PARADOXICAL

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Monday, September 17, 2007

 

Silence, the language of heaven


(Detailed 09082007 retreat notes from Fr. P.'s lectures. The thoughts transcribed here are the retreat master's, not mine, unless otherwise indicated. -R.)

What do you think is the language in heaven? (It's not Latin. Or even Bach or Beethoven.)

In your most intimate moment with your loved one, what language do you use?

Answer: silence!

"God is in the soft, tender breeze," says the poet. We get to know God most intimately in silence.

In five- to seven-day retreats participated in by priests and nuns - total strangers to one another - at the end of it, they all feel the same thing: They feel they're already close with each other!

People with depth have some time for silence. Examples: Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, the healing priest Fr. Fernando Suarez.

Sr. Bridget (?) McKenna, a healer, says, "The busier you are, the more time you need for silence." (How about two hours with God?)

Prayer should not be burdensome.

Find a regular time and place for silent prayer at least 15 minutes everyday.

Once there was a monk who was so holy because he spent most of his life in silent prayer. An inquisitive fellow approached him one day to seek hie counsel. "How do you battle with the devil?" he asked. The monk said he's no longer battling with the devil, but is now wrestling with God."

Indeed, the closer we get to the light of God, the more we see our faults, no matter how small.

It is said that, in the first half of life (up to age 40), we battle with the devil. In the second half, we struggle with inner matters - forgiveness, detachment, subtler, non-obvious issues.

In following the Lord, we need a space for Him to come into our life: vacare Deo ("vacancy for God").

In long-haul retreats, it is necessary for the retreatants to have a good sleep. The first two days are often reserved for sleep (horizontal meditation?-R). After one or two days, though, the participants get tired of sleeping. That's when the exercise to do silent meditations may begin.

This kind of prayer has been proven to be life-changing even by lay people! A saint once said, "If you really pray everyday, you cannot but be transformed."

But if we abandon prayer, the devil stops tempting us; it's us who do the tempting.

It's not right to judge people who pray a lot by saying, "Nothing's happening with them." Just imagine what could have happened if they didn't even pray or go to church.

Prayer is like breathing. And praying like this (contemplative, silent) in the intercessory way is very important for Christians.


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