Thursday, May 18, 2017

Back to the Edge of My Knowing

I once dreamed I was in an urban neighborhood at dusk, making my way across back yards crammed with people. The yards were narrow strips of land belonging to detached rowhouses standing side by side. Everyone appeared to be waiting for something; perhaps a baseball game, or fireworks on the fourth of July. Sounds of traffic surrounded us all.

My trek from yard to yard was halted when I reached a building extending farther back than the others. It looked like any other building, but I knew it was a church. There was an entrance facing me; a small, humble, very plain side door. I opened it and stepped inside.

The interior was larger than I expected. Dark, cool, with walls and floors of deep reds and browns.  Every surface gleamed with a warm patina, like stones worn smooth during years of prayer.

The overall sense was of a cavern, one lit only with candles. Small clusters of burning white tapers kept vigil along the long walls.

By now it was dark outside, and I knew the people were still out there, still packed in, still noisy, still waiting. From inside, however, I could no longer hear them. There were no more sounds of traffic. I knew only silence, and subtle scents of incense and beeswax, and a gently growing awareness of someone here, on the edge of my knowing.

I had thought I was alone, all by myself in this silent church. Yet now I knew an unseen sense of Presence.

He was in this place; of course He was.  I'd only needed to come away for a moment from the noise, so I could hear Him. I needed to be where His silence filled the air.

He had been waiting for me to stop and listen.

He had been waiting all along.

"I have a secret dwelling place, a sanctuary closed to the world and occupied by God alone, where I can always say 'O my God! I belong to You!' Neither afflictions, nor tempests, nor the clamour of the world, can tear me away from this secret abode, from this hidden Sanctuary where I can always converse with God, in a mysterious friendship which is the beginning of Heaven." (The Living Pyx of Jesus, Pelligrini, 1941, p. 95) 

'To be with God it is not necessary to be always in church. We may make a chapel of our heart, whereto to escape from time to time to talk with Him quietly, humbly and lovingly.... Begin then; perhaps He is waiting for a single generous resolution.' (Brother Lawrence)

'We are, each of us, a Living Cathedral. Each is his own chapel. And provided we are in a state of grace, God lives and dwells within us… we must live and act as if we were dwelling in a church in the presence of the Tabernacle.” (The Living Pyx of Jesus) 

This is a slightly edited repost from our archives. It is linked to Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for 'It's Worth Revisiting.'   

Photo: Kitaev Hermitage. Click here for full attribution.


  1. Nancy!This is so like a "watershed" dream I had many years ago. I don't remember reading your original post on this would have stood out to me if I had! Such dreams are not ordinary..they are full of the force of God..heavy with meaning and direction for our lives. I am so moved as you have taken me again into the secret chapel waiting for me in the silence of that night. Trish xxxx

    1. "Full of the force of God..." yes, there are dreams like that. Thanks be to God, and thank you for sharing.

  2. God Bless You for this place you have created to share! What blessings you share and bestow! We all of us here cloister together in the world; for this companionable community I am grateful.

    1. Isn't it an amazing blessing to be able to cloister together in the world? No matter where we happen to be geographically! God be praised. Thank you, Sabrina.


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