“The intellect cannot be still unless the body is still also;
and the wall between them cannot be demolished without stillness and prayer.”
Saint Mark the Ascetic
Is there anything more beautiful than silence? I think not. Is there anything more essential that stillness? I know not.
Very often, and that is if it hasn’t already overwhelmed us once again, we will be surrounded by sounds, some of it well pleasing to the ear, some of it distracting. If we do not attempt to acquire the gift of stillness of heart, then all we will celebrate will be the discovery of some new manufactured idea – and the church does not celebrate ideas. Without a thirst for stillness, we will remain spiritually empty. Silence, a product of stillness, remains the mother of our wisest thoughts. Anything said, anything heard, everything seen, needs to have its genesis through entering into the stillness of thought, which can eventually give way to an intense life of inner prayer. This intimately unites us to Christ. It is dangerous to live apart from God; living a life consistent with the Gospel is the goal.
That the Word, the Logos, the eternal Son of God, He whom the church worships as one of the Holy Trinity, and enters quietly, of course, into the realm of time and space in which the Sovereign One rules, can best be understood when contemplated upon, and will eventually be revealed to us, in silence. Because man has a difficult time comprehending God taking on flesh and dwelling among us (Doctrine of Incarnation), so that for the most part, we fail to put in the required effort. Instead, our understanding of God dwelling among us in the flesh, is reduced to embracing a new-born child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger in a small town named Bethlehem. After all, who amongst us doesn’t love an infant?
Stillness, silence, and contemplation enables us to listen and hear God’s voice. In short, it is the ability to rest with God. All that is positive and necessary for the cultivation of the spiritual dimension or life will not be met unless we recover and deepen a genuine sense of silence and contemplation which are essential elements of spiritual consciousness. Our soul must be cared for in the same manner that something sacred and holy is. It is essential that our spiritual longing and our desire for God consume us. Letting the language of silence guide of our thoughts and actions aids us in this endeavor.
“Be still, and know that I am God”, the Psalmist writes (46:10). Let us create the necessary space that will allow God to enter in to. This is the Nativity season, the time of Advent and waiting, so let us be open to all that which is from God in order that He can act. Let us be ever-mindful for his presence and activity in our daily lives, and only then, will we have come to better prepared to encounter him. All this lead us to the knowledge of God (a sacred achievement), and that this will be considered amongst our most important work and acquisitions as children of God this Nativity season.