Sunday, December 29, 2013

out with the old, in with the new . . .

“The end of one year is a good time to reflect in silence and solitude in order to fuel heart, mind, soul and body for the new one that approaches.”  }:-  anonemoose

December 29
PSALM 23    GENESIS 5:21-24    REVELATION 3:1-6
As I sit here and try to rethink and meditate on what I have written about the poustinia, I honestly wonder if I can say 'Amen' just yet. My purpose was to explain the poustinia vocation as found in Russia, in my own life and in the life of the Madonna House. But, when you come right down to it, the poustinia is not a place at all - and yet it is. It is a stage, a vocation, belonging to all Christians by baptism.
It is a vocation to be a contemplative.
There will always be 'solitaries', or should be. But the essence of the poustinia is that it is a place within oneself, a result of baptism, where each of us contemplates the Trinity. Within my heart, within me, I am or should be constantly in the presence of God. This is another way of saying that I live in a garden enclosed where I walk and talk with God (though a Russian would say 'where all in me is silent and where I am immersed in the silence of God'). It's as if I were sitting next to God in complete silence, although there are always many other people around. (Like a husband and wife being in a private silence and solitude even though they are at a party and the room is filled with people.)
How stumbling words are! How inadequate the similes! Yet the poustinia is something like this to me: a state of contemplating God in silence.
December 30
PSALM 39:1-3   
The poustinia is within, and one is forever immersed in the silence of God, forever listening to the word of God, forever repeating it to others in word and deed. Thus everything that I have said about the physical poustinia, about trying to adapt it to the West, can be said about every Christian everywhere. The poustinia is this inner solitude, this inner immersion in the silence of God. It is through this inner, total identification with humanity and with Christ that every Christian should be living in a state of contemplation. This is the poustinia within oneself.
I don't know if all this makes any sense. It does to me. It is only in identifying with Christ, it is only by plunging into the great silence of God within myself that I can love others and identify with them.
It is by listening to the great silence of God, and having this strange, passive dialogue in which I become aware of the silence which is the speech of God - it is only by listening to this that I am able to speak to my brother. It is only by listening to this silence that I can acquire the ingenuity of love, the delicacy of Christ in my human relationships.  In this silence I become identified with Christ, I acquire a listening heart.
December 31   John Wycliffe (see p. 142)            
PSALM 97:1-6   EXODUS 3:1-6  ACTS 2:1-11, 16-21
The poustinia is a state of constantly being in the presence of God because one desires Him with a great desire, because in Him alone one can rest. The poustinia is walking in this inner solitude, immersed in the silence of God. My life of service and love to my fellowman is simply the echo of this silence and solitude.
Inwardly I identify myself with God and with humanity. Jesus Christ Himself conducts me into this inner silence, into that solitude which speaks so loudly to the Father under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Now I am immersed in the Trinity, in the fire of the silence of God (for the silence of God is always fire; His speech is fire). Now I become as one on fire with love of Him and of all humanity across the world. Now it is not I who speak. I speak what God tells me to speak. When my immersion into this immense silence has finally caught fire from His words, then I am able to speak. I can speak because His voice is sounding loudly and clearly in my ears, which have been emptied of everything except Him.
Now only His name is on my heart, constantly; it has become my heartbeat.

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