Thursday, August 16, 2018

True inner silence


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This excerpt on silence comes from In the Heart of the World by Mother Teresa. This powerful portrait of one of the most beloved women of all time is told in her own words through a fascinating blend of daily life experiences, prayers, and spiritual wisdom. Enjoy!

To make possible true inner silence, practice:

Silence of the eyes, by seeking always the beauty and goodness of God everywhere, and closing them to the faults of others and to all that is sinful and disturbing to the soul.

Silence of the ears, by listening always to the voice of God and to the cry of the poor and the needy, and closing them to all other voices that come from fallen human nature, such as gossip, tale bearing, and uncharitable words.

Silence of the tongue, by praising God and speaking the life-giving Word of God that is the truth, that enlightens and inspires, brings peace, hope, and joy; and by refraining from self-defense and every word that causes darkness, turmoil, pain, and death.

Silence of the mind, by opening it to the truth and knowledge of God in prayer and contemplation, like Mary who pondered the marvels of the Lord in her heart, and by closing it to all untruths, distractions, destructive thoughts, rash judgments, false suspicions of others, vengeful thoughts, and desires.

Silence of the heart, by loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength; loving one another as God loves; and avoiding all selfishness, hatred, envy, jealousy, and greed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Assumption of Our Lady

Today, Catholics and many other Christians celebrate the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This significant feast day recalls the spiritual and physical departure of the mother of Jesus Christ from the earth, when both her soul and her resurrected body were taken into the presence of God.

Venerable Pope Pius XII confirmed this belief about the Virgin Mary as a teaching of the Church when he defined it formally as a dogma of Catholic faith in 1950, invoking papal infallibility to proclaim, “that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”

Although the bodily assumption of Mary is not explicitly recorded in Scripture, Catholic tradition identifies her with the “woman clothed with the sun” who is described in the Book of Revelation.

The passage calls that woman's appearance “a great sign” which “appeared in heaven,” indicating that she is the mother of the Jewish Messiah and has “the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” Accordingly, Catholic iconography of the Western tradition often depicts the Virgin Mary's assumption into heaven in this manner.

“It was fitting,” St. John of Damascus wrote in a sermon on the Assumption, “that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death,” and “that she, who had carried the creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles.”

In Eastern Christian tradition, the same feast is celebrated on the same calendar date, although typically known as the Dormition (falling asleep) of Mary.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

In the Heart of the World


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This excerpt on silence comes from In the Heart of the World by Mother Teresa. This powerful portrait of one of the most beloved women of all time is told in her own words through a fascinating blend of daily life experiences, prayers, and spiritual wisdom. Enjoy!

* * *
“Yesterday is gone.
Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today.
Let us begin.”

In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.

There is a very holy priest, who is also one of the best theologians in India right now. I know him very well, and I said to him, “Father, you talk all day about God. How close you must be to God!” And do you know what he said to me? He said, “I may be talking much about God, but I may be talking very little to God.” And then he explained, “I may be rattling off so many words and may be saying many good things, but deep down I do not have the time to listen. Because in the silence of the heart, God speaks.”
* * *

We cannot put ourselves directly in the presence of God if we do not practice internal and external silence.

In silence we will find new energy and true unity. Silence gives us a new outlook on everything.

Monday, August 13, 2018

In response to God's silence


Silence. It can be a reservoir of flowing peace and nourishing grace. It can call to mind our cherished identity, compelling us to respond to God and others with that same, first love he has shown us. Or it can be cold and sterile, a state of abandonment, loss, frustration and sorrow. It’s in the silence that we can choose to trust in his loving presence or his aching absence. We all know of people—maybe even ourselves at times—who turn away from God because in a time of great need they were met with the cold, bitter sound of only their own cries and tears. It’s an experience, I imagine, we can all relate to on some level.

Image result for mohonk mountain houseSubmitting to God, and the mystery of his sometimes peculiar and painful ways is a sobering challenge, one we can’t escape as we journey back toward the Kingdom of God in this life. God gives us enough grace and light to have a reasonable, firm and joyful belief in him, but so much of our lives remain unclear—we’re asked to trust in his plan even when it appears chaotic, unfair, or meaningless. When the eyes of our bodies are darkened, we are called to rely evermore on the eyes of our faith. This trusting in his will gradually and—at least on our worse days, suspiciously—throughout our lives is hard. And we experience moments in our lives when we cast a full-throated cry to God in words that echo those same ones from Job himself:

I cry to you, but you do not answer me;
I stand, but you take no notice.
You have turned into my tormentor,
and with your strong hand you attack me.
You raise me up and drive me before the wind;
I am tossed about by the tempest.


