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By Patrick Leigh Fermor

Whereas nonetheless undefined, Patrick Leigh Fermor made his approach throughout Europe, as acknowledged in his vintage memoirs, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. in the course of global battle 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, a good 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 priests take a vow of silence. ultimately, 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 heritage or go back and forth magazine, besides the fact that, this gorgeous brief booklet 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 simply assorted by way of the silent nutrition, the solemnity of formality, and lengthy solitary walks within the woods—the 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 is significant that the monastic life follows a similar pattern all the world over. People have found, by trial and error, that certain practices are efficacious and that others are not. The monks’ monotonous way of life has been deliberately designed to protect them from the distractions of, and the lust for, novelty: they do the same things day after day; they dress alike and shun individuality and personal style. They keep almost perpetual silence, so that their attention is directed within.

Life, for a monk, is shorter than the flutter of an eyelid in comparison to eternity, and this fragment of time flits past in the worship of God, the salvation of his soul, and in humble intercession for the souls of his fellow exiles from felicity. Their values have remained stable while those of the world have passed through kaleidoscopic changes. It is curious to hear, from the outside world in the throes of its yearly metamorphoses, cries of derision levelled at the monastic life. How shallow, whatever views may be held concerning the fundamental truth or fallacy of the Christian religion, are these accusations of hypocrisy, sloth, selfishness and escapism!

The two ways of life do not share a single attribute; and the thoughts, ambitions, sounds, light, time and mood that surround the inhabitants of a cloister are not only unlike anything to which one is accustomed, but in some curious way, seem its exact reverse. The period during which normal standards recede and the strange new world becomes reality is slow, and, at first, acutely painful. To begin with, I slept badly at night and fell asleep during the day, felt restless alone in my cell and depressed by the lack of alcohol, the disappearance of which had caused a sudden halt in the customary monsoon.

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