Readings for August 9, 2020
1 Kings 19:9, 11-13
No one has ever accused me of having a “still small voice.” Over the years, my wife has often had to remind me, as well as our daughters, to “use an indoor voice.” So a few years ago when I told my wife and kids I was going on my first silent retreat, they were, let’s say, skeptical of my ability to last 3½ days without talking–loudly. I now crave that silence, knowing that I will hear God’s voice more clearly without the din of the world around me.
So I try to start my day with quiet. I wake up early, go into my office facing out the back of the house, open the window, and listen as the world awakes. The first sounds are those of crickets and chirping birds, which grow louder as the sun rises. Since the pandemic first hit, the sounds of the neighborhood come later than they used to. But eventually, people walking and talking, cars with those heading to work, dogs barking, all join the chorus of the morning. It is a peaceful time of day, perfect for reading scripture, praying, and considering the wonder of God’s creation. And what brings this peace is not that the world is quiet, but that I am.
However, most of my life is not spent in silence, not from me or from the world around me. No, the cacophony of the world is ever present in my daily activities. The crushing wind, the quaking earth, the rush of fire, all surround me, at least metaphorically, throughout my day. It seems, then, that amidst the noise of the day, I am called to be patient like Elijah and wait for the “tiny whispering sound,” the still small voice of the Lord.
And when it comes, my response must be to stop and listen. I must exit the relative comfort of whatever it is that makes up my cave and remain silent as He passes by. Quiet stillness in God’s presence allows me to hear His voice. Doing so allows me to heed His call. I seem to do this best on my annual silent retreat or in Eucharistic Adoration. Yet even in the quiet of the moment I am too often filled with the preparation for the noise of the day. I need to seek, patiently, the presence of God; and when I hear His voice, quietly listen. Doing so is true prayer, offering silent reverence to Him Who Is. Doing so allows me to break through the noise of the world, break through my own noise, and truly hear God.
My Lord God, my Father, may I patiently seek Your presence by quieting my heart so that it turns only to You. May I hear Your voice so that I can do Your will in my life. And may doing so bring me peace that comes from understanding Your love working in and through me. Amen