This summer I was broken and opened up so elegantly to God’s love for me-- one way, namely, through silence!
The team went on a 4-day silent retreat in early July in the mountains of Healy, Alaska, where we read a different gospel each day and simply walked with our Lord through His life. Father Michael so wisely instructed us that God’s language is silence- in the silence is where He most clearly speaks.
I really experienced God speaking to me through silence, but not only in reading through the mysteries of Christ’s life on this retreat. I experienced this on countless nights and mornings of adoration we had both as a team and in community with different parishes (With the Body of Christ is powerful silence!). God showed me himself through my silence in listening to my teammates and the many beautiful souls we encountered in our travels throughout Alaska. I heard the Lord through silence in nature-- His incredible sculpting, with every unique detail so ominously surrounding me at every corner.
A particular time I experienced God speaking to me through the silence happened on the Fourth of July.
The Fourth of July was a full day. We watched a dear friend of ours run a race up and down a mountain. We spent time in Mass, walking around town, at the parish barbecue, and calling our families. Finally, in the evening, we had a team bonfire celebrating our freedom where we shared testimonies, prayed, bonded, and praised together!
At the very end of our eventful night Father Michael had us all stop and just look at the breathtaking beauty around us (mountains, ocean, beach, sand, and clear evening sky). He had us just be silent and listen. He told us to praise God in our hearts for the beauty around us and simply to let God speak.
A couple of things struck me in these short moments of prayer. This first being how small I am in comparison to my vast Creator. The second, which really touched my heart, was how detailed He is.
“Our God is a detailed God!” I thought, “He carved every minuscule feature of these vast mountains before me. How much more does he have every detail of my life in mind? EVERY DETAIL! Why should I EVER worry?!”This simple truth strikes me deeply even now. It serves as a reminder to me looking back to these moments standing before His glory, as well as an encouragement looking forward to my senior year and beyond, that faith is not necessarily seeing with one’s eyes, but believing He holds it all with utmost delicacy in His hands! I am reminded through this experience to strive often to take similar steps back, ponder the beauty of the moment, and just let Him speak in the silence of my heart, for that’s where He is truly present! All He asks me to do is listen.
I read the following in the book Poustinia today that reminded me of this power of silence:
“True silence is a key to the immense and flaming heart of God…This silence is not the exclusive prerogative of monasteries or convents. This simple, prayerful silence can and should be everybody’s silence. It belongs to every Christian who loves God, to every Jew who has heard in his heart the echoes of God’s voice in his prophets, to everyone whose soul has risen in search of truth, in search of God. For where noise is — inward noise and confusion — there God is not! Deserts, silence, solitudes are not necessarily places but states of mind and heart.”
“True silence is a key to the immense and flaming heart of God”… Amen! Thank you God for speaking in silence!
-Maggie Giroux and the Magadan Mission Team