A Fruitful Silence

A Fruitful Silence

This quote is amazing:

Life is not regarded as an uninterrupted flow of words which is finally silenced by death. Its rhythm develops in silence, comes to the surface in moments of necessary expression, returns to deeper silence, culminates in a final declaration, then ascends quietly into the silence of Heaven which resounds with unending praise.

Those who do not know there is another life after this one, or who cannot bring themselves to live in time as if they were meant to spend their eternity in God, resist the fruitful silence of their own being by continual noise. Even when their own tongues are still, their minds chatter without end and without meaning, or they plunge themselves into the protective noise of machines, traffic, or radios [add: TV, ipod, iphone, internet, etc.]. When their own noise is momentarily exhausted, they rest in the noise of other men.

How tragic it is that they who have nothing to express are continually expressing themselves, like nervous gunners, firing burst after burst of ammunition into the dark, where there is no enemy. The reason for their talk is: death. Death is the enemy who seems to confront them at every moment in the deep darkness and silence of their own being. So they keep shouting at death. They confound their lives with noise. They stun their own ears with meaningless words, never discovering their hearts are rooted in a silence that is not death but life. They chatter themselves to death, fearing life as if it were death. (Thomas Merton)

How could this not be one of the most sensitive hurts of our time? We are afraid of the silence, we are afraid of the deep. We think that at bottom, what in which we “live and move and have our being” is… nothing.

The meaning of being silent is hearing – a hearing in which the simplicity of the receptive gaze at things is like the naturalness, simplicity and purity of one receiving a confidence…

A particular form of not being silent has been understood, since time immemorial, as brother to despair… We have to ask, is there not in silence – listening silence – necessarily a shred of hope. For who could listen in silence to the [hidden] language of things if he did not expect something to come of such awareness of the truth? Could not the “quick, strict resolution” to remain silent at the same time serve as a kind of training in hope? (Josef Pieper)

What are you doing to create spaces of silence? Times to just listen, hanging off the edge of a cliff, waiting for God to find you?

For God alone my soul waits in silence; / from Him comes my salvation… / For God alone my soul waits in silence, / for my hope is from Him. (Psalm 62:1,5)

So it is clear that he saw himself like this: ‘a magic oyster washed over by strange waves’; as one who has learned that ‘we and our ilk prosper only in stillness’; as ‘the hermit who, though in his cell, still hears the raging of the sea’… (Josef Pieper)

If you go into solitude with a silent tongue, the silence of the mute beings will share with you their rest. But if you go into solitude with a silent heart, the silence of creation will speak louder than the tongues of men and angels. (Thomas Merton)

That is because the wordless voice of God is there, and it speaks life.

Make a radical move every day to dive into the silence that awaits all around you.

If anyone would find it helpful, here is another post commenting on this topic.


Joey McCoy

Joey McCoy

Joey McCoy is the Assistant Director of i.d.9:16. He graduated from medical school in 2017, but felt Jesus pull him out of medicine to do full-time ministry. Joey's passion is to help people discover and embrace the most authentic ways of being "a people of God on the move" and how to live the way of life of Jesus in myriad contexts. Additionally, Joey is married, a father and enjoys the ocean, Michigan football, used bookstores and hunting for the finest espresso
Joey McCoy

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