From the refuge of silence (3)

In another powerful quote from the book of Cardinal Robert Sarah I read the following: Silence is what defines him [man], because speech acquires sense only in terms of this silence.

Silence says who I am. And what I am is reflected in the way I speak. That is why Jesus wisely said: The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

Moreover, Jesus spoke about the catastrophic consequences when a man does not live and act in accordance with the indwelling silence he has in himself. He goes on by saying: Why do you call me `Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great (Luke 6:46-49).

Those who are not silent fall our of Mary’s ethos, that of listening, meditating and, as a result live out the word of God. For two times the evangelist look tells us in his second chapter of his gospel: But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart… (Lk 2:19)… And his mother kept all these things in her heart (Luke 2:51). By itself, this inclusio powerfully shows the importance of keeping God’ word in the heart, pondering upon it in order that one can do God’s work as Jesus did as the Johannine gospel tells us so clearly.

In meditating upon the fact that silence defines us since it, so to speak, reveals the kind of intimacy of our speech I find a suitable quote in the Imitation of Christ which says: No man is safe in speaking unless he loves to be silent. No man rules safely unless he is willing to be ruled.

Lastly, what Cardinal Robert Sarah wrote magnificently reminds of what St Faustina says her Diary called Divine Mercy in My Soul when she says: God does not give Himself to a chattering soul which, like a drone in a beehive, buzzes around but gathers no honey. A talkative soul is empty inside. It lacks both the essential virtues and intimacy with God. A deeper interior life, one of gentle peace and of that silence where the Lord dwells, is quite out of the question. A soul that has never tasted the sweetness of inner silence is a restless spirit which disturbs the silence of others (Diary, 118).

Lord, remind me that silence defines me because my speech has sense only in terms of my silence. Sanctify my speech by your silence. Amen.

Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap