Monday, January 16, 2012

The Classroom of Silence

On retreat with my confirmation teens this weekend, a message came through loud and clear.  It is a message that I have been hearing here and there over the last several weeks and Saturday, I finally heard it in a way that I had not really heard it before.  I need to spend more time in the Classroom of Silence.

Matthew Kelly talks about the Classroom of Silence is most every book he writes.  He describes how important this aspect of our faith life and our prayer time is.  Our retreat speaker, Mike Gormley, also discussed how important silence within our prayer life is.  He states that "for prayer to be effective, we need 3 things... Solitude, Stillness, and Silence.

This seemed an odd combinations of "S"'s to me.  It seems only logical that if you have Solitude and Stillness, Silence would surely exist.  And then I went to Mass and heard the readings.  The one I most needed to hear. 
the LORD came and stood there, calling out as before: Samuel, Samuel! Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10
This passage stirred something within me and then Father, during his homily, said, "This reading reminds us to listen to God.  We have turned the verse around and we say "Listen Lord, for your servant is speaking!""

Of course.  I recalled all the times I must have sat in prayer and poured out my heart, my troubles, my worries, my concerns, my failures, my successes, my gratitude, and so on to the Lord.  And how often I have not listened to what He had to say.  How difficult this sit in wait to hear His voice.

But as all things, this requires practice. As my running requires a training plan, so does my faith life.  If I can dedicate many hours a week to my physical formation, can I not also commit some time to the practice of silence?

We all want to learn and we all need teachers.  God is the ultimate teacher, the supreme mentor.  When I want to learn something, I learn it best when I am taught by someone who truly knows the subject at hand.  A teacher enters a classroom to teach, (which usually involves speaking) and a student enters a classroom to learn, (which usually involves silence).  At times the student may ask a question for further clarification, but as a rule, the teacher has the floor.  Who better to teach me how to pray and how to live than the Great Teacher Himself.

Off to school...

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