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If indeed the spiritual life is essentially a hidden life, how do we protect this hiddenness in the midst of a very public life?   The two most important ways to protect our hiddenness are solitude and poverty.  Solitude allows us to be alone with God.  There we experience that we belong not to people, not even to those who love us and care for us, but to God and God alone.  Poverty is where we experience our own and other people’s weakness, limitations, and need for support.  To be poor is to be without success, without fame, and without power.  But there God chooses to show us God’s love.

Both solitude and poverty protect the hiddenness of our lives.
Emphasis mine

Our being is silent, but our existence is noisy. Our actions tend to be noisy, but when they stop, there is a ground of silence which is always there. …Silence is greatly symbolic in our time.

Real silence is not isolation.

Merton. Thomas. The Springs of Contemplation: A Retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani (Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 1992), 18- 19.

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