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I.O.U.

My God: The Alphabet of Silencing Oneself


Just trying to meditate to discern the profound significance of the phrase drove me to take a pause and find a quiet place for regurgitation into the very corridors of silence.
Unless we create silence within ourselves, we will not able to be at peace with God and will always be at war with our inmost being.

In Sadhana: A Way to God, Anthony de Mello observed that as silence grows it will reveal more and more to us about ourselves. Or, more accurately, silence will reveal ourselves to us. As I entered the labyrinth of silence, I was able to relate with St. Pauls experience and there were two men inside me (Gal. 5:17). I practically became a stranger to myself in the void of silence. It was also a moment when I began to ask the question who am I as if I have not really known myself. Is this really the foretaste of what silence means? Like Saint Paul who honestly wrote that he was once in the state of at war with himself, why do I do things that I do not want to do? (Rom. 7:17-23) or should I say there is a legion within. No wonder many of us are still so afraid to approach the door of silence - it means the beginning of stripping off what we thought of ourselves to be, this false sense of self-value; at the end, we begin to realize and humbly admit to ourselves that we have not known yet the man inside us. For all the humanity thats still left in me, I also happened to notice that I have always been in a state of forgetfulness of Gods ruling presence everywhere especially in my life. I was then moved to engage myself in humble abandonment praying on bended knee before God and pleading for mercy and forgiveness. With praise and adoration, I began to seek Gods wisdom, so that the humbling phrase in the Lords Prayer, Thy will be done, becomes more meaningful. In the continued stillness of attentive silence, I opened my heart, ready this time to receive the gift of grace that would fortify my soul. This could only be Gods loving touch taking the initiative to lead us back towards a sinless life.
If I climb the heaven, you are there. If I lie on the grave, you are there. For it was you, O Lord, who created my being, knit together in my mothers womb (Ps.139:1-18,23-24).

Being aware of Gods reigning-presence rouse me from deep spiritual lethargy and slumber only to question and revisit my own spirituality, to retrace my steps and retrieve that authentic Christian Identity so I could steer back on the right course in this prayer journey. An inward journey, this genuine process of spiritual growth always starts with humility before our God if it is to be a life-changing experience that should draw us ever closer to God. Indeed, it has been said that peace surpasses all understanding. This peace is just at the bend for anyone who seeks first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It is so near to us like the Word of God which is already in our mouth and in our heart, so that we can put it into practice (Dt. 30:14). This is also the same with our journey to the center of our being that will eventually lead us to awareness of the depths, the widths and the heights of the richness of Gods design, in the same way that the inspired Psalmist wondered in awe:

How great is your name, O Lord our God, through all the earth! When I see the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you arranged, what is man that you should keep him in mind, mortal man that you care for him

The Psalmist continues:


yet you have made him little less than a god; with glory and honor you crowned him, gave him power over the works of your hand, put all things under his feet (Ps. 8:2-6).

God gave us the wisdom to understand this mystery that the Father gave Christ lordship of creation and made him head of the Church (Eph. 1:22). Surely, God made all things out of love for man, and man in turn might love God out of gratitude for so many gifts. See what love the Father has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God! Yet that is what we are. Dearly beloved, we are Gods children now (1 John 3: 1) Jesus Christ our Lord revealed the Father first to his Twelve Disciples; He let this dignity be shared to us, his followers, when He said that when you pray say Our Father when asked by his disciples to teach them how to pray as He prayed. Sacred revelations were given to us to let us know that we are more than what we know and part of more than what we admit. But despite that revelation of who we really are, we have gone too far beyond what we supposed to be as Meister Eckhart on ce said: God is at home. It is we who have gone out for a walk. To consider the task God gave to human, God made everything fitting in its time and that he also set eternity in their hearts, although man is not able to embrace the work of God from the beginning to the end (Ecc. 3:10-11). It simply says that everything has a purpose even we do not understand it fully (Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life). I do really believe that there will always be a door waiting for us to open so to welcome us back home for we long for it when set it in the depths of our hearts. What do we really need to do is to discover that door as Saint John Chrysostom testified to this: when you discover the door of your heart you discover the gateway to heaven. This way, we can start practicing a Love-Driven Life instead. I learned also certain lesson when once I read St. Bonaventures Itenerarium Mentis in Deum (The Journey of Mind to God) that he who does not enter the door but climb the back door are thieves and robbers. The door is Jesus Christ in our spiritual journey back to God, back to Home. The reminder of mother Teresa of Calcutta echoes in this inward journey: first to create silence within ourselves, for God is a lover of silence so that in the silence of our hearts, God speaks of His love; with our silence, we allow Jesus to love us. He is always waiting for us in silence -to speak to us and to listen to us. We do not really need to travel far to search for Jesus Christ. He is not there; He is close to us - He is in us. Let me share with you the experience I had during our Five Days Mary-Martha Retreat (Franciscan Moratorium) as Gods answer, one way or another, to my confused disposition. This kind of retreat is very unique in the Spirituality of Franciscan Traditions if one really wants to trace back the active and contemplative form of service and prayer within the Franciscan Fraternity in which those who will be the Martha(s) of the week or days of the retreat activities will carry out the role of the Mother(s) who will serve the Brothers who are Mary(s) be treated as their Son(s). What actually happens here is that the sons will be begging and the mothers will attend the sons need. This is a very great help that which awakens the inner man within. This retreat enables to me realize that

most of my prayers were pretentious one and idle act of prayer. Prayer does not need words after all. It does not mean without word in a strict sense of the word but what is needed here is that the retreatants should able to practice mindfulness of Gods Presence in everything he does. Mindfulness of Gods Presence wherever he/she may be, one way or another, is truly an act of prayer. No words are needed but just a constant awareness of this constant presence! Perhaps, we should also consider the radical unfolding of the story in The Pious Man and the Shopkeeper. This is not easy; there is no shortcut in life! Yes, this is also what I really believe. But Gods revelation through Jesus Christ will change everything that we used to believe in. Jesus came to simplify the truth about our life, but the sophisticated man only tried to complicate everything and ended lost in the myriad of secular prescriptions. Indeed, the truth about the great mysteries of life will humble us and literally drive us to our knees to acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior. They will. The Il Poverello of Assisi, Francis di Bernardone, brought to light these mysteries by his simplest expression of faith:
Deus Meus et Omnia! My God and My All!

In silence, I began to personally understand life from an entirely new perspective enabling me to reflect and respond from Gods point of view. We really need not be worried and afraid. What is only needed is simply to be there present with The Presence!