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6    Silence and Sanctity?

All exaggerations are dangerous. Too high an opinion of a tool can make it seem greater than it really is: a means to reach an end, a lever to lift from one level to another. A fork can bring food to the mouth, but is not to be taken as food.

If silence were a guarantee of sanctity, or sanctity itself, then noise, confusion, and the highest decibel level could be automatically identified with sin or damnation.

It is true only that silence, or a similarly centred approach to religion, makes it easier to listen to the voice of the Spirit, to get in touch with one's deepest essence, and with God.

One cannot absolutely condemn as sinful each and every situation other than silence, even because there have been and there are in the world sincere forms of religious piety, which involve planned songs, prayers, and exclamations, which suit those who use them and are valuable in lifting them up to God.

How many times, even for those who have chosen silence as their main form of worship, contact with the Spirit has come in other ways! These are also blessed for the peace they bring and the fruit they give.

It is not necessary to kiss the stones of the road that one travels to reach God, but rather to thank God for having let us find the road and travel on it without polluting it.

Livorno, 20 XI 1986

Truth is love in expression,
Goodness, love in action,
Beauty, love in realisation.
Vices, error, and ignorance, unconscious love;
Pain and the reaction to it awakens Wisdom, unconscious love.

Tagore, The Hour of Being

English text by Simon Grant, based on the translation by George T. Peck
[Original Italian by Davide Melodia]

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Please send any suggestions for alternative translations of any of these meditations to Simon Grant.