Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Words That Make Holy Silence

Up date from the Archdiocesan Clergy Symposium

Day two of the Clergy Symposium found me sleeping through the first session. After a wonderful yet exhausting Sunday, I caught the red-eye flight out of Vancouver at 11:00 pm, arriving at the Antiochian Village Conference Center about 1:00 in the afternoon on Monday. The excitement of catching up with old friends kept me up late, and Matins called me up early. By ten this morning I could barely keep my eyes open.

Everyone said the lecture was wonderful. It was by Bishop Anthony and should be on Ancient Faith Radio tomorrow. I'll try to listen to it during break time tomorrow.

In the afternoon, I attended a session with two speakers. The first speaker, although most of what he said was good, upset me somehow. At one point I even verbally challenged him, trying to put in words what was bothering me. Like usual, I only made things worse, muddied the water and probably upset him or others. When am I going to learn to keep my mouth shut when my spirit is disturbed?

The second speaker, however, even though his style of speaking was similar and the topic the same, instead of disturbing me, calmed me. When he was finished, I just said Amen. It wasn't that I even agreed with every detail of what he said. I just felt calm and as if he were speaking with Grace. He spoke to something inside me. The words and sentences were mere vehicles for something else, something calming and peaceful and maybe even Holy.

This evening (having slipped away from the youth skit night on behalf of the clergy--such things make me nervous) I read Photios Kontoglou's Encomium (essay in praise) of St. Isaac the Syrian. One of the things Kontoglou says of St. Isaac is that "even though he writes so much, he makes a holy silence come to rest within our spirit, just as if there were no one speaking, but we only heard the distant echoing of the sea hidden from our sight."

That's the way I want to speak. That is the way the second speaker this afternoon spoke. What he said was good and true--just as what the first speaker said was good and true. But what was heard in the heart through the words of the second speaker was a kind of peaceful silence, a stillness with a gentle roar, like "the distant echoing of the sea hidden from our sight."

May God help us and teach us both to speak and listen so that the gentle roar of the hidden but echoing Holy Spirit be always the kernel of all we say and do.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Hi, father. I always read your blog, and it continually makes my day. I really enjoy your musings, as they're consistently pertinent to, well, life. I just though to let you know that I appreciate them!
I also believe that whenever I've heard you give sermons, I have found moments of "holy silence" within them.
God bless. :)