Monday, April 26, 2010

Into Great Silence

Several years ago a very unique motion picture came to the United States for screening across the country. It had no action as part of its plot. There were no love scenes. There were no actors or actresses. No one pulled a gun, discovered a gruesomely mutilated body, or even spoke one curse word. Yet, the movie was a success. Quite remarkable when you stop and think that the movie ran for over two hours and did not have one line of written dialogue, only a community of religious men who came together daily for prayer.

The film, "Into Great Silence," chronicled the lives of the monks of a monastery tucked away deep in the French Alps. The director, who also served as the film's camera and sound man, spent six months recording the daily pulse of life in the monastery. Here we witness men living in complete silence, making every task a prayer. They gathered together as a community several times a day for prayer and carried out their work assignments in complete silence, allowing the voice of God to penetrate their hearts. Once a week they came together to talk among themselves about issues in the monestery and to enjoy one another's company. The rest of their week was spent in complete silence.

Their is a lesson in this simple and beautiful film. It is a message of simplicity. A message of true and honest work in the name of the Lord. It is an example of commitment to the Word of God in mundane every day tasks.

We live in a very noisy world. Televisions run twenty-four hours a day. Traffic seems to flow at all hours of the day and night. Our computer keyboards clatter well into the wee hours of the morning. Music plays in the backdrop of our lives and the only time we notice it is when it is not playing! In all of this racket it is very difficult to hear the voice of the Lord, let alone determine what it is that He is saying.

Prayer life is vital to the survival of the soul. Without it, we may very well whither and die in our spiritual life. We must create a personal space for prayer, preferably on a daily basis, that allows for the quiet that our souls crave.

My quiet time is late at night when the house is quiet and the world outside my window seemingly has slowed down to the point that the evening sounds can be recognized. The sound of crickets and bellowing of frogs in the summer and the absolute quiet that follows a freshly fallen blanket of snow speak volumes of the love of God. It is in these quiet times that our hearts and minds are better able to open to the Spirit and allow the Father of us all to enter into communion with us.

This quiet time doesn't have to be a prolonged period of time, although I think you will find that if you do create a quiet time for yourself, you will want it to go on beyond the time you have allotted. It is a time of peace and real relaxation. It is a time when you do not have to have one single thought in your head. Indeed, it is often better if you do not! It is a very private time between you and God in which the Father will take the opportunity to touch our hearts. In this moment, a sense of enormous joy will infuse the soul even though you may not be readily aware of it.

As the film "Into Great Silence" teaches, there is great satisfaction and peace in allowing the voice of God to permeate our existence as we go through our every-day lives. Jesus invites us to come to Him in just such a way. He once told His followers that when they wanted to pray, they were to lock themselves away so they would not be disturbed. In this way the Father of us all will certainly come into our hearts with His messages of Faith, Hope, and Love. How can we possibly pass up the opportunity to meet God in such an intimate setting. Seek your own "Great Silence" and the Lord will not disappoint!