Life going a little too fast for you?
Isn't it amazing how fast and busy our lives have become? Have we become "slaves" to our schedules or even our ministries?
Listen to the wisdom of Fr. William Breault, S.J.:
His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
St. Luke 2:51
Prayer starts from the heart. It takes place there. That is where the treasure is. That is also where the kingdom is and the king.
The heart is a room. And the door to that room must be periodically closed just to get the kind of privacy needed to be quiet. The door that must be closed is the one that seems to be constantly open to urgency-do this, now! Next, do that! Now, this! - a never-ending series of demands. Too many distractions (the word means to pull apart) make us insensitive to people and beauty around us. We grow calloused. There is no room for intimacy in a heart that is distracted and pulled apart constantly by the freeway pace of life.
Life is the fast lane! Often it's not life at all, just speed: foot pressed to the gas pedal, eyes intent on the car in front, to the side, the back. Shuttered, tunnel vision.
It is easy to miss the countryside traveling in the fast lane. When that happens, the heart dries up. There are no treasures left in it, so there is nothing left to treasure.
Prayer is being intimate with God, and that means slowing down. So there is a place for closing the door to the heart, for going off by oneself. To be alone. Re-created. To be silent.
He went up a hill by himself to pray.
St. Matthew 14:23
Silence is indispensible for prayer.
Silence is a reality in itself, not the absence of a reality: After all the noise stops, then there is silence. Real silence is not something that happens AFTER.
It happens BEFORE. Before Mary conceives, there is a silence. Before the artist creates, a silence, a period of gestation.
Silence is that out of which comes something: presence and life. We ourselves flow forth from the creative silence of God.
There came the sound of a gentle breeze.
1 Kings 19:12
The prophet Elijah ran for his life to get away from Queen Jezebel who had threatened to kill him. He went into the wildreness and prayed to die. That's how depressed he was! Finally he reached a cave and hid there, fearful and waiting. What he was waiting for soon came along: the word of God. He was told to go outside of the cave and wait for the appearance of God. When he did a mighty wind tore up the mountains, but God wasn't in that wind. Next came an earthquake that ripped apart the land. After that, a fire destroyed what was left over. God was in none of them, so once again Elijah (who knew what violence was) stood outside of the cave waitingand along came the sound of a gentle breeze. God was in that!
One must be silent to hear the sound of a gentle breeze.
Silent, like the images Isaiah uses to describe the fruitful activity of God's word in our hearts:
Yes, as the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield, and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.
_ Isaiah 55:10-11_
As the Lord Jesus said during his 40 days of silence in the desert: "Man cannot live on bread alone, but needs every word that God speaks" (Mt.4:4)
The word of God in silence is a source of life.
(from the book, "A Voice Over The Water, An Invitation to Pray" by William Breault, S.J.)
Peace, In Christ,