That Kind of Silence

Michael McAlister Blog Leave a Comment

In a letter to God, guardian.co.uk‘s Mark Vernon wants to uncover the depth of true Silence. The kind that Thomas Aquinas uncovered on 6th December 1273 when he uttered his final “Ite missa est” (the mass is ended) and then left the altar for good.

He [Aquinas] told his friend Reginald that he would not write another word. Moreover, all the words that he had written up to that point, now seemed like as much straw to him.You know what he meant. We can’t quite be sure. However, my best guess is this. Straw was a metaphor for “basic stuff”

Perhaps it is from this silence, about which Mr. Vernon asks, that the Infinite “speaks” to us most profoundly; where we are no longer concerned with being good Christians, or Buddhists, but instead become actual Christs and actual Buddhas.

Maybe Ludwig von Wittgenstein sums it up best:

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

Simply shutting up while being still offers us this most simple, and yet most profound of insights. But it takes practice. Realization of the Eternal shows us what is immediately and always prior to the flow of time, but glimpsing this isn’t an endpoint. It’s a beginning. At each and every moment.

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