Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Friend of Silence

This statement seems patently false to me.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.

Mother Teresa

It smacks of spiritual fantasy. I don’t doubt that given a serene and bucolic setting I can find myself drawing closer to god. But, the demands of my life make this unrealistic. It seems a false sense of mysticism. If I find God amidst the clamor and chaos of the city, if I can draw closer to him and feel his presence among the thousand shouting voices, crying souls, gunshots and screeching tires than I am truly centered.

Moments of silence are nice. They are even necessary for mental health and spiritual growth. But, anyone can cultivate silence sitting against a tree near a babbling brook. It’s finding that silence in the heat and passion of daily life that makes for great silence and even greater spirituality.

When you have the luxury afforded to the religious of making regular retreats (in the Catholic Church all members in religious orders are required to withdraw at least once annually) then you have the luxury to experience what Mother Teresa is talking about. Hell, go camping in a national park for a couple of days when you can.

God is the friend of silence, but he is the friend of chaos too. In the Judeo-Christian tradition he created by passing over the void and calming its tumultuous nature. Perhaps, God is silence itself and in order to be experience one must become consciously aware of god’s presence.

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