Ah, my loving Father, my heart aches
deep within for your silence.
I feel it as a profound invitation,
touching me in my fragmentation,
in the midst of all the noise around me,
this noise so often welling up also within.
You have touched me, Father, so deeply,
with the silent word that is yours,
this gentle touch and caress, unfelt,
and yet deeply felt, transforming,
like the water of Baptism pouring over the head,
effecting through grace a transformation within, unseen,
like the growth of the seed of this divine life over time,
maturing not with a noisy racket and tumultuous movement,
like a river cascading over rocks,
but a flower slowly sprouting and reaching out to the sun.
I ache not for myself alone but for them,
dear God, for my brothers and sisters,
in this world of ceaseless noise and agitation,
possessed by the demons of activism and ceaseless performance,
possessed by the materialism flattering the eyes and mind,
the sleepiness of overindulged flesh and softened heart,
and the flashing images and intruding sounds
that mark every moment of life in our modern world.
Our hearts ache and we perhaps don’t even know it,
to encounter you in the ineffable silence of your love.
Where are we to find you, then, my Father?
…It is here, now, in the beating of my own heart,
silent and still in your silent presence.
It is in the inmost depths of my person,
in the mystery that I am, enfolding you
like a silent womb, a gestating presence
…but indeed enfolded in the arms of your eternal love,
silently sheltering me, fostering like a mother’s womb,
like her gentle arms and nursing breast.
It is true that silence is not absolute,
as if it were the final end we sought.
No, it is the space in which the Word sounds,
the space in which Love’s gift can echo,
resounding forth to be given and received.
It is like the embrace of two who are in love,
when their partial words fall by the wayside,
both understanding that silence speaks more deeply still.
It is like two intimate friends hiking together,
touched, both, by the beauty of the view,
pausing to drink it in, united by what they behold.
Silence thus bears in itself a kind of solitude
as it too springs forth in the solitary space.
And this solitude becomes a deeper communion,
just as the most intimate loving encounters occur,
always, in the most solitary place.
We go away to be alone, ultimately, simply to be together,
drawn by the aching loneliness of the heart that,
in the midst of the crowd, feels so alone.
Some are called to find this, Father,
in the seclusion of a monastery high in the mountains,
in which no sound is heard but the wind in the trees
and the bells tolling at intervals.
But others are gently summoned to find it,
this same awesome mystery of encounter and love,
in the midst of the city’s noises and activity
…and yet not in their midst,
but stepping away, or perhaps deeper within,
to find the silent voice that is so often veiled,
covered over and obscured by fractured human noise,
sounding unceasingly in the human heart.
What is this silent word, this solitary communion,
that we yearn for and which is inviting us?
Ah, dear God, it is none other than you yourself:
the Father speaking the one Word who is his Son
in an eternal Silence of utter fullness,
and the Son surrendering himself to his Father,
the two embracing in the most perfect bliss,
the silent Kiss and Breath who is their Spirit.