It all starts with silence
I’m running around like crazy to get ready for our trip to Mt. Angel Abbey, but I wanted to pop in to mention something that’s been on my mind, that I’ll be pondering when I’m up at the monastery:
Last Sunday a wonderful priest named Fr. Michael Sullivan visited our parish, and he used the following quote in his homily:
The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.
- Mother Teresa
It was one of those moments where I was just about knocked over by the words — especially the first part: the fruit of silence is prayer.
I would have never thought of it that way, but it’s true that whenever I have silence, it is much more natural for me to turn to God; I do it almost without trying. And, as Mother Teresa points out, so many things flow from there. I kept thinking about that progression:
Silence –> Prayer –> Faith –> Love –> Service –> Peace
When I first heard the word silence, I had this knee-jerk reaction of “Yeah, right!” With four kids under six, silence is just not something that’s available to me.
…Or is it? Certainly it wouldn’t be good for me to try to get the same amounts of silence as, say, a cloistered nun. I’m called to the vocation of married life, and therefore “regular, extended periods of prayerful silence” is not on the list of ways God wants me to serve him right now. But have I maybe thrown the baby out with the bathwater there? So I can’t get three hours of silence per day; so there are many weeks when it would be almost impossible to even get one. What about fifteen minutes per day? Or every other day? Or even just thirty minutes, once a week?
I’ll be carrying Mother Teresa’s words with me as I roam the monastery grounds this week, considering whether I need make it a higher priority to find more opportunities to get away from the noise and the chaos so that I can focus in on listening for the “still, small voice” of God. Because, as Mother Teresa pointed out, through prayer and faith and love we can be transformed in Christ, and we can then transform the world. And it all starts with silence.