that tiny whispering sound

It has been a long time coming but I finally decided to take the plunge and silence myself for an extended period of time. Today I began a week long directed silent retreat and if today is any indication of its remainder I should kick myself for waiting so long.



What a gift today has been. I was asked by my Spiritual Director to describe how the retreat was going for me so far and I could only describe it as luscious! Doesn’t that sound odd? Yet, that is what it feels and tastes like, sort of like the lyrics “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord”.

At Morning Prayer, the reading was 1 Kings 1-13 which is the reading that inspired me to write my book “The Voices Of God” and which coincidently serves as the lead-in to chapter four of the aforementioned book. I could only look toward heaven and smile. He really knows how to make an entrance! After breakfast I went for a walk and strolled through the labyrinth they have here. While I was traversing it I started saying (silently of course) over and over this mantra “Puzzles amuse me, mysteries intrigue me, and questions pursue me.” I’m not quite sure where that came from – other than from God, of course – but it stuck with me and when I returned to my room I felt compelled to pen the following poem. It’s a bit different but then it did come from God’s mouth to my feeble brain so …

The Labyrinth

Encountering a path so narrow,
which a traveler finds engaging
in a game of hide and seek
with those who dare to peek
beyond its long and winding way,
random thoughts of God arise.

Puzzles amuse me,
mysteries intrigue me,
and questions pursue me.

Mantric thoughts so softly creep,
unbidden yet with such insistence,
while within the narrow halls
of the labyrinth forged by God.
Step softly now, tread with care
God is near, so very near.

Life astounds me,
love gifts me,
and God loves me.

Enter through the narrow gate
knowing not what will surprise,
knowing not the destination
knowing only that the journey
must be traveled ‘til the end.
God knows its ending, only God.

Sorrow leaves me,
joy hugs me,
and peace calms me.

Will I wake on the morrow?
Will I see beyond the turn?
Will I travel the full measure?
Will I see the setting sun
at the ending of the day?
God knows but He’s not telling.

God’s in me,
God’s beside me,
and God’s with me.

With every turn encountered,
with every way addressed,
with every step advanced,
with every heartbeat measured,
with every thought possessed
thank You for loving me enough.

God heal me,
God touch me,
God hear me.

Looking down from celestial skies
upon the labyrinthine paths below,
the road of life lies bare and naked
of all that would surprise the traveler,
but none can scale the heights of heaven
to know what only God bestows.

God cleanse me,
God forgive me,
God save me.

Soft whispered songs from angel’s wings
play music for the worn and weary,
their voices kiss the wounded heart,
soothe the mind of troubled thought,
and cleanse the soul of weighty things
so God can rest inside of you.

It has truly been an amazing day and I am so looking forward to the remainder of my retreat. I have had no problem with the silence with but one small exception: this morning at breakfast they had us eating at the same table. Try eating with a group of people and not speaking with anyone! But we did it. Lunch was easier because we were able to eat at separate tables.

This afternoon I walked the Stations of the Cross. It is a beautiful walk among some very large trees. There was a flock (I suppose that is the correct term) of wild turkeys who were also taking in the stations—why else would they be there—and so either I followed them or they lead me through that quiet and blessed place. I felt blessed with their company.

You are in my prayers as I hope I am in yours.

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: 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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