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28    From Silence to Action

From silence to action ... naturally in a Quaker spirit. The Quaker is an active mystic and undertakes socio-religious works between one meeting for worship and the next. This spirit goes beyond exclusively feeding on the spiritual sustenance of silent worship, as pure mystics might do.

The works cover a wide range: from working in day care centres and schools of every kind and level, distributing educational tracts, taking and giving courses on world religions; or else helping those abandoned by society, those in prison, the alienated and mentally retarded; or again, opening dialogue between communities separated by religious, racial or national hatreds without siding with one or the other; or finally, mending the social fabric torn by the hurricanes of war and revolution.

It is not necessary to idealise with the enthusiasm of a neophyte Quaker works in the few centuries of their existence. Well-researched histories are full of accounts of their continuous involvement in service to humanity without regard to the quality of the people or their race or religion.

Silence is one way to find again the deep roots of human caring, but it is not yet action. After having used this tool and become aware of others' experience in many business meetings, Quakers can find ways to develop social and philanthropic activities best suited to their gifts and ideals.

Unfortunately the world has desperate and urgent needs and Friends know that they are little more than a drop in the ocean.

Verbania, 5 IX 1991

Translation by George T. Peck

[Original Italian]

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