[The Lord of Silence: general index]

9    Religion and Silence

Religion is the search for an individual relationship with God through prayer, meditation, study, preaching, ritual, and silent worship.

Sometimes religion produces attractive rituals shared by a community to create an atmosphere of elevation and re-entrance into oneself. There are those who cannot do without such forms of worship. Where, however, the form conditions or replaces meditation, where human words prevail over the Spirit, when the words of Holy Scripture are used in an abusive manner to bully or destroy and not to build - then we are no longer in the presence of true religion. Whoever uses colours and sounds, forms and movements, and other gifts of God under the illusion of building a staircase to God out of his own resources, can raise, even involuntarily and in good faith, an invisible barrier between humanity and God himself.

In its nature silent worship avoids the risk that liturgical forms invented by man may intervene between the creature and the Creator, hindering the worshipper from finding the light that comes from the divine inner spark. Yet group worship in silence is not the only time in which search for divine light can result in illuminating a newfound relationship with the Spirit of Christ. Outside of meeting for worship silence can like prayer become a bridge between human loneliness and God. People can be transformed into instruments for spiritual awakening.

Once a new relationship to the Spirit has been realised, daily life can easily be transformed into something continually interesting and positive. In heretofore unexpected ways witnessing can lead to acts of solidarity with the enemies of yesterday in an ecumenical spirit which is both interracial and transcultural.

Everywhere in the atmosphere of spiritual and social peace induced by silent worship, whether in community or alone, God who has never abandoned any of his creatures makes His voice heard in His way.

Livorno, 7 IV 1987

Translation by George T. Peck

[Original Italian]

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