The old Celtic, or Kell, word for prayer literally meant 'the quiet of Christ'. Silence observed Thomas Carlyle, 'is the element in which great things fashion themselves together.' The Celtic Christian learned the value of silence from the desert Fathers and Mothers.
Cuthbert, who, in the busy life of Lindisfarne, would on occasion snatch hours for prayer from the still nights, finally entered into the "desert" of the Inner Farne island, which one can see from the southern shore of Lindisfarne. Venerable Bede tells us that Cuthbert was delighted that 'after a long and spotless active life he should be thought worthy to ascend to the stillness of Divine contemplation.' The anonymous monk who wrote the original Life of Cuthbert while in community at Lindisfarne, makes the point that Cuthbert succeeded in living a contemplative life in the midst of a most active life.
There is a contemplative in all of us, which we sometimes discover when we get away from the routine or the hustle and bustle of our every day lives. Michael Burden discovered a way of contemplating after he retired to Holy Island. Each morning he would gather driftwood fro the shores, which he thought of as 'a gift from the sea, carried by nature, to reveal the hidden truths', and he crafted those pieces into 'driftwood icons'. He has given us the following prayer:
"Lord Jesus Christ, our God and King, enlighten and direct the mind of your servant as s/he comes to contemplate the driftwood you have allowed to be washed up upon the shore of Holy Island. As you took body in the womb of the Blessed Virgin for the salvation of humankind, so may I take the spiritual body in the womb created by this contemplation, so that I can experience eternity and rest in Your tranquility."