Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of Canada - Franciscains du Canada
Ordo Fratrum Minorum
Silence is a companion that we often forget about. It is regularly viewed in the negative as something awkward when there is nothing to say or there is a lull in action. However, silence is a companion which encourages us to go into our heart, to go to the depth of who we are. Silence invites us to listen not to the noise of life but rather to the voice of life. Silence can be a gift if we allow ourselves to enter into the sacred space it offers. What I have I learned over the past few years is that the gift of silence is where I hear the promptings for what I am being called to do in the next steps of the journey and where I hear truths which I often negate. Silence invites me into an awareness of God. Like the still small voice which Elijah encountered (1 Kings 19.11-13), when I am silent, I begin to hear differently. This then helps me to see differently and maybe even with a fullness. Silence can be a companion for the remaining days of this season of Lent if we allow it the space it needs. It is an invitation to be in the season and not simply do the actions of the season.
Lent provides the opportunity to allow silence to stir us to new realities and new life. A companion saint who knew the gift of silence is St. Joseph. There are no recorded words of his in scripture and it was in the silence of dreams where he encountered God and what God was calling him to do. When he slowed down enough to be, silence gifted him with the greatest task for which he was destined. We often leave Saint Joseph standing by the manger as the rest of life moves on. This is unfortunate. Let us invite Saint Joseph to be our companion this Lenten week, let us invite him to guide us as he guided Christ to listen with his heart and to be in tune with God. Silence invites us, like the icon before us, to be held to the heart of God.
Saint Joseph’s life says remember what God declared: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46.10) Where can you incorporate stillness and silence into this Lenten week?
St. Joseph invites us to return to the source of goodness and give praise for this goodness. “I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever” Psalm 89.1 states. The love of God is our inherent goodness which is continually offered to us. Over the journey of this Lent where have you experienced God’s goodness and steadfast love? Where have you shared it?
The life of St. Joseph recalls for us the invitation that with silence comes deep trust. “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid…” (Matthew 1.20). Joseph listened and trusted, abandoning his fears into God; trusting that God was equipping him for his role in the story of salvation. Do you trust God with how you are being called to your role in the story of life? Why or why not?
Icon: “Held to the Heart of God”
St. Joseph with the Child Jesus
by C. Ziprick – Soul Sibling Studios ©