This week marks the first Encountering Silence “Field Recording” in which one member of our team (in this case, Cassidy Hall) records a face-to-face interview with a person whose life is deeply engaged with silence. Today’s episode features Cassidy in conversation with a Benedictine monk, Fr. Stephanos Pedrano, OSB.
Father Stephanos is a monk of Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, California. The Encountering Silence team met Fr. Stephanos online, through a small social media group for artists, writers, and others who explore the intersection between art, spirituality, justice, and authenticity. In that context Fr. Stephanos is a voice of calm, deep spirituality, and good humor. Since he lives so close to Cassidy Hall, it seemed natural for her to pay him a visit, and during her time at the monastery, to record the interview which we are now sharing with you as our 11th episode. Even though this is the third episode to feature an interview on the podcast, it is actually the first interview to have been recorded (back in October of last year).
Fr. Stephanos tells his story, from his early yearning for liturgy and community, to discovering intentional silence through prayer, to eventually discerning his call to monastic life — which in turn took him to the threshold of silence. He reflects on how the wisdom of Saint Benedict has shaped the monastic experience of silence, and the relationship between silence and love. He goes on to talk about Mother Teresa — a modern saint who “suffered” the silence of God, whose voice fell into absence as she responded to her vocation to serve the poorest of the poor.
He explores some of the “silent wisdom” of the Rule of Saint Benedict, such as can be found in Benedict’s twelve steps of humility — which on the surface seems so counterintuitive to the values of our age, but actually points to treasures such as the spiritual beauty of silencing one’s own ego, in response to the love of God. Fr. Stephanos also explores why the word “contemplation” never appears in the Rule of Saint Benedict, and also talks about the heart of lectio divina, the deeply contemplative monastic practice of meditative reading of scripture, and how silence has given him insight into the dynamics of his own personality — and into love.
Monks are men of silence, but they are also men of many words… primarily the Psalms. — Fr. Stephanos Pedranos
Some of the resources and authors mentioned in this episode:
- Thomas Merton, Essential Writings
- The Liturgy of the Hours
- The Rule of Saint Benedict
- Mary Oliver, Devotions: The Selected Poems
- Mother Teresa, Come Be My Light
- Michael Casey, Sacred Reading: the Ancient Art of Lectio Divina
In the picture we see Cassidy and Fr. Stephanos enjoying a beer from the Almanac Beer Company, a California microbrewery.
Episode 10: Silence in the Cloister: A Conversation with Fr. Stephanos Pedrano, OSB
Hosted by: Cassidy Hall
Introduced by: Kevin Johnson
Guest: Fr. Stephanos Pedrano, OSB
Date Recorded: October 25, 2017