As you come to the end of your pilgrimage as a seminarian, do you have any wisdom, or advice to impart to anyone trying to figure out their way in life?
One of the most precious gifts I have learned during my time in seminary is the ability to remain silent before the Lord. Through it, my vocation grew exponentially stronger. Through it, I grew in confidence that I was travelling the right path. Through it, I truly get to know the Lord and grow in friendship with him. Through silence, I was able to hear the voice of the Lord resounding in the cathedral of my heart confirming in numerous occasions my vocation.
Silence before the Lord is the foundation of our spiritual house. Deep down, the human person is wired for God. If he focuses on everything, but forgets God, he is restless; if he prioritizes God, everything else falls into place. Personally, I am at my best when I spend times in silence before the Lord; I am restless when I neglect to do so. Once I learn to prioritize silence, nothing seems to be insurmountable. I always feel like I can scale down any walls and break through any barrier when I strengthen my drooping knees before the Lord in silence (cf. Ps. 18:29). So, if we make silence before the Lord the bulwark of our lives, no spiritual earthquake can shake our house. Silence builds us up to face the inevitable misfortunes of life. when our peace and leisure is the Lord, we can live confidently and fearlessly.
Silence is golden. Before the age of phone GPS, if you are lost driving, to find the right direction, you would need to turn off the radio, ask everyone to be silence, gather yourself. Then clarity is found. Do you ever wonder why? It is because it is in the classroom of silence that life’s puzzles are solved. Moreover, even nature teaches us the importance of silence. Trees, flowers, and plants flourish in the silence of the night. Is it not very telling that it is not in a palace or in the city that the King of kings was born, but in the silence of the night? Consciously or unconsciously, everyone longs for God, but he cannot be found in the noise of the iPhone, in the cacophony of Twitter, or in the confusion of Snapshot. God is the friend of silence. God does not speak in noise (cf. 1 Kgs 19:1-12). Being bombarded with noise in the car, in the market, the street, our bedroom, and even while jogging will not help our cause.
Silence opens doors. It is in silence that life’s deepest secret is revealed. It is in silence that we understand what God is trying to convey to us. It is in silence that our restless hearts find. Silence is the key to live life with passion and purpose.
So, my advice to anyone who wants to treasure life in its fullest magnitude is to learn to cultivate silence on a regular basis. For Catholics, the Blessed Sacrament is the ideal locus of silence because the Lord, which heaven and earth cannot contain, is sacramentally present there waiting to overpower us with his love. However, if that’s not possible, any atmosphere conducive to silence will do.
What is the concrete benefit of silence? A number of things: confrontation with one’s own self, seeing one’s dark side, a deep realization of one’s dependency upon God, the surfacing of the neglectful questions of life, an ordering of the priorities of one’s life, a simplification, a getting back to basics, a sense of meaning and purpose in life. It means any and all of these things. So, grace yourself with silence before the Lord; you will not regret it.