I was recently on the metro heading back home from JFK airport to Harlem. The train was pretty full. Standing by the door was a young woman listening to music on her headphones. She seemed lost in her music and was humming fairly loudly, gaining the attention of the other passengers around her who seemed faintly amused by this. Looking at her kindly, a man in his 40’s turned to the lady next to him and said in a gentle southern voice, that reminded me of Forrest Gump, “My Momma said you can’t hear God with those things in your ears.” The lady, a black New Yorker, responded simply, “That’s right.”
Silence. We can’t hear God without silence. And yet many people seem to be afraid of silence, perhaps because they’re afraid of themselves-their own thoughts, fears or problems -or maybe even God! But we can’t hear God without silence and if I can’t hear God I can’t begin to know his will for my life. Traditionally Lent is a time when we give things up to make extra space for God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Maybe we could give up listening to music, watching TV, playing computer games or looking at Facebook. In its place we would have space for God and who knows what could happen?
Blessed Mother Teresa knew our need for silence: “God is the friend of silence. His language is silence… We need silence to be alone with God, to speak to him, to listen to him, to ponder his words deep in our hearts. We need to be alone with God in silence to be renewed and to be transformed. Silence gives us a new outlook on life. In it we are filled with the grace of God himself, which makes us do all things with joy.” I dare you! Make time for God in silence! Every day for 10 minutes! This Lent could change your life!
God Bless each of you!
Fr. Emmanuel Mansford