Silence, Serenity & Stillness

I’ve been busy 🙂 So I apologize in advance for my lack of regular posts – the beginning of the school year is usually full of way too many things to do. That thought sparked this mini-article for our school newsletter – I share it here with all of y’all as well.

The fruit of silence is prayer
the fruit of prayer is faith
the fruit of faith is love
the fruit of love is service
the fruit of service is peace.
– Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta

Stillness is the greatest revelation.
– Taoist Proverb

Be still and know that I am God.
– Psalm 46:10

This month we celebrate the memorial of Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta. One of her quotes, featured above, is a favorite of mine. I like it because it begins in silence and ends in peace, while in between we find prayer, faith, love, and service – many of the Christian virtues we are called to incarnate into our lives and into our world.

However, it reminds me that, as Christian virtues go, silence isn’t a popular one, especially here in outgoing, extroverted, energetic America. But in terms of Scripture, we’re told that Jesus sometimes preached through his silence: when approached by an angry mob demanding that an adulterous woman be stoned, be met their anger and hypocrisy with silence; when questioned by those in authority near the end of his life, he responded with dignified silence; and upon performing miracles and healings, he sometimes asked those who were healed to stay silent regarding his power.

It’s hard to be silent in our culture – TV’s inundate us with news, weather, movies, and gossip; radios flood us with music and commentary every morning, afternoon and evening; coworkers, family members, friends, and acquaintances chat with us; and sometimes our own minds won’t stop a never-ending barrage of thoughts and emotions.

Silence, in our age, has become a precious commodity.

Stillness, too, is hard to come by. We are constantly on the move. Students tell me that there are days when they don’t get home until 9:00 pm or later. There are places to go, people to see, things to buy, friends to visit, and lots and lots of exciting, adventurous, fun things to do. But sit still? It’s regarded as wasteful . . . lazy . . . somehow un-Christian . . .

When again, Scripture reminds us that God wants us to be still and listen for his Voice, his Presence. Jesus spent hours, days, weeks, months alone in prayer, in contemplation, in re-creation. No one can accuse him of slacking off! In our culture, though, rest and relaxation don’t “count” unless we’ve left the house, driven a considerable distance, spent a considerable amount of money, or gone through considerable training to be able to engage in our re-creation.

My challenge to everyone (including myself!) is to do the following (consider it your spiritual “to do” list):
· Do less
· Listen more
· Sit still and waste time together
· Be alone for a while
· Drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep

I think you’ll find that if you do, and if you model this behavior for your family, you’ll be less stressed, more energetic, more focused on your blessings, and more able to listen to the roaring whisper that is God’s presence in your marriage, your family, your work, and your self.

Blessings & Peace,
Hugo De La Rosa III
Campus Minister

5 thoughts on “Silence, Serenity & Stillness

  1. Matt: Glad to be of service. 🙂 And I can understand about not wanting to hear the message – most of the time I think that God is using me to preach to myself – he reminds me of thing I don’t live out well in what I preach and teach to others . . . it’s almost like God knows what he’s doing! 🙂

    Blessings & Peace,
    Hugo

  2. Your timing is impeccable! That Mother Theresa quote was exactly what I needed for a class 🙂 and the message was, well, what I needed and didn’t want to hear. The discipline of stillness is not my strongsuit! God bless!

  3. Glad I could help – it’s as much a reminder for others as for me, too – I tend to become a workaholic if I’m not vigilant, as does my wife – we help keep each other in check (and our son helps keep both of us in check!).

    Blessings & Peace,
    Hugo

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