From time to time, we need to stop.
Once in a while, we need to step out of the stream of worldly time and remember the Silence—the harmonious rest of eternity.
The longer we go on without these vital pauses, the further and further we will drift from our divine Centre. The more difficult it will become to find the Centre again and rest in God.
True, as long as we live on this earth, the way back to the Centre will always be there for us. The divine call will always be upon us. However, the more agitation that we accumulate in our souls over time, the longer it will take to release all of that agitation in order to rest in God again. For to accumulate agitation is to stray further and further away from our original innocence—the innocence in which we simply know God and know His knowing us.
A newborn child is unable to regulate its own emotional rhythms. It is unable to calm itself. It needs to be held up to its mother’s body in order to feel her peace and security. When it is upset, it cannot generate its own peaceful silence from itself. Someone else needs to immerse the child in the feeling of peaceful silence. The child depends on the loving voice and physical embrace of the mother or father, in order to feel settled again. The mother or father is the saviour who puts to rest the waves of the child’s inner turmoil.
You are as a newborn babe. You cannot generate the Silence, the Rest of God, from out of yourself.
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
Isaiah 30:15 (NRSV)
You will not succeed in resisting the spiritual onslaught that comes from the world and from the enemy, if you lose touch with the Silence of God. Without the Silence of God, which is for you the Rock and Sure Foundation, you will be dominated and taken captive. The Stillness of God is your strength, and without that Stillness you will be tossed by the waves, thrown helplessly from one thing to another.
Ask yourself this question: At what times in your life have you truly known the Silence and Rest of God?
Do you remember?
Have you forgotten the divine Silence? Have you neglected the Rest of God? Have you cast these off in order to pursue more “serious” things, the “more pressing” matters of everyday life? Did you forget to return? Or did you become so pre-occupied with these “serious” things that you have even forgotten the fact that you have forgotten?
Have you forgotten how to return? Have you perhaps despaired of being able to find your way back?
Everything (in the natural order) that God presents to us in our lives is good. Yet none of it is the Absolute Good. For that reason, everything in the natural order is potentially a poison—something that can lead one to feverish business, forgetfulness of God, a sort of madness. Not through God’s fault, and not through any fault of the gift per se, but through our own fault.
It does not matter how noble or exalted your project is. It does not matter that you are doing outwardly the same work of God that God has called you to. If you lose touch with the Centre, the Silence of God--if you stray from the Divine Will—then the gifts that God has sent you will lose their context, and become distorted. You will begin to use them to feed your ego, your ambition, your own little kingdom on earth.
But you were never meant to let these things become your spiritual food. As St. Augustine says, the created gifts that God sends us are meant to lead us toward God. They are merely the tables, the plates, the utensils and the fingers by which we are served God—God, who alone is our nourishing spiritual food.
I am the bread of life.
We need to catch ourselves when we begin to gnaw again on tables, plates, utensils and fingers. These things make us sick if we eat them. How many of us are sick! And it is contagious.
Nothing created can generate the rest of God. As long as we take in everything around us as if it were meant to be our spiritual food, we will never find rest.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Pray for me. I am beginning to remember how much of God’s rest that I have forgotten. I pray that you will begin to remember too.
I am a cradle Catholic, husband, and father of three girls. My wife and I have long been convinced of the truth of the "new and divine holiness" as revealed to the Italian mystic, Luisa Piccarreta (1865-1947). I began reading Luisa's writings in the early 2000s. I hold a PhD in philosophy and specialise in metaphysics as applied to theological topics (Trinity, creation, grace and freedom).