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Cor ad cor loquitur – Br. Geoffrey Tristram

As I was reflecting on the readings for today, these words from our Psalm 132 leapt off the page.  The Lord says about Zion: “This shall be my resting place for ever: here will I dwell, for I delight in her.”  I love the image of God having a resting place.  We often think of God as very active, the creator, the one who leaps down from on high, who saves, who redeems.  These words, ‘this shall be my resting place for ever’ remind us of the profound stillness at the heart of God.  The God who is before the God who does.  The God whose essential identify is expressed in those enigmatic words, I AM.

And if we desire to come to know the God who chooses a resting place for ever, we also need to find our resting place, to identify that profound stillness at the very heart of our being.  “So be still and know that I am God” says the Psalmist.(Ps 46:10)  But that is very difficult in our world where rest and stillness are hard to find and little valued – in our world where activity and doing are prized and rewarded.  When I speak to friends, sometimes friends in England on the phone, they usually ask – so how are you – what have you been doing?  There’s not always very much to say.  It doesn’t sound very interesting – go to church – go to church again, pray….

In an active world, it is hard sometimes to explain to others just what a monastery is about.  That, however imperfectly, we do try to offer a place where we brothers and you, our guests, and all who come here, may find a resting place, a place to be still, a place to keep silence and in that silence to hear the heartbeat of God – the heartbeat of the one who created us in his very image – and to listen to that great heart speaking to our heart: cor ad cor loquitur.

“This shall be my resting place for ever: here will I dwell, for I delight in her.”  May God bless this sacred place, and each one of us, that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us.

Amen.

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19 Comments

  1. Margaret Dungan on July 17, 2016 at 16:34

    Br.Geoffrey,
    Thank you again for these words.
    I am about to go on a weeks silent retreat and these are great words to take with me.
    Margaret.

  2. Bethany on July 17, 2016 at 06:39

    This definition is lovely, and compares to what and how an ashram is in India. While reading this post this morning, I had a major major awakening… After many years of struggling with questions about a male or female God… I suddenly felt deep in my bones, that if we are to use a personal pronoun when speaking of the Creator, it just has to be “she.”

    This personal epiphany is not written as a zealot or equal rights campaigner, but rather came from the depths of my own heart, and gave me a great sense of peace. I have said He for the 30 years I have been a Christian. Now, for at least the next 30 I will say She.

    Thank you for such a lovely posting and unexpected inspiration

  3. David Cranmer on November 23, 2015 at 12:34

    As I transition into retirement, I intend to learn to spend time being still before God. As a “doing” versus “being” person, this is something that has proved difficult for me in the past.

  4. Martha Paine on November 22, 2015 at 08:13

    Be still and know I am God has been my mantra for finding that stillness in the Lord that passeth all understanding. The breath of God comes as I slowly inhale and exhale and peace enters my body. Coming to SSJE monestary for retreat would be devine. Some day????
    C

  5. Pamela on November 20, 2015 at 13:06

    Thank you for this meditation. So difficult to do — to be still. Entering a new season of life, I am trying to figure out how to live now. I am searching for quietness, stillness and rest. Perhaps it is making intentional choices each day and choosing my priorities. Lord of all rest, please help us.

  6. Christopher Engle Barnhart on November 20, 2015 at 11:22

    I find that early morning is a time for me for silence and prayer. As an example, this morning I awoke at 2 am, read the liturgy for today and the meditation for today from Richard Rohr (Contemplation & Action). I find the stillness at this time give me rest and assurance. Generally, I will return to sleep for another couple of hours and wake refreshed and ready for a new day.

  7. MIchael on November 20, 2015 at 11:09

    The awe and mystery of silence is something to behold

  8. Roderic Brawn on November 20, 2015 at 09:56

    So we try to be “Humans begin” as God would have us.

