‘Our spiritual life is watered and made fertile by the holy wellsprings of the inward world, but these will dry up if the stillness within us is lost.’ – Eberhard Arnold
‘For someone who is far from God, silence is a difficult confrontation with his own self and with the rather dismal realities that are at the bottom of our soul. Hence, man enters a mentality that resembles a denial of reality. He gets drunk on all sorts of noises so as to forget who he is. Postmodern man seeks to anaesthetise his own atheism.’ – Cardinal Robert Sarah, ‘The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise’
‘The Father spoke one Word, which was his Son, and this Word he always speaks in the eternal silence, and in silence it must be heard by the soul.” – St John of the Cross
“Silence is not an absence. On the contrary, it is the manifestation of a presence, the most intense of all presences.” Cardinal Sarah
Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see.
O Thou, who changest not, abide with me!
I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the Tempter’s power?
Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, oh, abide with me!
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes,
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!
The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall hallow now our rest.
We thank Thee that Thy Church unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.
As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.
The sun, that bids us rest, is waking
Our brethren ‘neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.
So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
But stand, and rule, and grow for ever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.
Why should cross and trial grieve me?
Need I fear, Christ is near
Never will he leave me.
Who can rob me of the Heaven;
That God’s son for my own;
To my faith has given?
Thou a heavy cross I’m bearing;
And my heart feels the share,
shall I be despairing?
God, my Helper, who doth send it,
well doth know all my woe,
And how best to end it.
God oft gives me days of gladness,
Shall I grieve if he gives seasons too of sadness?
God is good, and tempers ever.
All my ill, and He will wholly leave me never.
(Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676)