In Formation

Tuesday, December 10


A need for silence

At the end of last quarter, I had a three day directed silent retreat. It was wonderful. During those three days, I realized again how valuable silence is. More to the point, I realized that silence is essential for me. Part of that is because I speak more quickly than I ought. I know I need to spend more time in silence. I need to listen.

The silence convinced me. When I speak out of silence, my words are different. They are less wasteful, more honest, more loving, more . . . Christ-like. Those three days taught me that the quiet helps me know myself more, to hear my deepest voice--the one that speaks of my unspeakable need for grace and God's merciful gift of Himself for me and all the world.

Silence is the place where Christ speaks most eloquently and mystically to me. I love the Scriptures, but too often my eyes pass over the words without really seeing, my ears hear the words without really hearing. Or, just as often, my focus is on what the words mean or contain instead of what God is saying to me and to the world in the power of the Holy Spirit.

What I need (and the world needs) is not my words so much as God's. So it's essential that I learn to listen, really listen. Otherwise, when, God-willing, I'm ordained, I'll make God's people settle for my filtered version of His Word instead of what He wants to say through me. Of course, what I say will always be filtered, but silence has a way of cleaning out the filters of our souls so we can speak and live His Word, His Way, which is always the Way of self-giving love.

There is more of Christ than self in that Word--that Way--of life. And that's why I need to be silent. I need to cultivate the disposition and habit to be silent so that when I speak others will hear less Steve and more Christ. Right now, there's way too much of me in my words.

Please pray that I would learn to listen to--and to love--Christ more each day as I prepare to become a priest of Jesus Christ. I know that's the only way I can truly minister in His name.

This lesson about silence, if I'm really going to learn it, entails a silent blog. So this will be my last post. Before I go silent, though, I want to thank the Catholic bloggers who showed me the way and encouraged me to take up a blog of my own. I also want to thank those who have read my blog, those who have been generous enough to comment, and, most of all, those who have prayed for me and the many other men In Formation. May God bless you all.

posted by Fr. Steve | 12/10/2002 |