St Benedict uses 2 words for silence: quies and silentium. Quies is the silence that comes with the absence of noise. The silence that engulfs us when we turn off the TV, disconnect from the internet and discard our cell phones. This is an external silence. It is an extremely important form of silence that all of us who live busy, urban lives need to enter into.
Sixteenth century mystic, John of the Cross called silence “God’s first language” not the language so much of a silent place as of a silent soul. This is silentium, an internal, intentional posture of complete attentiveness toward God. It is a silence of making space for, taking time for and paying loving attention to the One we proclaim to be our God and lord. It is more challenging to enter into this kind of silence because it doesn’t just mean finding a quiet place. It means establishing a quiet inner attitude in which we set aside the distractions of our minds and hearts, draw from the stillness that is within us and commune with God in a very special way. From Return to Our Senses 54
What is your response?
Get comfortable, take some deep breaths in and out and centre yourself on the presence of God. How easily do you still the wandering thoughts, and noisy distractions that make it difficult to enter the inner silence of God? Perhaps you need help.
Richard Foster in Sanctuary of the Soul suggests that constant distractions create noisy hearts, wandering minds and perpetual inner chaos. In order to enter the inner silence of God we need help to slow down and focus our attention on what really matters. The reciting of poetry or scripture, the singing of songs, writing of prayers or other rhythmic activities like knitting, walking and sweeping can open for us this inner silence of God because they do just that. They slow us down and their rhythm enters the depths of our being calming our spirits. Sometimes they create images in our minds that open new doorways through which we see God.
What is your response?
What soothes your spirit and calms your soul so that you can enter into this silent place of communion with God? If need be get out your bible or your knitting, go for a walk, get in touch with the depths of God’s presence. Return to your sitting place and write your thoughts and prayers in your journal. Perhaps you would like to write your own poem or prayer.
My apologies to those of you who already read this on Monday. I am reposting it because for some reason we have not been able to work out, Facebook will not allow me to share yesterday’s post