Silence

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What color is silence? I contemplated that thought as I searched for an image for today’s blog post. Some say “silence is golden,” but I chose a purple image because, in its stillness, it spoke to me of silence. There is nothing going on in the image. It’s just still and luminous, making no noise at all . . . silent.

Gunilla Norris writes these words about silence:

In our present culture silence is something like an endangered species . . . We need it badly. Silence brings us back to basics, to our senses, to our selves. It locates us. Without that return we can go so far away from our true natures that we end up, quite literally, beside ourselves. We live blindly and act thoughtlessly. We endanger the delicate balance which sustains our lives, our communities and our planet. Can we remember our power as persons? Can we remind ourselves and others that, nurtured in silence, our awareness can lead us back to integrity and meaning? Each of us has and is a holy capability.

I have trouble with silence, often filling it with music. The truth is that I can hear God better in complete silence interrupted only by the sounds of nature. God may speak to me through the sound of a gentle breeze, the chirping of a finch, the music of a gentle rain, the crash of waves upon the shore. God may speak to me best of all when I am hearing nothing, during those times when God’s words reach directly into the depths of my soul.

It changes me. It restores me. It even makes me long for more silence. Gunilla Morris also says that each one of us “has and is a holy capability.” I embrace the holy capability within me in times of silence.

3 thoughts on “Silence

  1. “The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.” – Leon Bloy

    Your post on Silence brought this quote to mind. It is true that we all have a holy capability – we are designed to be holy! How many times does God tell us in the Bible “ye shall be holy, because I am holy”? And yet we tend to shy away from this command because it seems an incredible burden, a daunting challenge, and an impossible goal to achieve. But what is it to be holy – to live a saintly life? Is it not as simple as this: LOVE GOD and LOVE ONE ANOTHER. If we accept the love and grace and mercy of God, then it should flow forth from us freely to those around us.

    Bishop Robert Barron recently wrote in his Lent Reflections about prayer and, although he didn’t specifically mention silence, he touched on the necessity of the quiet stillness for true communion with the Lord. “…you have to step out of your every day, workaday world. … [It] could be church, a special room in your house, the car, or a corner of the natural world. But it has to be someplace where you have stepped out of your ordinary business. And you have to take the time to do it.” As you said in this post, it is easier to hear His voice when there are no other distractions. I wonder if sometimes we fight against the quiet – filling it with music or other noise – because we are afraid to hear what God might be waiting to tell us. We hesitate over stepping away from the world because we are intimidated by the ever present call to BE HOLY, to be a saint.

    But no believer should fear the silence and none of us should ignore the call – the light is within us all, and if we give freely of ourselves in Jesus’ name we have achieved our potential. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34) “…Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)

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