Stay in silence
On the XVIth century in Spain, there stood a wonderful reformer of the Carmelite order named St John of the Cross. A great Christian mystic known for his spiritual writings and his deep commitment to silence. Form him comes a very famous sentence about how to relate to silence in our daily life oy prayer.
It says so: “The Father spoke one Word, which is his Son, and this Word he always repeats in eternal silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul” (Maxims and counsels, 21).
He suggests that the only word ever spoke by God himself is Jesus. In order to meet him, our soul must be silent. We don’t have any other alternative.
Now, let’s see how often it’s difficult for us to be silent in our very busy lives. Everything around us invites us to talk, to make some noise, sometimes to signify we are here, we are not absent. We live under the social pressure of talking and sharing the best version of who we can be. We feel rather awkward when silence disturbs our meetings, when se do not know anymore what to say or how to be in this particular moment.
This is where we have to chance to listen to these comfortable words from the prophet Isaiah, words from a beacon of light in the midst of the darkness.
Isaiah tells us this incredible story of what happened to him, how he finally became a prophet and how he started his mission of godly proclamation. The verse 5 says: “And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” he experiences what most of the people would say today, including myself here and now. What are we able to say on behalf of God, are we worthy to speak the words coming from the Lord? The answer is yes and no.
Because we all have sinner, no one is worthy of such an honour, but following the example of the prophet Isaiah, we have an idea of how God can minister through our unworthiness.
As we heard, Isaiah was shocked and perplexed to see the manifestation of the glory of the Lord, appearing right before his eyes. His reaction tells us a lot about what St John of the Cross says. The prophet remained silent before God, and in doing so, wad able to be TOUCHED by God, to turn his heart from the bondage of sin to the new life of repentance. This is why our soul needs to be silent. This is why Jesus spent lots of his time praying alone in silence on the mountain: our soul needs to listen to God, to listen to his voice, so that his Holy Spirit can really reach our hearts and put away all sins, all fear, all darkness and bigotry.
If we look at the Gospel, we see a human experience of God’s loving presence in a very similar way. A situation where Simon Peter was trying to catch fish, but was unsuccessful. Then came the words of Jesus which invite him to put his trust in him. After Simon Peter TRUSTED the words of Jesus he did what he wasn’t able to do a few moment before. He probably spent his whole day, even more days, trying to catch fish to feed his family, his friends, but without results.
So it is with our soul. To meet others is more about listening than talking, and the prophets and the apostles are rally aware of that. In the chaotic noise we endure around us, it becomes a necessity to remain in silence in order to be open minded, to let God be God into our lives and listen to his voice. From listening comes conversion, from conversion comes faith, and from faith comes love.
God is inviting us to let it go.
Let go of the noise which harasses us.
Let go anxiety and fear which break us.
Let go unrealistic dreams, to truly become who God wants us to be.
For God is calling us to his own reality, a reality where an eternal covenant is made between him and us, through the Cross. A reality, where we know how to act with justice and how to love, for our hearts have been touched by his Holy Spirit. A reality where we are able to remain silent, using the full potential that God entrusted to us.
This call to repentance isn’t restricted to a particular kind of person. It is the same for all of us. A call to love more and build relationships in Christ’s name.
As Isaiah, Simon Peter and all the apostles, who were ordinary people, we are called to become partakers of God’s holy mission, to get ready to listen, to not live under fear and hatred, but to be wonderfully transformed by the call God addresses us. Let us create space of time around us to live in love and listen to the challenging voice of God.