Tag: silence

A Conspiracy of Silence on Heaven

…my father complained to me some years ago that no one talked about heaven. I see a couple of reasons for that phenomenon. First, no one wants to be definitive about anything these days. No one wants to take a stand, even though Scripture and the long tradition of Church teaching on this issue are very clear. Society’s “all things are relative” approach has affected theologians, preachers, and teachers of the Gospel. Many are afraid to declare anything absolutely for fear of being marginalized in their careers. Pride affects all of us, but those most responsible for preaching and teaching are attacked in a particular way. As a result, many are unable to bring solid food to an often frightened and discouraged people. What a truncated Gospel remains!

In the face of external confusion and internal pride, those called to preach are often silent on what matters most.

This difficulty is very serious. In an interview in The Rock in September of 1996, Scott Hahn commented:

“In American Catholic scholarly circles, if you choose to say things that are politically incorrect, your career is ruined. You’re blacklisted, you’re not promoted and you’ll actually find it much harder to publish.”

Karl Keating echoed similar concerns when he said in the same interview:

“Scholars are marginalized. Their books don’t get reviewed, they don’t get promoted and the centers of scholarship invite on to their staffs only those people who already agree with majority opinion.”

A second reason is that believing in heaven means preaching and teaching on what Scripture clearly explains is necessary to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Again, some priests, theologians, and other teachers of religion are afraid to teach the absolutes of morality. Again, no one wants to be criticized as “fundamentalist,” “simplistic,” or “not up-to-date theologically.” The effect of all this is a conspiracy of silence on the very topic our Lord intended to help us endure, to persevere, to be nourished in hope, and to be sustained in such a way that we could help others put their hope in a God of love.

What does our faith clearly teach us about our resurrection? Christ suffered and died for our sins. After suffering a horrible death and the seeming loss of all hope that the Apostles and first disciples experienced, He rose gloriously triumphant on Easter morning. Paul teaches us in First Corinthians that what happened to Christ is a sure and firm promise of what is to be ours. Christ rose that we might know He triumphed over death. Those who put their faith in Him will experience the same victory, because our lives are one with Christ through faith and baptism.

 


This article is an excerpt from Sr. Ann Shield’s booklet What Am I Living For? In this booklet, Sr. Ann shows us how to combat the culture of death with the Word of God that enables us to grasp the inestimable value of each person and ponder the incredible realities that await us in heaven.

This booklet is no longer in print but is available as a FREE electronic download on our website!

 

Non-Negotiable Silence

The following article originally appeared in Sr. Emmanuel Maillard’s November 2017 monthly report from Medjugorje and was re-printed in Renewal Ministries’ May 2018 newsletter.


 

Thieves in our midst!
Every day, new means of communication are made available and placed on the market for us to buy. They are touted everywhere: television, radio, mobile phones, Twitter, Internet, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. If these “modes” are supposed to help us communicate, then why have fellowship and relationships between people deteriorated? Why are families increasingly torn apart? Who are these thieves who come to subtly steal away our time of listening to one another, to participate in the joy of fellowship and unity of hearts?

A trap for our relationships with others
Families should be “a place of understanding and kindness,” according to one of our Blessed Mother’s recent messages in Medjugorje. But through television and all of these different devices, too many families have allowed thieves to sneak into their midst. Thieves who steal their time, family conversations, and time that otherwise would have been spent paying attention to one another.

Of course, these technologies are not all bad! They are often very useful and the only means of communication between households that are miles apart. However, our frantic, systematic, and indiscriminate use of them has turned these technologies into real domestic tyrants that control us.

These new forms of communication steal our ability to have a deep inner life and to listen to God and to our neighbor. They steal our ability to adore the Living God, which makes the grandeur of man. They suspend us in a state of distressing superficiality that we are getting used to, and it is a disaster. It is almost like a drug addiction. When we worship God, we become what we truly are in the eyes of the Creator, while these impostors deprive us little by little of our beautiful identity.

