By Patrick Leigh Fermor
Whereas nonetheless undefined, Patrick Leigh Fermor made his method throughout Europe, as mentioned in his vintage memoirs, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. in the course of global conflict II, he fought with neighborhood partisans opposed to the Nazi occupiers of Crete. yet in A Time to maintain Silence, Leigh Fermor writes a few extra inward trip, describing his numerous sojourns in a few of Europe’s oldest and so much venerable monasteries. He remains on the Abbey of St. Wandrille, an outstanding repository of artwork and studying; at Solesmes, well-known for its revival of Gregorian chant; and at the deeply ascetic Trappist monastery of l. a. Grande Trappe, the place clergymen take a vow of silence. eventually, he visits the rock monasteries of Cappadocia, hewn from the stony spires of a moonlike panorama, the place he seeks a few hint of the lifetime of the earliest Christian anchorites.
More than a background or shuttle magazine, although, this gorgeous brief booklet is a meditation at the which means of silence and solitude for contemporary lifestyles. Leigh Fermor writes, “In the seclusion of a cell—an lifestyles whose quietness is just different by way of the silent nutrients, the solemnity of formality, and lengthy solitary walks within the woods—the bothered waters of the brain develop nonetheless and transparent, and lots more and plenty that's hidden away and all that clouds it floats to the outside and will be skimmed away; and after a time one reaches a nation of peace that's unthought of within the traditional world.”
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It began to rain over the woods outside, and a mood of depression and of unspeakable loneliness suddenly felled me like a hammer-stroke. On the inner side of my door, the printed “Rules for the Guests’ Wing” contained a mass of cheerless information. , with the offices of Matins and Lauds, followed by periods for private masses and reading and meditation. A guest’s day began at 8:15 with the office of Prime and breakfast in silence. At 10 the Conventual High Mass was sandwiched between Tierce and Sext.
The answer is—if the truth of the Christian religion and the efficacy of prayer are both dismissed as baseless—no more than any other human beings who lead a good life, make (for they support themselves) no economic demands on the community, harm no one and respect their neighbours. But, should the two principles be admitted—particularly, for the purposes of this particular theme, the latter—their power for good is incalculable. Belief in this power, and in the necessity of worshipping God daily and hourly, is the mainspring of Benedictine life.
Death, when it came, would be the easiest of change-overs. The silence, the appearance, the complexion and the gait of ghosts they had already; the final step would be only a matter of detail. “And then,” I continued to myself, “when the golden gates swing open with an angelic fanfare, what happens then? Won’t these quiet people feel lost among streets paved with beryl and sardonyx and jacinth? ” The Abbey was now fast asleep but it seemed ridiculously early—about the moment when friends in Paris (whom I suddenly and acutely missed) were still uncertain where to dine.
A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor