Reflection - Silence is its own teacher

There is a saying from the Desert Fathers, (The Desert Fathers there were hermits and monks who lived in deserts of Egypt around the third century AD)

"Go sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything".

Silence is indeed its own teacher. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to talk about how she loved train journeys because they gave her a chance to pray.

How often do we in Hong Kong allow ourselves the luxury of a few moments of quiet solitude?

On Sunday, I was on the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) and it seemed nearly everyone traveling alone had an MP3 player or some other device attached to his or her ear. A friend in Japan once described a modern invention, as "not interesting, but just interesting enough to keep your mind off whatever else you would be thinking about."

Silence allows us to be more aware of our surroundings.

Why did Jesus withdraw to quiet places to pray alone?

Ten minutes of doing nothing in a quiet corner is a challenge to those of us who are proud of our busy lives. But spending those ten minutes is not ‘doing nothing.’ It is quietly sitting in God’s presence. I admit that can sometimes seem like an eternity but that ‘eternity’ is necessary.

We have to let God take his time, and give God the time to let his loving self be known to us. We need silence, because the world is full of shouting and God speaks ever so softly. So try, “Go sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything.”

Fr John Burger SSC is on the Columban General Council in Hong Kong.

Read more articles from the current E-News