There is a story of a king who visits a spiritual master. The busy king, had the responsibilities of running the kingdom and the well-being of all his subjects, still he desired to be united with God. The king asks the spiritual master to give him the secret of being united with God in a simple, practical way. The spiritual master said: “I will give you the secret in one word.” The king impatiently said: “Give me that word!’ The spiritual master said: “Silence.” The king asked: “And how could I get silence?” The spiritual master said: “Contemplation”. The king asked: “What is contemplation?” The spiritual master said: “Silence.”
All the great spiritual mystics and saints throughout the ages agree upon one thing, that is: any way to God HAS TO BE a way through SILENCE. If you want to come into COMMUNION with God you MUST pass through silence.
When Elijah went up the mountain and sought God he thought God would be in the strong and rock crushing wind, or in the mighty earthquake, or in the ferocious fire. The Lord did come to Elijah in neither of those ways. The Lord God spoke to Elijah in a tiny whispering sound.
The Gospels tell us that Jesus went off by himself on a regular basis to be alone in prayer. That’s when He could communicate one-on-one with His Father.
Contemplative prayer is a prayer of silence. Silence means “going beyond words and thoughts.” Contemplative prayer, then, is “going beyond words and thoughts” to experiencing the presence of God. It is “sitting with God.” And, in “sitting” words are unnecessary. Still, in “sitting”, you may hear God speak to your heart.
Picture an elderly couple, who are married over fifty years, sitting contently in silence on the front porch of their home. No words are exchanged, but much communication is going on. Basking in each other’s presence speaks volumes! We are to have such a loving relationship with our God.
Indeed, our Catholic Catechism says this: “Prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father.” CCC #2565
St. Therese of Lisieux said this: “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look toward heaven.”
In our prayer life, I’m sure all of us have said a multitude of words to God – almost as if we have to inform the Almighty how to run the world, or at least our lives. Yet, when you think of it, who has more profound things to say in our communication with God? Us to God? Or, God to us?
If you want to hear God’s voice enter into silence.