We are all on a spiritual journey in a complex world. On the way we encounter many distractions offering us quick solutions to the questions put to us by the very fact of living. And we are assailed by the noise of other peoples' certainties: the clamor of people insisting that they have found the answer to all our questions, the pretensions of religious systems, the claims of the adherents of this book or that - red us and all will be well. Quakers make an outrageous declaration: the Spirit is working in the heart of each human being and it is in the silence that we can hear its message most clearly. Listening to the Spirit in silence, we maintain, is the first stage on the path to a fulfilled and authentic existence.
I am very pleased that in this pamphlet Davide Melodia is sharing with us his reflections on silence. Davide does not come from the Anglo-Saxon trend in world Quakerism. It is encouraging that Quakerism is growing outside those confines and Davide is one of the voices proclaiming that the Religious Society of Friends has much to offer other cultures where Quakerism has had thus far little history. He has been a tireless champion of the Quaker way of worship for some years now. It is good to share in the fruits of his experience.
London Yearly Meeting
Encounter with Silent Worship
At an East/West dialogue on peace held in Brussels, I first met silence as a form of public worship - that is, silence beyond an individual's centering for prayer, confession, or meditation, which is certainly devotion, but not public worship. My practice of Quaker silence has since then become constant. I have developed a growing pattern of historical studies, living experiences within the Society of Friends, and attention to the myriad socio-religious activities in various parts of the world in which Friends have shown deep commitment and secured appreciable results.
My long standing habit of solitary meditation, whether for personal edification, prayer, or the need to prepare an evangelical message for a Protestant group, has been translated during these recent years into a desire to write. I turn to writing to communicate the fruits of my meditations - not so much a preaching as an elaboration of thoughts growing out of silent worship.
Thus has been born this collection of meditations focused on silence.
[Next meditation - this translation]
[index to this translation by George T. Peck]
[index to the revised translation]