We are meant to go deep with God
Solitude and silence are crucial tools for experiencing God’s presence.
Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt from it
Read Matthew 12:22-37
But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
More thoughts for meditation
It seems safe to say that today’s world is vainly but feverishly trying to fill up its emptiness with words and images. There is so much input it often seems meaningless. Silence is rare, but it is the crucial antidote to the overdose.
“The saints were capable of spiritual silence simply because they had not contracted our modern habit of ceaseless talk in their ordinary life. Their days were days of silence, relieved by periods of conversation, while ours are a wilderness of talk with a rare oasis of silence…To put it bluntly, the first steps towards attaining interior quiet is to hold one’s peace more frequently and to better purpose in the ordinary ways of life.”—Max Picard in The World of Silence.
We must learn to be still, since we are surrounded by noise inside and out. We must learn to be aware, since our perception of God is blunted and blocked. In silence we meet God’s self-giving presence. This is the magnificent home that shuts us up with awe.
For when peaceful stillness encompassed everything
and the night in its swift course was half spent,
Your all-powerful word from heaven’s royal throne
leapt into the doomed land. Wisdom 18:14-15
In our wilderness of talk, God’s peaceful stillness encompasses everything.
Suggestions for action
Pray: Make my words full of goodness and revelation.
Maybe today could be a day of complete silence. If that seems daunting, how about an hour of just listening for God without talking or reading or any electronics? Twenty minutes? Maybe you could plan one day during the next month (or Lent) that is a silent day. You might have to get away so you would not have to talk to your intimates. Tell them you are going away to be silent—“Don’t call or text or contact me at all unless it is a crisis.”
For right now, let’s start with five minutes. Even if you are reading this on the train, you can be still. If you have a consecrated space for daily prayer, it will help. Be silent for five minutes and listen. Be still. Rest. Become aware.
The Pastors’ Goodreads page has books that help us learn solitude and silence.