By Patrick Leigh Fermor
Whereas nonetheless undefined, Patrick Leigh Fermor made his means throughout Europe, as mentioned in his vintage memoirs, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. in the course of international struggle II, he fought with neighborhood partisans opposed to the Nazi occupiers of Crete. yet in A Time to maintain Silence, Leigh Fermor writes a couple of extra inward trip, describing his a number of sojourns in a few of Europe’s oldest and so much venerable monasteries. He remains on the Abbey of St. Wandrille, an excellent repository of paintings 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 priests 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 historical past or go back and forth magazine, besides the fact that, this gorgeous brief publication is a meditation at the that means of silence and solitude for contemporary lifestyles. Leigh Fermor writes, “In the seclusion of a cell—an lifestyles whose quietness is barely different through the silent foodstuff, the solemnity of formality, and lengthy solitary walks within the woods—the waters of the brain develop nonetheless and transparent, and masses that's hidden away and all that clouds it floats to the skin and will be skimmed away; and after a time one reaches a country of peace that's unthought of within the usual world.”
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Additional info for A Time to Keep Silence
The most remarkable preliminary symptoms were the variations of my need of sleep. After initial spells of insomnia, nightmare and falling asleep by day, I found that my capacity for sleep was becoming more and more remarkable: till the hours I spent in or on my bed vastly outnumbered the hours I spent awake; and my sleep was so profound that I might have been under the influence of some hypnotic drug. For two days, meals and the offices in the church—Mass, Vespers and Compline—were almost my only lucid moments.
But one monastic critic brought it rather sternly to task: I had picked up a superficial acquaintance with monastic matters while staying as a guest; to write about them was intrusive and indiscreet. It was an aspect which had not struck me as it ought to have done, but I saw at once and all too clearly what he meant. I was very downcast and I wrote to the same periodical with a rather clumsy apology; and this, soon afterwards, evoked a letter from a monk whom I had not met. Without contradicting any of the strictures, he inferred, with great tact and kindness, that his colleague had been severe in this instance and that the innocent intention was clear.
Our world is even more noisy than it was in the 1950s, when Leigh Fermor wrote this book: piped music and mobile phones jangle ceaselessly, and silence and solitude are shunned as alien and unnatural. We expect instant communication and seek knowledge at the click of a mouse. We are also living at a time of competing certainties and religious stridency. It is important to realize that there are more profound and authentic ways of being religious. Very few of us can be contemplative nuns or monks, but we can learn to appreciate their way of experiencing the sacred and integrate something of this gentle, silent discipline into our own lives.
A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor