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What is Trappist Monasticism? (Pt2)

January 15, 2008

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A Trappist’s commitment to silence is a monastic value which assures solitude in community. It fosters mindfulness of God and fraternal communion. It opens the mind to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and favours attentiveness of heart and solitary prayer to God. Early monastic communities evolved simple hand signing for essential communications . Today spoken conversations between monks are permitted but limited according to the norms established by the community, and approved by the Order.

Notes:

1. “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.” –Psalm 62

2. Silence is the mystery of the world to come. Speech is the organ of this present world… More than all things love silence: it brings you a fruit that the tongue cannot describe. In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then from our very silence is born something that draws us into deeper silence. May God give you an experience of this ‘something’ that is born of silence. If you practice this, inexpressible light will dawn upon you.” –Issac of Ninive.

3. “The chief function of monastic silence is then to preserve that memoria Dei which is much more than just “memory.” It is a total consciousness and awareness of God which is impossible without silence, recollection, solitude and a certain withdrawal.” –Thomas Merton, Monastic Life.

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