His Way of Love is Silence and He Speaks to the Quiet Soul
“Silence must never be forgotten; benediction is silence; His path is silence; His way of love is silence; and He speaks to the quiet soul (see Sir 25:17, 32:9; Is 30:15).” – Cora Evans, Second Letter Lesson
My life is really loud. As a natural introvert, I want it to be the opposite: orderly, predictable, and yes, quiet. But with three young girls, one a toddler and another with special needs, my days are filled with constant chattering, cattiness between sisters, and boisterous play.
In the mornings, when I can snatch perhaps a few quiet moments of prayer before the chaos ensues, I sometimes read about early saints who lived as anchoresses or hermits in a cave, sustained only by herbs and water and daily meditation. Though quite the opposite of my state in life, I long for a quiet cave in which to huddle while I ponder the great mysteries of God.
Silence is food for my soul.
It’s true that God does not converse with us when we are constantly busy and surrounded by noise. The world gives us enough distractions as it is, so we need to find solitude in the sanctuaries of our hearts. I admit the challenge in this, but I also know how my life drastically transforms when I listen to God in the stillness of early morning or sit outside and absorb the natural world He created and thank Him for it all.
The greatest transformations in my life have happened in silence: waking up next to my husband the morning after our wedding; each child growing within my womb; the middle-of-the-night feedings of infants while I, exhausted, pray through tired tears; the thoughts that soon become melodies of hope to others as they collide on paper.
Silence is my daily bread. It is what fortifies me, grounds me, and heals my weariness.
“Bedtime is the time for us to think about death. Our bed is the tomb. As we take our rest, we may examine ourselves. Are we ready if the dawn does not make for us another day? Is our body, soul, and spirit ready? Are we willing to make detours into Purgatory, which is not our true country? If we rise in the night either from personal sickness, illness of family, or for other reasons, its distaste should remind us of Purgatory.” – Cora Evans, Second Letter Lesson
When our third daughter was born, I was truly feeling my age as I made my rounds of nighttime feedings. Even though I knew it wouldn’t last forever, it is still one of the most difficult aspects of motherhood to me: those early months of constant interruptions and chronic sleeplessness.
Sleep has always been a comfort to me. Bedtime routines signaled to my body, mind, and soul that it was time to wind down from the hectic day into the rest that night afforded me. But all of that instantly changes with a newborn in the family. Dawn becomes my evening, and dusk is when things are just getting started.
Around the third month into getting three consecutive hours of sleep per night, I would get up to feed Veronica and just sob. My body was aching, and I had two older daughters to care for. I felt as if I was at a breaking point. To make matters more complicated, I couldn’t fall asleep after I fed her. My body was so confused that it wanted me to get up and stay up.
I started to sit in our prayer room after night feedings instead of going directly back to bed, where I knew I would toss and turn. At first, I would mindlessly stare at the image of the Sacred Heart while my eyes grew heavy. Then, I would turn to Jesus and pour my heart out to Him.
Night became my day. It was the only time I had to think, to process my feelings, to gather my thoughts, and to turn to God in desperation and gratitude – with no distractions and in the silence of night. Bedtime rituals were opportunities for my daily examen.
It was in the night when Jesus overwhelmed me with His grace and love, enough so that I could survive another day. I no longer dread nighttime, because I know He is waiting for me there in the silence and darkness of my heart.
Suggested Scripture to ponder: Psalm 111
“Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. Majestic and glorious is his work, his righteousness endures forever.” (Ps. 111: 2-3)
It’s not difficult to pause in wonder of God’s beautiful majesty reflected in nature when we are silent and still. Early morning and late evening are perfect opportunities to step outside and observe with all of my senses: the smell of the autumn rain, the sound of the distant crickets, the light either fading or just unfurling, the cool air refreshing my soul.
It’s ordinary moments like these when my heart flutters awake. I am reminded through the simple signs of God’s life and love all around me that He created all of this for me to enjoy. When I was a little girl, I spent most of my time outdoors. Trees gave me shelter from spring rain showers and shade from the heat – sometimes even a hiding place from my younger brother. Today, I marvel at the different varietals of trees, both deciduous and evergreen. The colors alone uplift my soul.
Birds, too, speak to me of God’s love. I often think of the verse from Matthew that reads, “Look at the birds of the sky; they neither reap nor sow and gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them” (see chapter 6, verse 26). When I find myself fretting, I study the little birds outside my kitchen window and remember that God’s provision is far more for me than they. Yet they trust Him to find their next meal, safety from the Great Horned Owl who makes his nocturnal rounds, and shelter in the most horrific of storms.
If they can glorify and praise God with their beautiful evensong each day that sends my soul soaring to the heights of heaven, then surely I, too, can praise and glorify God by trusting in His providence when I am scared or worried.
Sense mortification related to the Second Letter Lesson: “Sense gratification often comes through hearing. We must mortify the sense of hearing five times a day, no more no less…Let us also pray in the right spirit without demand and command. Quietly, let us rejoice and be thankful for what we have and make the most out of trials, mistakes, and misunderstandings.” – Cora Evans, Second Letter Lesson
Disciplining my sense of hearing is nearly impossible most days. I have become an expert at filtering out all noises, except screams and crashes – which means I miss the quiet whispers, too. When one hears “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom” nonstop throughout the day, it becomes a form of insanity. This is why my ears have become deaf to the conversation of little girls swarming at my feet.
But I know I must remain open, attentive by listening. I cannot fully love if my ears are closed to all sensory information. They are the channels by which music, laughter, and conversation enter my heart. If I open them again, I wonder what sounds I will notice as if for the first time: the giggle of my toddler, the soft singing of a hymn, the murmurings of “I love you.”
It’s easy for me to forget how beautiful and valuable my hearing is, because most days I want everything to be completely silent around me. But inner silence isn’t contingent upon what’s going on around me. Deep-seated gratitude is found in those stolen moments of listening to my daughter’s story about fairies and enjoying the innocent laughter of my younger children.
These connect me to heaven by way of my ears. They bring me back to a time in my life when I was pure of heart, too – a time to which I can return again and again, day after day, by becoming little as a child.