At the vigil Mass last night I was struck by the tension in the Gospel reading with its challenge to be simultaneously open — to be able to hear and to speak — and silent — to hold deep within ourselves the mystery of what God has done for us. In the midst of a country and church that is stretched almost beyond bearing, I kept thinking about whether I was willing to pray for the grace to "be opened," for the grace to hear God in places that I would rather not listen. The contrast between Jesus putting his finger in the man's ear, and how often I (mentally!) stick my fingers in my ears and chant la-la-la was particularly sharp.
As I sat out on the porch in the cool of the morning, I found myself contemplating what it means to speak and to be silent, to hear and to be heard, to hold God within and proclaim him in the streets, and I listened to this piece from Margaret Rizza's collection New Dawn. It's a gently haunting litany of ways in which we might hear the voice of the Lord: in the silence of the stars...in the heaving of the seas...in the words of a stranger...
While the piece itself feels like it was cut from stillness, I loved its acknowledgement of God in the midst of chaos: "in the heaving of the seas". I might desire undisturbed solitude and silence, a serene spot to contemplate the mysteries of the divine, but the reality of my life looks more like a heaving sea than a placid lake.
"Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it." Thomas Merton