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Posted July 30, 2014

Book: Silent Compassion: Finding God in Contemplation
Author: Richard Rohr
Franciscan Media. Cincinnati. OH. 2014. Pp. 81

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

In Silent Compassion, Rohr focuses on finding God in the depths of silence and shares that divine silence is more than the absence of noise. That silence has a life of its own. We are invited into its living presence and the wholesomeness of being and peace it brings. This silence can absorb paradoxes, contradictions, and the challenges of life, Rohr says, connecting us with the great chain of being. Rohr adds that while different faiths use different languages and different words, all major religions have come at the mystery of God as a dynamic flow --- God as communion, God as relationships. Silence then becomes that common place for all.

An Excerpt from the Book:

We must find a way to return to this place, to live in this place, to abide in this place of inner silence. Outer silence means very little if there is not a deeper inner silence. Everything else appears much clearer as it appears or emerges out of a previous silence. And when I use the word appear, I mean it takes on reality, substance, significance, or meaning. Without silence around a thing, which is a mystery, almost nothing has meaning or meaning that lasts. It is just another event in a sequence of ever-quicker events, which we call our lives.

Without silence, we do not really experience our experiences. We have many experiences, but they do not have the power to change us, to awaken us, to give us that joy that the world cannot give, as Jesus says.

To live in this primordial, foundational being itself, which I am calling silence, creates a kind of sympathetic resonance with what is right in front of us. Without it, we just react. We are just Mexican jumping beans, reacting instead of responding. Without some degree of silence, we are never living, never tasting, as there is not much capacity to enjoy, or to appreciate, or to taste the moment. The opposite of contemplation is not action, it is reaction. We must wait for pure action, which always proceeds from a contemplative silence.

Table of Contents:

1. Finding God in the depths of silence

2. Sacred silence, pathway to compassion

3. The true self is compassion, love itself

4. Looking out in prayer with contemplative eyes

5. The path to non-dual thinking

Appendix A time line of mysticism