- Job 30:20-22

Chris Hazell
Word on Fire
May 18, 2017

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Finding God in the Depths of Silence


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WHEN I FIRST began to write this article, I thought to myself, "How do you promote something as vaporous as silence? It will be like a poem about air!" But finally I began to trust my limited experience, which is all that any of us have anyway.

I do know that my best writings and teachings have not come from thinking but, as Malcolm Gladwell writes in Blink, much more from not thinking. Only then does an idea clarify and deepen for me. Yes, I need to think and study beforehand, and afterward try to formulate my thoughts. But my best teachings by far have come in and through moments of interior silence—and in the "non-thinking" of actively giving a sermon or presentation.

Aldous Huxley described it perfectly for me in a lecture he gave in 1955 titled "Who Are We?" There he said, "I think we have to prepare the mind in one way or another to accept the great uprush or downrush, whichever you like to call it, of the greater non-self." That precise language might be off-putting to some, but it is a quite accurate way to describe the very common experience of inspiration and guidance.

All grace comes precisely from nowhere—from silence and emptiness, if you prefer—which is what makes it grace. It is both not-you and much greater than you at the same time, which is probably why believers chose both inner fountains (John 7:38) and descending doves (Matthew 3:16) as metaphors for this universal and grounding experience of spiritual encounter. Sometimes it is an uprush and sometimes it is a downrush, but it is always from a silence that is larger than you, surrounds you, and finally names the deeper truth of the full moment that is you. I call it contemplation, as did much of the older tradition.

It is always an act of faith to trust silence, because it is the strangest combination of you and not-you of all. It is deep, quiet conviction, which you are not able to prove to anyone else—and you have no need to prove it, because the knowing is so simple and clear. Silence is both humble in itself and humbling to the recipient. Silence is often a momentary revelation of your deepest self, your true self, and yet a self that you do not yet know. Spiritual knowing is from a God beyond you and a God that you do not yet fully know. The question is always the same: "How do you let them both operate as one—and trust them as yourself?" Such brazenness is precisely the meaning of faith, and why faith is still somewhat rare, compared to religion.

Richard Rohr
March 2013 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

God is silence

We discover slowly that silence is the path to encounter God. If that is true, then the noise of the world obstructs this path becoming, as Cardinal Sarah says, the dictatorship of noise. 

Indeed, Cardinal Sarah states, “Those in control of this world no longer think that they have to fight; they have reached another stage that consists essentially of creating the new man.” 

This new man is not made in the silence of God’s image, but rather in the fragmented image of a fractured world. It is a noisy world dominated by the demonic, making silence inextricably bound up with salvation. According to Cardinal Sarah, “God is silence, and the devil is noisy. From the beginning, Satan has sought to mask his lies beneath a deceptive, resonant agitation.”

Friday, August 10, 2018

Silence: God’s first language

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“God’s first language is silence.” In commenting on this beautiful, rich insight of Saint John of the Cross, Thomas Keating, in his work Invitation to Love, writes: “Everything else is a poor translation. In order to understand this language, we must learn to be silent and to rest in God.”

It is time to rediscover the true order of priorities. It is time to put God back at the center of our concerns, at the center of our actions and of our life: the only place that He should occupy. Thus, our Christian journey will be able to gravitate around this Rock, take shape in the light of the faith and be nourished in prayer, which is a moment of silent, intimate encounter in which a human being stands face to face with God to adore Him and to express his filial love for Him.

Let us not fool ourselves. This is the truly urgent thing: to rediscover the sense of God. Now the Father allows Himself to be approached only in silence. What the Church needs most today is not an administrative reform, another pastoral program, a structural change. The program already exists: it is the one we have always had, drawn from the Gospel and from living Tradition. It is centered on Christ Himself, whom we must know, love and imitate in order to live in Him and through Him, to transform our world which is being degraded because human beings live as though God did not exist. As a priest, as a pastor, as a Prefect, as a Cardinal, my priority is to say that God alone can satisfy the human heart.

I think that we are the victims of the superficiality, selfishness and worldly spirit that are spread by our media-driven society. We get lost in struggles for influence, in conflicts between persons, in a narcissistic, vain activism. We swell with pride and pretention, prisoners of a will to power. For the sake of titles, professional or ecclesiastical duties, we accept vile compromises. But all that passes away like smoke. In my new book I wanted to invite Christians and people of good will to enter into silence; without it, we are in illusion. The only reality that deserves our attention is God Himself, and God is silent. He waits for our silence to reveal Himself.

Regaining the sense of silence is therefore a priority, an urgent necessity.

Silence is more important than any other human work. Because it expresses God. The true revolution comes from silence; it leads us toward God and toward others so that we can place ourselves humbly at their service.

Cardinal Robert Sarah