in the intimacy of silence

We have been created by a silent all-knowing God, an unknowable Creator who loves us beyond all knowing. For us to be in an intimate relationship with Him we must be still, we must be silent, most of all we must have love, for as St. Paul says “If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal” [1 Cor 13:1].

Silence provides us with an opportunity to attain a deeper intimacy with others, with ourselves, and with God. Silence is the ultimate language of love; it is a communion of spirits, a covenantal acknowledgement of intense devotion.

Our culture, biased and skewed by much of the popular media, has long promoted the notion that intimate relationships are physically noisy affairs, filled with perspiration and passion. Like magic, this image of intimacy is nothing but a pale illusion and a false dream.

Once, during a confirmation class, I told my students that the closer and more intimate a relationship, the fewer words must be spoken. The more you must speak to one another; the less intimacy exists in the relationship. Talking to one another is important but silence conveys a deeper expression of trust, commitment, and love.

Of course this statement was met with great disbelief and incredulity among those so young for they had not had the opportunity to say “I love you” enough. But then neither had they felt the desperate need and intense release that comes when two souls become one spirit. Spend forty years or a lifetime in love and you will discover that silence speaks louder than any words could ever be spoken and that the greatest intimacy is achieved in the simple presence of another.

True intimacy requires a close relationship, a sense of belonging and submission, a giving of one’s self to someone without asking for anything in return.  It is an awareness of and a longing for the deepest knowing of another, a thing that can never be attained but forever sought.

St. Augustine expressed his often distant and reluctant relationship with God in his Confessions this way

Late have I loved you,
O Beauty ever ancient, ever new,
late have I loved you!

You were within me, but I was outside,
and it was there that I searched for you.

In my unloveliness
I plunged into the lovely things which you created.
You were with me, but I was not with you.

Created things kept me from you;
yet if they had not been in you
they would have not been at all.

You called, you shouted,
and you broke through my deafness.
You flashed, you shone,
and you dispelled my blindness.
You breathed your fragrance on me;
I drew in breath and now I pant for you.

I have tasted you,
now I hunger and thirst for more.
You touched me,
and I burned for your peace.

Like St. Augustine, we all too often find ourselves plunged into the lovely things which God has created, seeking intimacy in the external rather than within the silent sanctuary of our souls. We are blind to the brilliance of His glory; we are deaf to the sound of His voice. Yet know that God awaits us in the intimacy of silence.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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