  9. Florence, Uganda on November 19, 2015 at 22:59

    Thank you for your reflection on stillness and peace in the creator. I have on a few occasions tried to be still and experience or hear from God. But l get distractions… Martha seems to come easier than Mary. Funny it shld be easier to be still and rest but our nature is activity sometimes as a cover up for the discomfort within.
    May God grant us the peace and serenity to enjoy His rest. It is my desire and prayer for not just myself but many friends l know. Thank you again for the insights.

    • Christina McKerrow on November 20, 2015 at 10:02

      Florence: You are so far away – me in Canada – you in Uganda. But through SSJE we are close together. This may sound strange, but when I have been too busy for my own good, God comes to visit in the night. Perhaps two-to-three wakeful hours. I turn to Nan Merrill’s book:Psalms for Praying . I have a couple of short pieces memorized (memorization is a real struggle for me) No.1: As Br. Tristram quotes: Be still and know that I am God; No.2 based on Ps. 45 – “You are the lodestar for humankind. Grace springs forth from your Love. You are closer to me than my breath. Whisper to me in the silence. …. O beloved, speak to us in your glory and grandeur!.” And, breathe – not so easy to do to relax.
      Christina

  10. Darr Sigilman on August 2, 2015 at 19:31

    Rest is sometimes a very good thing. I very much like what I just read here on your website. I long so much for a mentor image and I have found this ssje.org website to be one thing I’m looking for.

  11. Margaret Dungan on July 27, 2015 at 16:40

    Thank you Br.Geoffrey
    Preserving the resting place is so important to everything that we do and you made a wonderful
    anchor to that resting place.

    Margaret.

  12. Annette Foisie OSL on July 27, 2015 at 11:44

    Dear Br. Tristram, In rest is my place of peace. Now that I am about to be 80, and have several chronic illnesses, i am slowing down from a busy life, and find myself in pure peace when I am at rest. In that state I sense the closeness of the Lord, and i hear Him whisper to me as I rest in His arms. Thanks be to God. Amen.

  13. Marie DiBello on July 27, 2015 at 10:46

    Trinity Wheaton is in process of Thrive program of Diocese of Chicago. I am trying to pull together spiritual practices for ministry. This resonated. Any suggestions to pull more prayer and examples together. Thanks so much. I am a daily subscriber. Blessings, Marie

  14. Jane Dowrick on July 27, 2015 at 10:12

    Thanks Br. Geoffrey – I am sharing today’s “Word” with the trainees at the Education for Ministry Conference here at Roslyn Center in Richmond VA. The message is especially helpful to those who have traveled a long way and are sleeping in unfamiliar rooms and beds, and who will, when they return to their small groups, need to be refreshed in order to help their participants hear God’s word and do God’s work. Blessings to you! Jane

  15. Anders on July 27, 2015 at 09:20

    Thank you for your thoughts on silence. In sharing your posts, you and your brothers are clearly doing the heavy lifting of silence for many of us. A life of go to church – go to church again, pray…. has perhaps all the same trappings of the rest of the world if you let it, as I let it in my routines. It’s when I can hear the heartbeat of God in the din of downtown Chicago and my children playing that I know that all is well, and then I may be reminded of your postings with gratitude.

  16. Nancy Gossling on July 27, 2015 at 08:58

    Greetings from Cape Cod Brother Geoffrey. My almost 93 year old mother, Louise, is resting at Hope Center (Hospice) in Sandwich until she returns home to her Creator. Thank you for your Word today about God’s heart, our hearts, and rest. Prayers too please for me, my brother Keith, sister Libby, as our hearts beat and rest with her and God.

  17. Marta e. on July 27, 2015 at 06:20

    Ah! A resting place of silence. Yet, so much work to get to “silence”. To chase away all the noise of the world, and the noise in our heads. Just breathing slowly, in, . . .and . out, . . . then even more slowly. Very quietly. Letting the good God come in with each breath, letting the noise go out with each release, . . out all the way. To find that place of peace with God. That silence keeps calling us, and we keep running away. . . .

    • Jennifer on July 29, 2015 at 07:18

      Beautifully said. We do keep running from the peace and silence, don’t we? Though out hearts crave them.

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