“In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.” ~ Frederick Beuchner
I must admit that I am a sucker for Simon and Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence. The song has always spoken to my heart. It moves me more than most songs do. It reminds me that there is much to be found in silence and that silence is not something that we should consider frightening. Instead, we can find great comfort in silence.
I know that I have written this before but it bears repeating. Seminarians throughout the ages have often been greatly affected by silence. The first time that they have gone on an extended silent retreat has often been an introduction to what silence can do to a person.
There have been many who have gone on silent retreats and swore that they would never do so again. It is not too uncommon, on the second or third night, to hear someone scream at night because the silence brings up many things buried in the depths of the mind. There are many who see silence as threatening.
We need to become comfortable with silence and to regard it as a friend because in the depths of silence we can sort out many issues rumbling through our minds. We can think clearly about things that are disturbing us and make plans to deal with them. We can encounter God.
As the prophet sitting on the side of the mountain encountered God in the silent, whispering wind, we, too, can meet our Lord in silence.
FAITH ACTION: Take some time to sit in silence today and try to listen for the voice of the Lord speaking to you.