“In the silence of the heart God speaks” : Rosemary O’Connor & Patrick Sullivan, Salesian Community, Limerick, Ireland

“In the silence of the heart God speaks”    Reflection for 6th Sunday of Easter

 In this Sunday’s Gospel Jesus is speaking at the Last Supper about his imminent departure. He says “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

Jesus gives us a lovely image of himself and God making their home within us; all he asks of us is that we open our hearts to him.

The Poor Clare contemplative sisters write that just as our body needs nourishment so too does our soul. Our bodies, minds and souls make up a unit. We are encouraged by the healthcare profession and society in general to look after our bodies and our minds; in the midst of this health consciousness we very often forget about our souls. Unless we can restore harmony between our bodies, our minds and our souls we are likely to experience anxiety in our lives. Prayer is the food of the soul. Prayer is essentially a conversation with God; us speaking to God and listening to what he has to say to us.

Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit, who is sent by the Father, will teach us everything and remind us of God’s message to us. In order for us to hear God’s voice we need to be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We need to create quiet times in our lives to prepare ourselves to hear what God has to say to us. We are prone to distractions and are often too busy to hear the voice of God. God is gentle and patiently waits for us to seek his presence in our lives. We need to find a good place where we can sit before God uninterrupted by other distractions.

To achieve this we have a real need to learn to appreciate the value of silence; our senses often become overwhelmed by the level of noise we are bombarded with every day. Silence is essential for a healthy life and for prayer.

The Poor Clares describe silence like a blanket that we can wrap around ourselves to enable us to sink deeper into the true reality of our lives and our being. Silence gives us the capacity to listen to our inner selves, to others and to God. We can lose our connectedness with our inner selves if we don’t create silent spaces.

There is a story told of a grandfather who discovered that he had lost his watch in the barn. It was no ordinary watch because it had great sentimental value for him. After searching high and low among the hay for a long while; he gave up and enlisted the help of his grandchildren playing outside the barn.

The children hurried inside the barn, went through and around the entire stack of hay but still could not find the watch. After two hours of searching everyone was weary and the grandfather suggested they stop searching as they could not find anything. The children were sad, and tried to console the grandfather.

One grandson again moved to the barn, and his grandfather asked why he was going there again. The little boy requested the others not to follow him and to remain silent. While the others were surprised, they did what he asked. The little boy went to the barn and sat there in silence. Gradually the other children eventually went in and asked him what he was doing and again the little boy asked them not to make noise.

He sat there for about 15 minutes and then rushed to his grandfather. He had found the watch and happily gave it to his grandfather. The grandfather was overjoyed and asked how he was able to find it. The little boy replied, ‘I sat there without making a noise and the barn was so silent. After a few minutes, I heard the ‘tick tick’ sound and found the watch.

The lesson for us in this story is the importance of allowing ourselves times of silence to let God speak to us. Mother Teresa tells us; “silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere — in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals. In the silence of the heart God speaks.”