Hello, darkness my old friend...
I've come to stay with you again..."
Do those lyrics from Paul Simon's "Sound of Silence" start running through your head when you hear the word "silence?" Or do images of a previous school teacher, peering down at you over glasses, hissing "Silence!" come to mind?
People think of many different things when we ponder the state of being silent. Scripture refers to silence, as well, but it has a different meaning. Unlike a feeling of dread and isolation, like in Paul Simon's song, or an excuse to control and overpower others, like the teacher example, the word 'silence" in Scripture refers to listening. It is a call to quiet the prattling in our minds and remove ourselves from the distractions of every day life. The Biblical idea of silence reminds us to first BE, and then to bring that state of BEING into our DOING.
The idea of silence is usually accompanied with solitude, but again, this does not mean you are lonely or even alone. It means the seeker is searching for the presence of God. Let's look at some Bible verses on silence. Read them to yourself slowly, two or three times. Let them sink into your heart like the snow sinks into the earth.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.” (Psalm 62:5)
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)
“[Elijah] went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him… a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:9, 12).
“But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)
If you have a chance to do some Winter Wondering and Wandering outside this week, write down one or two of these verses and repeat them to yourself. as you walk. Turn off the radio, unplug your phone, and go for a wander in silence, pondering these words. You'll find that this silence refreshes you, as though you've been somewhere special, different.
Take along the Winter Snow rosary, and ask Mary to pray with you, to help you hear the Word of God in the silence.
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