Excerpt from “Contemplation: Listening,” Kingstown, West Indies
Talk given by M. Nadine


 “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Sm 3:10)

Isaiah, one of the great prophets said, “Morning after morning He opens my ear that I may hear” (Is 50:4). For us it’s the ear of the heart. He speaks to us and tells us His will and what pleases Him. This is why contemplative silence is so important from God’s point of view. From our point of view, we can usually skip over it because we’d rather be doing things – doing good things for the Lord. What is it about silence that seems to mean a lot to God? Well, I’m not sure I have the entire answer, but I want to briefly share how God moves in silence. His greatest revelations, the most solemn movements of His Spirit, come out of silence.

The Old Testament tells about the conception of Jesus. It says, “For when peaceful stillness compassed everything and the night in its swift course was half spent, the Word of God leapt down” (see Wis 18:14). It was silent when He leapt down into Mary’s womb. Then there is the silence of Bethlehem – only Mary and Joseph were there at Jesus’ birth. Think of this tremendous mystery. Then God waits and put His Son into the silence of the hidden years in Nazareth. For thirty years He was disguised, hidden.

There is the silence of Calvary. Even the Father Himself seemed to be silent then. Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46). Here, there is tremendous silence in the greatest moment of the history of all mankind. Also, look at the silence at the Resurrection. No one was there to see Jesus come out of the tomb. This is a tremendous mystery.

Revelation 8:1 says, “When the Lamb broke open the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” A tremendous solemn movement of God is about to happen, and it calls for silence. I can’t imagine all of Heaven being silent – the angels not singing and everyone not praising – only silence. Every time silence comes, there is going to be a solemn movement of God. You will hear and see this movement within your own soul in the silence.

 “Be still and know that I am God!” (Ps 46: 10 or 11)