“The desire to see God is what urges us to love solitude and silence. For silence is where God dwells. He drapes Himself in silence.” ~ Robert Cardinal Sarah in Power of Silence
In our Gospel this weekend Jesus challenges his disciples “to pray without becoming weary.” He uses an example of a widow appealing to a dishonest judge to give right judgement. It seems like nagging but Jesus is asking his disciples to have the same perseverance as the widow. Now this example could be easily misunderstood because the widow’s actions are all external. However, prayer which may have external actions, begins with an internal movement of the heart. It is where the Lord resides, hence, silence is a necessity to prayer!
The problem is that we have come to find comfort in the noise and the chaos. Even though God is draped in silence, as shared by Cardinal Sarah, we choose to turn away from silence because we are afraid what it might reveal. We have been forming our lives on things other than God. From our phones, computers, TVs, we bombard ourselves with distractions from entertainment to work. Even I, as a priest, struggle to separate myself from screen time. Currently, I have my laptop open typing the bulletin, I have my iPad pro open with the Sunday readings, and my phone playing music! And let’s not talk about the feelings when I don’t know where my phone is. Lord, have Mercy!
When asked about what virtues are needed to help grow in silence and prayer, Cardinal Sarah suggests that we ask for the virtues of hope and courage. With hope we can trust that the Lord will satisfy in silence and with courage we can overcome our fears and have the strength to turn away from things not from the Lord.
If I can offer a challenge to myself and you, let us make a substantial effort through the week to take a morning or afternoon away from our phones, computers and TVs, and when the desire strikes to avoid silence, let us actually enter into a conversation with the Lord.