I have been reading a few article on silence. I have come across 4 articles so far that I like, however, one in particular by Sister Mary Clare really helped me focus on how silence is a means to many ends.
Sister Mary Clare wrote a long article that takes its readers on a beautiful scenic route. In the end though, I needed to summarise for myself what she says are the 4 ends of God-centered silence.
1. To experience God’s love for us
[Silence] is a form of prayer – a prayer of listening, waiting, and receptivity. It is a prayer that anticipates and expects intimate communion; it believes in the possibility and holds in high esteem the value of being in relationship with God.
2. To respond to God’s love for us
Silence must eventually be sought in the first place as an expression of our total gift of self back to God. It becomes a response of love and an attitude of reverence for the One who has taken the initiative to love us and give Himself to us first.
3. To truly listen
in order to truly listen [to God and to our neighbour], we must be silent. Do we have the ability to listen in authentic silence without interference from our own prejudice and self interest? Or can I be totally present to the other…totally aware and receptive of what they are bringing to me?
4. To transform our speech
What is in the very depths of our hearts is what forms the words on our lips…
If we are to be true imitators of God, faithful to our proper goal of union with Him, we must imitate Him in our words: holy purified and free from sin, free from selfishness, arrogance, vanity, competition and gossip…
How will this transformation of our speech come about? Through silence. In silence, we commune with the One Whose first language is silence. And when we have sufficiently learned this language, we will have facility of speech.
We will no longer speak words that distract, create noise, or vanquish good. Our words will contain in them something of the power of God. They will be words that truly influence others and participate in bringing to completion their redemption and our own. They will be words of healing, growth and love. And they will be spoken at the right moment.