We can easily fear silence, for silence can have the appearance of emptiness. Who is comfortable with a void? Who likes free-falling? Such discomfort and fear incline us then to fill the void.
In comes social media. Nothing seems to be happening, and so we immediately turn to our smart phone, and scroll and tap mindlessly at break-neck speeds—or is that text-neck speeds? “Text neck” is defined as neck pain caused by the flexed/forward head posture during texting (or reading) on a smart phone. Such posture compresses the anterior cervical spinal joints, effectively loading the anterior discs. Ouch—pain traceable for some to a fear of silence.
If only we remembered more often that God inhabits the silence. Recall Elijah meeting God at Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:11-13). God was not found in the great wind or the earthquake or the fire, but, “after the fire” in “a sound of sheer silence.” Many of the saints, the close “mystical” friends of Christ, speak of the indispensability of silence.
Mother Teresa (+1997) tells us: “We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
The Spanish mystic, Saint John of the Cross (+1591), says that “What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.”
The young Polish nun, Saint Maria Faustyna Kowalska (+1938), exhorts us: “In order to hear the voice of God, one has to have silence in one's soul and to keep silence; not a gloomy silence but an interior silence; that is to say, recollection in God.”
In the midst of so much unrest, both inner and outer, let us not forget (also) to be silent. In fact, seize the many opportunities of apparent emptiness in your day, to frequent God and, by grace, be a mystical friend of Christ. From such sacred silence, you will “be able to touch souls.”
Yours in the silence,
The Rev. Dominique Peridans
follower of Jesus Christ
From the desk of the Rector