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9    Religion and Silence

Religion is the seeking out of a special relationship with God through prayer, meditation, study, preaching, worship, and silent worship.

Sometimes, out of this process come rituals that have some meaning for people. Together, people use them to create an atmosphere that helps people lift their thoughts and come to their senses. There are those who cannot do without such forms of worship. But where the form is used in place of meditation, or affects it; where human words come in front of the Spirit; when the words of Holy Scripture are abused; when Scripture is used against someone, to destroy or to appear superior, and not constructively — then we are no longer in the presence of true religion.

Someone who uses colour, sound, form, movement, and other gifts of God, pretending to create a stairway to heaven out of his own resources can, even involuntarily and in good faith, be raising an invisible barrier between humanity and God himself.

Silent worship is a way to avoid from the outset the risk that liturgical forms invented by people may intervene between creatures and their Creator, hindering them from finding the light of the divine inner spark. Even so, the silent worship group is not the only time for carrying forward the search for the divine light, that a renewed relationship with the Spirit of Christ can relight.

Also, away from the worshipping group, silence can, like prayer, become a bridge between human solitude and God, allowing the former to be transformed into an instrument for raising spiritual awareness.

Once a new relationship with the Spirit has been established, it is very easy for daily life all the time to be transformed into something interesting and positive, such as bearing witness, acting in solidarity with yesterday's enemies in ways that were unthinkable, in a spirit that is ecumenical, inter-faith, interracial and cross-cultural.

Everywhere, in the atmosphere of spiritual and social peace, of equilibrium and equanimity, brought about by silent worship — in the group or alone — God, who has never abandoned any of his creatures, makes His voice heard in His own way.

Livorno, 7 IV 1987

English text by Simon Grant, based on the translation by George T. Peck revised 2008-02-13
[Original Italian by Davide Melodia]

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