More from Nouwen … on silence and words

Continuing on the theme of silence and words (from the previous post), Nouwen quotes the Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu:

“The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten. The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of the word is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to.”

Then he references Diadochus of Photiki:

“When the door of the steambath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes through it; likewise the soul, in its desire to say many things, dissipates its remembrance of God through the door of speech, even though everything it says may be good. Thereafter, the intellect, though lacking appropriate ideas, pours out a welter of confused thoughts to anyone it meets …”

One recalls another great theologian, Bruce Cockburn … in his song “Burden of the Angel/Beast” he says:

Those who know don’t have the words to tell
And the ones with the words don’t know too well

These are the warnings I carry in mind and heart today as I go out to share words …