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Anthony Bloom was best known as a writer and broadcaster on prayer and the Christian life. He was a monk and Metropolitan bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was founder and for many years bishop - then archbishop, then metropolitan - of the Diocese of Sourozh, the Patriarchate of Moscow's diocese for Great Britain and Ireland (the name 'Sourozh' is that of the historical episcopal see in Sudak in the Crimea). As a bishop he became well-known as a pastor, preacher, spiritual director and writer on prayer and the Christian life.

Discipleship begins with silence and listening.

When we listen to someone,

we think we are silent because we do not speak;

but our minds continue to work,

our emotions react,

our wills respond for or against what we hear;

we may even go further than this ,

with feelings and thoughts buzzing in our heads

which are quite unrelated to what is being said.

The real silence towards which we must aim as a starting-point

is a complete repose of mind and heart and will,

the complete silence of all there is in us,

so that we may be completely aware of the word we are receiving,

completely alert,

and yet in complete repose.

The silence I am speaking of

is the silence of the sentry on duty at a critical moment;

alert, immobile, poised, and yet alive to every sound, every movement.

This living silence is what discipleship requires first of all,

and this is not achieved without effort.

It requires from us a training of our attention,

a training of our body,

a training of our mind and our emotions,

so that they are kept in check,

completely and perfectly.


Teach me to listen, O God,

to those nearest me,

my family, my friends, my co-workers.

Help me to be aware that no matter what words I hear,

the message is, "Accept the person I am.

Listen to me."

Teach me to listen, My Caring God,

to those far from me -

the whisper of the hopeless,

the plea of the forgotten,

the cry of the anguished.

Teach me to listen, O Blessed Mother, to myself.

Help me to be less afraid,

to trust the voice inside, in the deepest part of me.

Teach me to listen, Holy Spirit, for your voice -

in busyness and in boredom,

in certainty and in doubt,

in noise and in silence.

Teach me, O God, to listen.

God is the friend of silence.

In prayer and silence God will speak to you.

In silence, we find new energy and unity.

Silence gives us a new look on everything.

Saint Teresa of Avila

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