Friday, May 21, 2010

Silence speaks far more eloquently than many words

"What happens when we let go of our pious words and thoughts? We find ourselves thinking of what is for lunch or having an internal argument with someone who has wronged us in the past. When we become aware of this, we may very well feel that silent prayer is not for us, that we cannot do it and that we had better stick to meditation where we have something to occupy our busy minds. I suggest that this reaction, while understandable, is mistaken. What really matters in our prayer is not our words or thoughts, important though these are, but our desire. What do you really desire? As you know it is very possible for the lips to say one thing and for the heart to say the opposite. God reads the heart; God knows the desire of our heart even though our minds may seem to be far away Obviously when we become aware that we are distracted, we can choose to continue thinking about the distraction but that would be changing our intention to simply be in God’s presence. It is better just to renew our intention to be in God’s presence and to be open to God’s action and we can do so in many ways, for example by the use of a simple word or even an interior glance towards God. It may be that the use of many words or even holy thoughts is not helpful at this time. We have all had the experience in a human relationship where silence speaks far more eloquently than many words. Even very busy people can maintain intimate human relationships and so in the midst of our busy lives we are invited into an intimate relationship with God. Indeed with this relationship at the centre of our lives, all our activity will become much more fruitful."

-- The fundamental elements of Carmelite spirituality by Joseph Chalmers, OCarm

1 comment:

aspiring... said...

Something I've thought of before sort of connects with these ideas by Joseph Chalmers. There is application outside the realm of contemplation, too. In the case of ordinary prayer and especially during interior conflict, the same question can be asked. What happens when we let go of our words and thought? Good things, I've found. Sometimes it's necessary to bring 'whatever it is' to Jesus without words because the enemy can and does permeate them to great disadvantage. He interferes in dialog with Jesus as he does in general, and uses your own words and rationale against you, powerfully, regular or holy though they and your intention may be. Jesus already knows what's up anyway. Simply call on Him, go to Love, and say His Name in place of each word and thought until it passes. And it will. Sometimes it takes a while to overpower oneself and the enemy in this way. But it will happen. And the dilemma will be replaced by some gift or counsel or clarity or peace or discernment or relief designed just for you from our Lord, derived from those very, perhaps unpleasant, circumstances. It is just one of many ways we have to recollection and to Truth, and our return to His service.

You remain in my prayer, ocd sister, God bless you now and always, I pray...