By Kathy Keary
The most transforming event of my life remains when my daughter and I lost our house and the majority of our belongings in a fire eighteen years ago. As I drove away from the remains of our once-cozy home, I wholeheartedly knew that I was embarking on a life-changing spiritual journey. I had no idea how that would play out, but it was the impetus for deep reflection. In the silence of my soul, I heard the invitation to “follow me.” Jesus would be the one to show me the way.
In studying and reflecting on the life of Jesus, the fact that he spent time alone and in silence communing with the Sacred One, stood out to me. I developed the habit that continues of starting each new day in meditative prayer that incorporates silence. It is the silence that has allowed room for God to shape me, sanding my many rough edges. It is the silence that has filled me with a sense of peace, joy, and love. It is the silence that has encouraged me to share those gifts with others. The negative consequences of my personal crisis pales in comparison to the treasures that my morning prayer time has afforded me.
About six months after the fire, I heard the following Scripture passage for the first time:
Then the LORD said (to Elijah): “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will pass by.” There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD—but the LORD was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the LORD was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound. (1 Kings 19:11, 12)
I realized then that God’s involvement in my fire was in the gentle sound that followed – the whispering of love in the depths of my soul. In reflecting on this passage today, I am convinced that God’s involvement in the coronavirus is in the reality that the divine walks with us as we endure the hardships and losses that will occur.
Many of us are confined to our homes at this time giving us the opportunity to be led by the still, small voice that calls each of us by name. We need the silence and solitude to hear the inner stirrings. If silence has not been a part of your prayer life, maybe you will be led to incorporate silence into your daily routine. Is God calling you to something new during this time in your life when many of your activities are on hold?
It’s often difficult to quiet our minds to enjoy moments of silence. Focusing on your breath is one way to still yourself. When you realize that your mind has run away with a distraction, just gently turn your attention toward your breath. Another way is to focus on your stillness or a sacred word or image. The key is to not beat yourself up when distraction occur. Just gently refocus. Any time spent in silence is fruitful. It may be wise to begin with one minute and work your way up to greater periods of silence.
In her book, Little Pieces of Light, Joyce Rupp states, “No matter how thick the darkness, some unexpected light always shows itself.” Perhaps the trying times we are facing in our world today will make room for a new way for you to experience the Holy One.
Perhaps the trying times we are facing in our world today will make room for a new way for you to experience the Holy One.
During the next several weeks Precious Blood Renewal Center will be running a series of articles on fostering the contemplative life in our world today. We will post a new article every Monday and Wednesday. On Thursday’s we’ll send an email to remind you of the articles. Topics that will be addressed are contemplation, meditation as a path to contemplative living, discernment, and discovering our true self.
We are invited to be open to the possibilities born during a break from our usual activities. Embrace the silence. Embrace the solitude. Embrace the stirrings found in the stillness of your soul.
Note: New articles in this series will be posted to the website every Monday and Wednesday. Full series can be found here: An Invitation to Something New: The Contemplative Life. On Thursday’s we’ll send an email to remind you of the articles.
[Kathy Keary, a Precious Blood Companion and spiritual director, holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is a graduate of the Atchison Benedictine’s Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the divine within. She enjoys accompany others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]