From John Main OSB, “The Silence of Love,” WORD MADE FLESH (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2006), pp. 29-30.
Language is so weak in explaining the fullness of the mystery. That is why the absolute silence of meditation is so supremely important. We do not try to think of God, talk to God or imagine God.
We stay in that awesome silence open to the eternal silence of God. We discover in meditation, through practice and taught daily by experience, that this is the natural ambience for all of us. We are created for this and our being flourishes and expands in that eternal silence.
“Silence” as a word, however, already falsifies the experience and perhaps deters many people, because it suggests some negative experience, the deprivation of sound or language. People fear that the silence of meditation is regressive. But experience and tradition teach us that the silence of prayer is not the pre-linguistic but the post-linguistic state in which language has completed its task of pointing us through and beyond itself and the whole realm of mental consciousness. The eternal silence is not deprived of anything nor does it deprive us of anything. It is the silence of love, of unqualified and unconditional acceptance. We rest there with our Father who invites us to be there, who loves us to be there and who has created us to be there. [. . . .]
We know ourselves to be loved and so we love. Meditation is concerned with completing this cycle of love. By our openness to the Spirit who dwells in our hearts, and who in silence is loving to all, we begin the journey of faith. We end in faith because there is always a new beginning to the eternal dance of being-in-love.
After Meditation, from THE BEST OF MEISTER ECKHART, ed, by H. Backhouse (New York: Crossroad, 1996), p. 138.
Whose are the prayers God always hears? Whoever worships God as God, God hears. But the person who worships God for worldly goods, worships not God: he worships what he worships God for, and employs God as his servant to help him get it. As St Augustine puts it: “What you love you worship; true prayer, real prayer, is nothing but loving.”