Two links today: first to a piece about silence by my friend Shannon Huffman Polson over at Good Letters.
In 1 Kings, God instructs Elijah to go out and watch as God passes by. Elijah sees great winds, an earthquake, a fire, distractions and shows, the inflammation of our daily lives, but that was not where the Lord could be found. But “after the fire came a gentle whisper,” or, in the King James Bible “a still, small voice.” It was in stillness, in silence, that Elijah could hear the Lord.
Silence for me allowed awareness, and awareness attention. “Prayer is …attention in its purest form,” says Simone Weil, who also notes that “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” I found I was, slowly, better able to pray. My flesh had been cut, and for two weeks distractions sheared away.
Every day, the Enemy of our souls tries to pull us away from resting in Christ. Despair stalks us. As markets rise and fall, natural disasters strike, and nations war, we’re inundated with uncertainty, fear and doubt. But if we give in to the lie that it’s all for naught and there’s no reason to hope, ignoring the miracles of Incarnation and Resurrection, Satan wins. At least for now.