Saturday, December 22, 2012

No more words

I come home from the 
soaring in which I lost myself.
I was song, and the refrain which is God 
is still roaring in my ears.

Now I am still 
and plain:
No more words.

— Rainer Marie Rilke (translated by Joanne Macy and Anita Barrows)

I've emerged from the roaring of the semester, stepped out of the torrents of song.  It might not be as mystical an experience as Rilke is evoking here, but like Karl Rahner, S.J. who writes (in Encounters with Silence)"if there is any path at all on which I can approach You, it must lead through the middle of my very ordinary daily life" the daily is all that I have — a pragmatic mysticism.

I am still and plain at the moment.  Hobbled by my injured ankle, I am stilled.  No mad last minute Christmas shopping dashes for me.  I am plain, dressed in what accommodates the orthopedic boot which cradles my left ankle.  And I have no words.  On Thursday night, my voice inexplicably and inexorably began to vanish.

It is making me think of those last stages of labor, when you can't speak through the contractions any longer. I think of Mary laboring to give birth, her verbal "fiat" now silenced, she has now surrendered utterly and wordlessly to the workings of God within her.

So I am silent for now.  To see what worlds are forming in my heart.

All creatures are doing their best
to help God in His birth
of Himself.

Enough talk for the night.
He is laboring in me;

I need to be silent
for a while,

worlds are forming
in my heart.

— Meister Eckhart in Expands his being (trans. by Daniel Landinsky in Love Poems from God)


  1. So sorry that you are injured and that you are voiceless - that will present a challenge when you need to ask for something.

    I'm feeling inexplicably wordless at this point in Advent as well. This year the anticipation of Christ's birth has been very intense for me and I am very still as I wait. I know that the next few days will not afford me the stillness that I desire but I am grateful for the gift of family with whom I will spend the next few days. It is always a struggle - that desire to be alone with God and the desire to be present for family. But both are gifts which are to be treasured.

    Prayers for your quick recovery and a wonderful celebration of the birth of our Lord.

    1. Lynda, I keep scribbling notes on the kitchen board and my iPad. Much to the amusement of my team of guys.

      I hope you can find pockets of silence amidst the celebration...I treasure the time with family, but also appreciate the times I can find for a moment of quiet!

      Merry Christmas, may grace and peace abound!

  2. Thanks for the reflection and for the birthday card in December. I will expect a Christmas card in July.