Friday, August 31, 2007

Montecasale; Ah, Contemplazione!

Peace and Good!
I was sitting on the top of the mountain above the friary at Montecasale, admiring the beautiful view and the Creator of it all. I had been pretty much alone the entire afternoon, but as I sat on a log I saw a man approaching, with a hiking staff. With my little Italian and his little English, our conversation was short. We admired the view and the beauty, but when he saw I was a friar he said to me, respectfully, “Ah, contemplazione!” and smiling turned to leave me to my prayers.
What a great gift, to have someone understand the need for quiet prayer on the mountaintop, and to respect it. Sometimes it seems that what people want to do in this world is save themselves and others from silence. There are times when we can and should use our voices in the great gift of communication God has given us. At times a kind word or interested conversation is a gift to another. But, there are also times when we need to encourage one another in entering into the silence. The Church has always stressed that even in its communal prayer periods of silence are not only recommended, but a necessary part of the rhythm of prayer.
I think that is why Francis sought out such places and encouraged his friars to spend time in hermitages. To learn the gift of silence, and, as importantly, to share the gift of silence among themselves and with others. It isn’t easy to be quiet, to learn to listen to God, to open one’s life to contemplation. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it.
Ah, contemplazione!

God bless you all.

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