SHHH!!! QUIET!!!!

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent (Prov. 17:28).

Silence is inspiring. We are bombarded with noise. We are so busy dealing with the noise, we barely find time to take care even of the necessities of life. It is a fact that we cannot escape the most burning and deepest questions of life such as who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going? What must I do to be happy? What is the meaning of my life? Who creates me? Did he create me for a purpose? What is that purpose? It is in silence that the answers to these questions emerge. Unless we become students at the school of silence, life’s frustrations are just unbearable. Silence is fundamental to our perennial happiness. We do harm to ourselves if we never step out of the noise to experience silence. Unless we purposefully choose holy solitude, we are courting loneliness. Cultivate the virtue of silence.blooming-flowers-648-2

Nature teaches us that it is in silence that life grows. It is in the silent night that trees, flowers, plants flourish; it is in silence that the most powerful forces– the stars, the moon and the sun— of the universe conduct their businesses. It is 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. We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. She points us to God .

We procure noise even when we are jogging in the countryside—totally unnecessary. We create noise in the car, in the market, in the street, and in our room. We almost cannot escape it, unless we want to. Being in the noise steals all opportunity to enjoy the sweetness of life. If we are not busy with television, it is the Internet, Facebook et al, the IPhone, and people. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all this? I do.

peacefulAllow me to propose silence as an alternative. it is in silence that we find clarity and a sense of meaning. It is in silence that life’s secret is revealed to us. It is in silence that we understand what God is telling us. It is in silence that our restless hearts find peace and leisure. Silence is the key to live life with passion and purpose. Silence is how you build yourself up to face the inevitable misfortunes of life. Silence is how you find what you need to do with your life, or the next step to take, or how to act and react to life’s curve balls. How can you deal with them without silence? Silence is golden. Do you realize when you are lost driving, you usually need to turn off the radio and ask everyone to be silence in order to find the right direction again? Do you ever wonder why? It is because it is in the classroom of silence the life’s puzzles are solved.

SONY DSCGrace yourself 15 minutes of silence everyday, and you will soon drink at the fountain of her delight. It is the most generous gift you can give to yourself. Disconnect— from electronic devices and people— to simply be quiet with you, yourself; I mean your self. It may be frightening at first, but it is needed if you are to find the right direction in/of life. It is going to be tough at first, but stay with it. Struggle with it. You can do this! All kinds of ideas are going to come rushing in your mind, dismiss them.

Finally, if you understand that man is not himself until he rests in God, then what is the best manner to rest in the transcendent God other than through silence? Silence lifts before the throne of God the deepest expression that cannot be expressed in words.

JOHN

That’s probably what St. Paul understood when he exclaimed: “we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” (Rom. 8:26). That’s probably what incited St. Thomas Aquinas to see his masterpiece– the Summa Theologiae— as straw. That gives substance to The Psalmist’s cry: “Silence itself is your praise, O God” (Ps. 64). Moreover, the Greco-Romans, Judeo-Christian, and the Eastern tradition are in consonant that we are made for a life of contemplation. How is this possible other than in peaceful silence? Silence is necessary to reach happiness. Aristotle says in Nicomacheans ethics book X that happiness grows out of contemplation, and …wise man practices contemplation. Silence is the great teacher. The more one delves into her oceanic depth the more we can drink to our heart’s content. So if we are to learn the truth, silence is the road to travel. Embrace silence my dear!

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The Depth of Our Helplessness

We are in this life in a spiritual journey to meet our Lord. We have to face many spiritual battles before we can finally reach the mountaintop. These battles cannot be won based on our own power. The conversion story of Augustine is a testimony to this. Despite the many efforts he personally made to find the truth—God, he never finds it until he understands that he must not rely on his own power. It is only God’s grace that enables us to turn to him. Although he was wholeheartedly looking for happiness, it could not be found without God’s grace. Two of the questions he asks show the primacy of God’s grace over personal effort. First, “why do I hesitate to abandon secular hopes and dedicate myself to God and the happy life?” (Confessions book vi, xi (19)). Second, if God is the author of supreme good, why do I have the power to will evil and reject good? (Book vii, iii (5)) I want to show that regardless of how willing we may want to surrender to God and do the right thing, God’s grace is indispensable in order to make that choice.
After Simplicianus told Augustine the story of Victorinus and St. Anthony, it became clear to him that he needs to convert to the catholic faith. He understands that there is no delight for him unless he turns himself to God. However, he quickly realizes having the knowledge that God is the source of happiness that he is seeking, and actually embrace that happiness are two worlds apart. As he put it, “the enemy had a grip on my will and held me prisoner”. His new will to enjoy the only source of pleasure was not strong enough to conquer his older will. His two wills were in conflict and robbed his soul of all concentration (book viii, v (10)). By saying this, he clearly understands that his happiness does not lie in worldly affairs, but he could not give them up on his own; though the burden of the world weighed him down, he could not turn to God until he called upon Jesus to fill him with power to overcome the disease of worldly allurements (book viii, v (12)). That tells us, even if we know what to do, our intellect and will need help to act. We need God’s grace. Without grace, we cannot make heavenly choice. We are in good shape only when our source of energy is God.
We have the power to reject good and choose evil because we have the power of choice. To understand the second question, Augustine works out some principle. God is good. All that he created is good. If they were not good, they would not exist at all. Evil has no being; so it was not created (by God) (book vii, v (7)). It enters the scene as a result of our bad choice. Humans are created with the power to choose. As such, he can choose whatever he pleases. As a result, he makes good and bad choice. God lets them choose lest he interfere with their freedom. To avoid evil, we need to regulate our choices. On our own, we will always fail. We need God’s grace to help us order our choices. That’s possible when we embrace the mediator between God and man— Jesus Christ (book vii, xviii (24)). It is only with God’s intervention do we receive the grace to make good choice. Yes, we find the grace to serve the Lord willingly only when we put on Jesus Christ (book viii, xii (29)). Unless we put our spiritual mouth at the fountain of God’s delight and drink avidly, the truth we are seeking could not be found (book ix, iii (6)).
It is my hope that no one has to look deep to realize how much God is necessary in his lives. From the breath we respire to our greatest accomplishment, I hope it is easy enough to see God’s fingers in all of them. So when you realize how much you’re contingent upon God, please take a moment to thank him for being so generous to you today. It’s as simple as that!