Enter into His Heart…in silence

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God loves silence.

In silence, when all noise and distraction have ceased, there is only God, Who is everywhere. God and us in the silence…together.

Great and mighty things happen in silence.  The Eternal Word leapt down from Heaven and became flesh in Mary’s womb … in silence.

“…and on the third day, He arose again from the dead.”  In silence.

Little miracles happen in silence too.  We go to bed at night and we wake up in the morning, and roses have bloomed and seeds have sprouted and the sun has appeared again….all in silence.

Our Lady is almost completely silent in the gospels, her Immaculate Heart so united to God that she too prefers the silence….so full of God.

On this Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I am thinking of the silence of His Eucharistic Heart beating within us at Holy Communion.  I love to ponder the Heart of Jesus embracing my poor little heart and beating with Infinite Love within me, during those precious moments of His Presence…..that union with Him beyond words.

Yet all is silent.  I do not sense the flames of Divine Love.  I do not hear His sweet voice, or experience the transformation of my soul.  But I believe that all of this is present….in the silence in which I immerse myself in thanksgiving.

I try to rest in that silence, my head on His breast, my inner voice stilled.  It is enough to be with Him in those few moments, in a mutual embrace of love….in silence.

It is the same when I kneel in Adoration before His Sacred and Eucharistic Heart.  Those hours are the most silent periods of my week.  Yet, they are the most transformative.  I am in His Presence.  Nothing more is needed.  He is at work in my soul … silently.

An hour, a  day, a week, a month later, I experience evidence of those Divine touches.  I find patience I did not know I had, forgiveness comes easily, there is strength for a difficult trial, there is peace in my soul, there is joy in my heart.   All the work of the Master.  He never comes without changing us, without leaving gifts yet to be discovered.  You too have experienced this, I know.

And, He does it all….in silence.

Let us not become discouraged because we do not see visions of the Sacred Heart like St. Margaret Mary, or do not experience Jesus placing a flame of His Heart within us as He did to this humble nun..

Let us not even doubt when we walk the path of spiritual dryness and darkness and feel as though Jesus has abandoned us.  That will never happen.  He likes to hide, that we might seek Him more, as the bride in the Song of Songs sought her Lover.

And are they not especially silent, these times of aridity and spiritual desolation?  Great graces are being showered upon us, if we remain faithful to God….in the silence.

Our poor little hearts are so easily distracted by what our senses perceive.  But God gives us the gift of silence wherein there is only He, and nothing created to compete with the One we cannot yet see.

What joy we will bring to the Sacred Heart of Jesus today, if we seek Him in silence, draw near and rest our head upon that Heart which is filled with such unimaginable tenderness for each one of us.

“Behold this Heart which has so loved men, but is loved so little in return.”  Jesus to St. Margaret Mary.

Let us love Him in return….in silence,  which is, after all,  the language of Love.

(If you would like to read more about silence, please visit my friend Theresa’s blog, desert of my heart, where she writes so beautifully on this topic.)

 

…let me hear Your Voice (Song of Songs 2:14)

Oh Joy!  Thursday afternoon, I am leaving to spend four days in the silence and solitude of a retreat.  I have loved retreats since that first one in highschool, which I pretended not to like, because my friends said it was boring and a waste of time.  But God knew how I really felt.  Maybe my friends secretly felt the same way….

My first adult retreats were not silent ones, but I thought they were heavenly… until I made my first silent retreat.  That, indeed, was heaven!

I love the freedom to be silent, which is central to a silent retreat.  There is no guilt about not wanting to chat with someone, no expectation to nod in greeting to others, no laughing in the hallways, no small talk during meals.  Just precious, soothing, freeing silence.

As the silence takes hold that first night, it is like a soft, peaceful cloud descending over the retreat house.  Everything and everyone seem to recede into the mist, until there is only God and me.

He always brings a surprise….a beautifully wrapped gift, the contents of which He slowly reveals to me as the weekend progresses.  Years ago, I often found wondrous and unforgettable consolations in those Divine gifts.  In recent years,  they are more likely to contain an unexpected answer to a concern, a deeper insight into a mystery of faith or an indication of a new direction in my life.  Often, there is a message which emerges, a message personal to me, within the overall theme of the retreat.

And even though my current, prolonged state of dryness in prayer is likely to persist on retreat, there is always still hidden within, some ray of Light….like a smile from God.

The most incomparable joy and treasure of any retreat is being allowed to dwell for a few days beneath the same roof as my Eucharistic Jesus.  I always await my room assignment with great anticipation.  On two past retreats, my room was right next to the chapel, and I was absolutely delighted.  Other times, Jesus has given me the sacrifice of being on a different floor than He resides.  No matter.  He is there, and I can visit Him in the still and darkness of night.  I can stop in for countless moments throughout the days. 

This particular retreat has all night adoration on Saturday, and Jesus dwells in the monstrance, waiting for us to take turns coming to adore Him, rousing one another from sleep to spend time with the King.

All too soon the end comes.  At the noon meal on Sunday, we are released from our commitment to silence, and the din rises in the cafeteria as friends are once more able to greet each other, share their thoughts about the retreat, and hurry home to loved ones.

I am always grateful that a two-hour drive home awaits me, because I feel as though I must decompress to return to the noise of the world.  As the miles fly by, I feel my re-entry back into ordinary life so keenly.  The quiet of heaven seems to disappear behind me as I travel down the road.

There were times when I would cry almost the whole way home, and then stop at the adoration chapel and cry even more.  But Jesus taught me that this is not the way…that   even a retreat is not heaven, not yet the time for absolute, uninterrupted communion with Him. 

And everyday life… well, it is the moment to seek Him and love Him in others.  It’s the season for doing those ordinary daily tasks with joy, and offering them up for His Glory and the salvation of souls.  It’s accepting the cross and even trying to embrace it. 

But yes, it is still the time for silence, but now it is a silence I must struggle for.  It is not the misty, gentle silence of a retreat, but a silence wrestled free from the hum of everyday life.  A silence within, when noise is all about. 

But if I try, He never fails to come.  And…..

“I hear my love.
See how he comes
leaping on the mountains,
bounding over the hills.”
(Song of Songs 2:8)

To all of my blog friends, I will carry you in my heart this weekend and remember you in prayer throughout the retreat. I would be most grateful for your prayers as well. I truly love all of you!