Many families are suffering from a critical lack of communion. Where love is not expressed, every person tries to survive his imprisonment by seeking compensation through all-out communication. Oh, if only we knew how much God wants to talk to us! After all, His first commandment begins with “Shema Israel,” “Listen Israel!”

A pitfall in our relationship with God
The Lord said to St. Faustina:
“In a chatty soul, I find no rest.
The incessant turmoil exhausts me, and in this tumult,
the soul cannot hear my voice.”
God indeed speaks to every soul, but only a small number of them hear the murmur of His voice. Today, many people are afraid of silence—afraid of having to face themselves. Noise enables us to forget our inner emptiness by pretending to fill it. What an illusion! Poor heart, it cannot find true joy! Poor heart that does not know that only God can fill it, and which forgets its capacity to be filled!

How can we keep a pure heart?
When we are criticized or hear unkind words, they hit us like a wave hits the shore. It can hit a rock and bounce back with even greater violence: This is what happens when we respond, justify ourselves, or further spread these words around. But the wave can also run aground on the sand, lose its strength, and end up disappearing: This is what happens when we meet criticism, slander, and hatred with silence, as Jesus did during His Passion. Thus, violence runs aground in our silence and simply disappears.

“Never enter into a (combative) discussion,” shared the Mother of God in one of her messages at Medjugorje! For instance, if someone curses God in your presence, pretend not to hear it. Do not respond, do not argue back. But in your heart, bless the Lord with all your heart, say as many praises as you can. Your blessing will cancel out the effect of the blasphemy, and God will be glorified.

Three filters
The philosopher Socrates gave us some very good advice. When we hear something bad being said, and we want to repeat it to others, let’s first put it to the test of the “three filters”:
1. Is it absolutely true?
2. Is it a good thing to say?
3. Is it useful to say it?
If it is neither true, nor good, nor useful . . . let’s forget it! Let us take the Mother of God as our example. She was silent as she carried Baby Jesus in the quiet of her heart. She did not cry out from the rooftops, “Guess what! I have the best news ever for you!”

St. Faustina: “Silence is a sword in spiritual struggle.”
St. Faustina made the above statement in Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul. She continued,
“A talkative soul will never attain sanctity. The sword of silence will cut off everything that would like to cling to the soul. We are sensitive to words, and quickly want to answer back, without having any regard as to whether it is God’s will that we should speak.”

“A silent soul is strong. If it perseveres in silence, no adversities will harm it. The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God. It lives almost always under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In a silent soul, God works without hindrance.” (477)

“The Holy Spirit does not speak to the dissipated and talkative soul, but speaks by silent inspiration to the soul that knows how to keep silent. If silence were strictly observed, there would be no murmurs, no bitterness, no slander and gossip. Love of neighbor would not be tarnished. In a word, many flaws would cease to exist. A mouth that keeps silent is pure gold and is a testament to inner holiness.” (145)

Elsewhere, Jesus also said to her:
“Try to live in silent reflection in order to hear my voice, which is a murmur; only souls remaining in silent recollection can hear it” (1779).

 

‘God Speaks in the Silence of the Heart’

prayer poem
Image Credit

A group of Renewal Ministries’ employees have formed a study group to read Ralph Martin’s The Fulfillment of All Desire using this book.  The study group has been very fruitful! One member shared this poem at a recent meeting, in relation to a discussion. We pray it blesses you as it has blessed us.

By St. Mother Teresa

God speaks in the silence of the heart, and we listen.
And then we speak to God from the fullness of our heart.
First we listen, and God speaks. And then we speak, and God listens.
And that connection is prayer, is oneness with God.

The fruit of prayer is deepening of faith.
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
And the fruit of service is peace.

That’s why we need to pray to have a clean heart.
When we have a clean heart, we can see God,
And when we see God, naturally we begin to love one another.

That means we see and we look, and then we give our hands
To serve and our hearts to love, and that’s the beginning of holiness.