Islands Of Silence

From “The Coming of God” by Sister Maria Boulding

If you are to be able to respond to the invitation in prayer, “Be still,” you need a measure of silence in your life. In today's world silence is in short supply; this is a serious problem for our society, and anything we can do to help people recover a sense of silence as a necessary and positive element in human life is a contribution to the general sanity.

Many people can, however, contrive some islands of silence in their lives, perhaps in holiday time. Without romantically ignoring our dependence on our environment, it is also true to say that silence is partly an interior quality; you can learn to live from your own deep centre, rather than in the ego with its clamorous demands. You can make positive use of any period of silence that does occur, rather than looking on it as an empty stretch of time to be endured or filled up somehow. Silence like this is not a threat to us but an invitation to depth, to listening, to a loving communion in joy. It lays us open to the strong creativity of the Spirit, and he is the Spirit both of contemplation and outgoing love. Contemplation, trust and reaching out to people go together. Mary's silent surrender to God at the Annunciation sent her swiftly out in the generous and practical love of the Visitation. Christ is in you, yours to give, a quiet light.

It may help us, when we are painfully conscious of turmoil, to remember that Christ's gifts are more than a spiritualised version of secular commodities. As the love he gives us is a love that has made itself vulnerable to all that hatred can do and has conquered hatred, as the life he gives is a life that has been given through death and proved the stronger, so the peace he gives is something more than an absence of stress.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”

The gift may sometimes be offered and received within the turmoil, in the eye of the storm.

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