take to read them.
May the Mystery bless you with the desire to know the silence he speaks of in these words.
November 9, 2014
From John Main OSB, “The Silence of Love,” WORD MADE FLESH (Norwich:
Canterbury, 2009), pp. 29-30.
Language is so weak in explaining the fullness of the mystery. That is why the absolute
silence of mediation is so supremely important. We do not try to think of God, talk to
God or imagine God. We stay in that awesome silence open to the eternal silence of God.
We discover in meditation, through practice and taught daily by experience, that this is
the natural ambience for all of us. We are created for this and our being flourishes and
expands in that eternal silence.
“Silence” as a word, however, already falsifies the experience and perhaps deters many
people, because it suggests some negative experience, the deprivation of sound or
language. People fear that the silence of meditation is regressive. But experience and
tradition teach us that the silence of prayer is not the pre-linguistic but the post-linguistic
state in which language has completed its task of pointing us through and beyond itself
and the whole realm of mental consciousness. The eternal silence is not deprived of
anything nor does it deprive us of anything. It is the silence of love, of unqualified and
unconditional acceptance. [. . . .]
We know ourselves to be loved and so we love. Meditation is concerned with completing
this cycle of love. By our openness to the Spirit who dwells in our hearts, and who in
silence is loving to all, we begin the journey of faith. [. . . ] We let go of everything that
we want, everything we know. . . .We let it go in the abandon of poverty, and we are then
free to launch out in the depths of the mystery that is love. . . .