Friday, August 19, 2022

Listening to the Silence

So many of you have asked me, “Where do you get your ideas? Is it hard to come up with new articles week after week? Do you ever get tired of writing?”
All these questions are very good ones! The writing ideas come to me, I believe, through the workings of the Holy Spirit. I always seem to have a plan running through my mind, since it is churning, but it is the Holy Spirit who pokes me and says, “Write about this.” The danger when I don’t listen to Him is that these articles can degenerate to a column about “Sister Says” rather than Him using me as His instrument.
As I begin to put words to this “virtual newspaper” once more, I am surprised by how the Holy Spirit answers the need for me to share with you. God never ceases to amaze me! He can even speak through social media!
One of the people I follow on Twitter is Father Goyo Hidalgo. Father was born in Spain and now serves within the Diocese of Los Angeles. He, too, is an evangelist, though he microblogs on Twitter; and he, too, is dyslexic.
One recent morning on his Twitter feed, he wrote: “God, teach us what it means to have faith in silence. When we face trials that are beyond our understanding, help us to find peace. Help us be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Bring healing and peace today.”
I could not help resting in every word that Father Hidalgo tweeted because it is only within silence that we can actually hear and attend to others, especially with everything we are experiencing today.
Kay Lindahl, author of The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice, writes, “I’ve grown uncomfortable with the popular notion of simply celebrating diversity. That seems ultimately limiting and superficial and doesn’t allow for the calling forth of new possibilities for action or for a deepening sense of community. What speaks to me instead is to find ways to honor and respect our differences through hearing the nuances in each particular voice. How can I learn more about the other? How can I learn to appreciate those who are different from me?… Part of the tension of our differences is also the same thread that weaves us all together. The practice is to hear the voices for what they are – distinctive, individual.”
Only after we experience silence can we actually hear. In fact, within silence, all our senses become enlivened to a new reality: God present in our midst and His likeness found in others – even those who are different than I am.
Only through silence can we hear the sacredness of another story filled with hope as well as pain. Only through silence can we hear the tiny whispers of God walking side by side with each of us. Only in silence can we become another Simon of Cyrene (he helped Jesus carry His cross) and help others to discover that another does indeed care!
Echoing Father Hidalgo: “this brings healing and peace” for today!
1Lindahl, Kay. The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice. SkyLight Paths Pub., 2002. Pg. 65-66.
By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, Special to The Witness

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