One Heart (March 2011): In Silence we unite with God
‘If you dwell within the revelation I have brought, you are indeed my disciples;you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ Jn 8:31-32.
Victor Frankl, stumbling mile after mile in the darkness and the icy-cold and the silence, experiences love and fulfilment as he contemplates and treasures his wife’s image. It was a moment of revelation as he glimpsed God reaching out to him.
‘It is in silence and stillness,’ says the late Cardinal Hume, ‘that we hear the voice of God calling us to look for him in the world he has created, and to listen to his voice speaking deep within us. Experience shows that silence and stillness open us up to dimensions beyond the immediate.’
The Jesuit poet and peace activist, Daniel Berrigan was once asked to give a talk on God. He surprised his audience. He gave no theological treatise. He simply described how he goes regularly and sits at the bedside of a young boy who is deaf, mute, paralysed and unable to react in any way to anything around him. He just lies in bed, helpless, powerless, unable to say or do anything. Nothing is said and nothing, seemingly is exchanged. ‘But,’ says Berrigan, ‘I sit by his helplessness and I know that in this powerlessness, God is speaking – speaking in the only way that God can speak in this world.’
Silence connects us with the Trinity. ‘The Father and the Son are silent before each other,’ says Rowan Williams, quoting the work of the Russian Orthodox theologian Sergei Bulgakov.
‘The Father and the Son have nothing to say to each other, because their life is wholly in each other. Their love is so total that there is nothing to say, nothing to communicate in the ordinary sense. It is only in the Spirit that the Father and the Son speak.’
To download the newsletter: March 2011 newsletter