Last Sunday we examined the disciplines of silence and solitude. We understood that these practices are not therapeutic in nature, but rather they become the tools of regeneration, the place of conversion where the old man/woman dies and a new person emerges. Silence and Solitude is the space where the loud voices and noises in our lives are quelled so that we may truly hear the voice of God. And again, hearing God’s voice is not about a magical enlightenment but rather about the transforming power of the Spirit at work in our lives.
“Society…was regarded [by the Desert Fathers] as a shipwreck from which each single individual man had to swim for his life…These were men who believed that to let oneself drift along, passively accepting the tenets and values of what they knew as society, was purely and simply a disaster.” (Merton)
“Solitude is not merely a means to an end. Solitude is its own end. It is the place where Christ remodels us in his own image and frees us from the victimizing compulsions of the world. Solitude is the place of our salvation.” (Nouwen)
“Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before GOD. GOD will pass by.” A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before GOD, but GOD wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but GOD wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but GOD wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.”
(1 Kings 19:11-13)
“Humble silence opens the ears and causes the listener to hear that ‘sound of sheer silence’ with which God so often speaks.” (Jones)
“As an apprentice of Christ, I may be saved by grace, but I still have years of habitual anger, materialism, lust, and many other things to be dealt with. They’re not just going to go away. Like someone who has a bad golf swing and always slices off to the right, I’m going to have to practice hitting the ball in a different way to make it go straight. The slice is in my body; it’s how I have been formed. [Silence and solitude] help transform my habitual actions. These disciplines are not a substitute for grace, but receptacles for it.” (Willard)