“When we are quiet and alone, we fear that something will be whispered in our ears, and so we hate the quiet, and dull our senses in society.” Friedrich Nietzsche
“Silence means a void, a dreadful emptiness that demands to be filled. What we choose to fill that void with most often produces, not only noise, but agitation through over-simulation. Sensory overload is addictive. It becomes an escape from the present, from the self, from God. Like any addiction, it is pathological and life-threatening. …Prayer uttered out of the deepest longing for God, however, demands silence.” Rozanne Elder
“The soul is offered to Him when it is entirely attentive to Him. My silence which takes me away from all other things, is therefore the sacrifice of all things and the offering of my soul to God. It is therefore my most pleasing sacrifice.” Thomas Merton
“Yahweh will destroy Babylon;
he will silence her noisy din.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Without silent patches in our days, we become “dull” to the present, self, and God. Has sensory overload created a pathological dullness in your life?
- Have you tried to make yourself “entirely attentive to God” – not asking or confessing or meditating, but simply “offering your soul to God” – wordlessly attending to Him? silently resting in his loving arms? quietly returning his gaze, his love?
- When we take time to sit silently we hear disturbing things “whispered in our ears.” Can you press through this in your pursuit of intimacy with God?
I have, O Lord, a noisy heart. And entering outward silence doesn’t stop the inner clamor. In fact, it seems only to make it worse. When I am full of activity, the internal noise is only a distant rumble; but when I get still, the rumble amplifies itself. And it is not like the majestic sound of symphony rising to a grand crescendo; rather it is the deafening din of clashing pots and clanging pans. …Worst of all, I feel helpless to hush the interior pandemonium. Dear Lord, Jesus, once you spoke peace to the wind and the wave. Speak your shalom over my heart. I wait silently…patiently. I receive into the very core of my being your loving command, “Peace, be still.” Richard Foster
For More: The Contemplative Path by Rozanne Elder
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