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Silent Sunday

Fathers Day Youth Day

Fathers Day Youth Day

This Sunday, 16 June 2024, is an overlap in South Africa of Father's Day and Youth Day. In this reflection we explore what this intersection means in the way we express open-heartedness, compassion and justice.

Opening music:

Open my heartRuth Cunningham
00:00 / 03:32


Open my heart,

Open my heart

Introduction Talk:

Quiet Prayer

You can choose between a ten minute guided prayer for softening and opening the heart, or twenty minutes of quiet prayer using the timer below.

10 minute Guided Prayer: Softening the HeartGuided
00:00 / 10:06
20 minute MeditationSilent
00:00 / 20:28

Listen to the following music as an ending to the time of prayer:

Heart of FleshAlana Levandoski
00:00 / 03:52


Remove from us these hearts of stone,

And give to us a heart of flesh.

Pour out, pour out, pour out,

Pour it all out.

Sacred Reading:

Read the following readings through twice or three times, with an attitude of open receptivity. Allow a few minutes of silence between the readings. Listen for any words that call out to you, or that draw you into the sacredness of silence that is deeper than your usual knowing:

Reading 1: 

Luke 6:27-28 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Reading 2:

1 John 4:7-8, 18  “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. … There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.”

Reading 3:

Thich Nhat Hanh: "Understanding and Love are not two separate things, but just one. To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you cannot help but love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people."

For Further Reflection:

Below are the quotes from the talk and some additional quotes for you to take this theme further.

Centre for Christogenesis: "There is a transcendent power of love operating within us that, if understood and accessed properly, can help us foster the collective wisdom, compassion, and resilience necessary to save ourselves and our planet."

Fr Gregory Boyle:

Radical kinship is the only thing that mattered to Jesus"

Unless there’s a connective tissue, born of tenderness, which is the highest level of spiritual maturity, otherwise love stays in the air or in our hearts or in our heads. Unless love becomes tender, there’s nothing that connects us to each other. And that’s God’s dream come true: that you may be one. How do you obliterate once and for all the illusion that we are separate?”

“We imagine, with God, this circle of compassion. Then we imagine no one standing outside of that circle, moving ourselves closer to the margins so that the margins themselves will be erased. We stand there with those whose dignity has been denied. We locate ourselves with the poor and the powerless and the voiceless. At the edges, we join the easily despised and the readily left out. We stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. We situate ourselves right next to the disposable so that the day will come when we stop throwing people away.”

Thomas Merton: "The more I am able to affirm others, to say “yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone."

Richard Rohr: "The True Self does not teach us compassion as much as it is compassion already. And from this more spacious and grounded place, one naturally connects, empathizes, forgives, and loves just about everything. We were made in love, for love, and unto love."

Meister Eckhart: "God does not seek God's own interest. In every act God is unencumbered and free, and accomplishes them out of genuine love. The person united with God behaves in the same way.”

David Korten: "The old economy of greed and domination is dying. A new economy of life and partnership is struggling to be born. The outcome is ours to choose."

Ending Prayer:

We pray for fathers everywhere that they may father their children well,

And may we all widen our embrace of compassion to include the most marginalised, 

So that the margins themselves will be erased.

We ask your blessing on our country as we move into a new and unknown future.

Bless our youth with hope, dignity, and a deep sense of belonging.

God bless Africa,

Guide her leaders,

Guard her children,

And bring her peace.


Ending music:

Thula Sizwe
00:00 / 05:15

Song lyrics:

Thulasizwe ungabokhala

U Jehova wakho uzokunqobela

(repeat 3 times)

Inkululeko, inkululeko

u Jehova wakho uzokunqobela

(repeat 3 times)


English translation:

Be still, people, be comforted,

Your Jehovah will protect you

Be free, be free,

Your Jehovah will protect you


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Sharon's book that was previously called "Contemplative Living" has been republished by AnamChara Books under the title "Deeper: Finding the Depth Dimension Beneath the Surface of Life". The Kindle version is available from Amazon, and the hard copy version can be ordered from or Takealot, or from your local bookshop through Ingram Distribution.

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