“Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.
Job 6:23-25 (NIV)
This past weekend I attended a silent retreat offered by Miles Christi religious order of Brothers and Priest. This was the first silent retreat I have ever been on, and anyone that knows me, knows I love to talk, so I know this was going to be a challenge, but I was willing to suffer and offer it up for Lent. I wanted a challenge for Lent, something to force me out of my comfort zone, and I figured 3 days of silence would do the trick. I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the over all retreat, and with my ability to stay silent. Miracles do happen! God is good, and just.
Being quiet is not a normal human state, we are made for sound, talk, hum, sing, whistle, be-bop, scat, you name it, we do it. We like noise, we like to hear it and we like to make it. Think about it, how often do you really have quiet in your life, your day, your moment? Not very often, if at all. Noise defines us, comforts us, noise is proof out existence. Some like the noise of the city, the rushing of cars the beeping of horns and the constant chatter of people, others it’s the noise of the country, the wind in the trees, the signing of the birds and the rushing of the brook. Noise, Noise NOISE… Its everywhere, is it any wonder that the idea of a silent retreat seems so odd… That it seems so quiet…
Quiet, shhh, don’t talk, be still and hear my voice…
11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:11-13 (NIV) (bold and color change are mine)
It is only in the quiet that Elijah could have heard Gods whisper. The sounds of the everyday life would have gotten in the way, the noise of work, home and friends would distract and the gentle whisper would have been lost.
Noise is not only on the outside of us, there is also interior noise, the noise of the mind. The thoughts and distractions our minds place before us when ever we try to quiet it, to hush it and allow the quite to enter. We hear the music of our childhood or we chatter to ourselves, we do anything to not have to face that moment of quiet.
Why, why do we fear the quiet so much? What are we afraid of? What makes the quiet our enemy?
When we are quiet, when we are still, that is when we hear the whisper of God, that is when denial is no longer an option. Quiet is that moment we must face ourselves and our creator, when we must listen to His voice and must hear His command. It is the time of reconciliation of our outer self to our inner self, our humanity to our soul. It is the moment of God asking us “Why have you taken so long to be with me in this moment of quiet?”
In the whispers of our days, we hear the voice of God, in the quiet of our nights we converse with God.
Quiet, let the whispers of God fill your soul.
This Lent try to find sometime to quiet your heart, still your mind and listen, just listen and hear the gentle, soft loving whisper of God. It’s there, God is always talking to us, He is always responding to our request, answering our prayers and telling us He loves us. All we need to do is stop talking, stop the noise and to quiet ourselves in front of the Lord.
Find time this Lent to visit with Jesus in the Sacrament, Just sit and be still, Jesus will talk, in that soft voice of love.
God Bless & Happy Lent
p.s. the photo was taken this past weekend at the retreat house. It snowed overnight and we woke to 12 inches of fresh snow.