This week, all of us who study at St. Joseph’s seminary in New York are beginning our annual silent retreat. It serves as a perfect way to prepare for a new semester after all of the craziness of finals and the hustle and bustle of Christmas time. We spend an entire week without any talking to better perceive the ways in which the Lord is working in our lives.
Why silence? The First Book of Kings says: “The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13)
God speaks to us in the silence. He is always at work in our lives, but we are often so busy that we do not recognize His presence. When we pray in silence, we give the Father permission to love us, and we can rejoice in His love. Silence is especially important when it comes to discerning what God might be calling us to do with our lives. I look forward to whatever graces the Lord wants to give me this week. Please pray for all of us, and we will certainly be praying for you!