Silent Our Souls

This week's reflection is written by
Very Rev. Lewis S. Fiorelli, OSFS

O Jesus, teach us how to make our soul be silent so that You may speak to us.”

~ Blessed Louis Brisson, OSFS

I love this simple but profound prayer of our Oblate Founder in which he asks Jesus to teach us how to silent our souls in order that he might speak to us. To “silent our souls” –what does that mean anyway?

Each new day brings with it its own busyness, distractions, challenges, difficulties, as well as its own joys and pleasures. I compare all of that to the hustle and bustle of a very busy restaurant in which the noise level is so high and the comings and goings of the service staff so frantic that you and your dinner companions can’t really hear one another or carry on a serious or relaxed conversation.

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Life is often like that busy restaurant, catching up in its many distractions even our inner selves and the still, quiet center of our soul. In that environment, we can barely hear, really hear, one another, let alone the voice of God. Remember the story of the prophet in the Old Testament who thought he would hear God’s voice in the mighty wind or the violent earthquake or the burning fire, but actually heard it, counter-intuitively, in a tiny whispering sound (1 Kings 19:12)? The prophet hid his face in hearing the tiny whispering sound because he knew then that he was in God’s holy presence and hearing God’s sweet voice. What was true for the prophet then is true for us now.

But Jesus needs to teach us how to quiet the noises all around us –and today that includes all those devices we are so frequently connected to through our ears and eyes. Many of us are surrounded by noise, addicted to noise, even at times to the point of being afraid to be without noise. That is why this same Blessed Louis invites us to retire frequently into the desert within. It is there, in the quiet aloneness of our inner selves, that we are able hear the tiny whispering sound of God’s voice. Hearing that voice changes us from within, leading us to a more Christ-like behavior with others. When God speaks and we hear, everything is changed, remade, and recreated for the better!

“The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.” If this was true for the poet William Wordsworth in his day, it is a thousand times truer for us today.

May Jesus teach us to silent our souls and enter the desert within so as to hear his voice. A new and more Christ-like us begins there!