Over the last year, we as a Faith Connections community have had the opportunity to reflect on the importance of silence, stillness and solitude. This theme was integrated into many of our initiatives including October’s Hike and Prayer on Toronto Island, our Theology on Tap talks in November and April, and the Lenten Listening Busy Persons' Retreat. As we enjoy the rejuvenating summer season, let us continue to integrate silence into our lives.
In his homily this past Sunday, the holy Father spoke of the importance of silence in order to perceive the voice of God:
Benedict XVI today made a pastoral visit to the town of Sulmona, in the Italian region of Abruzzo, to mark the eighth centenary of the birth of St. Celestine V, the hermit Pope.
At 10 a.m. he presided at a Eucharistic concelebration in the town's Piazza Garibaldi, attended by some 25,000 faithful. …
[In his homily, the Holy Father spoke of] Celestine V, known as Pietro da Morrone because he lived in seclusion on a mountain of that name until his election as Pope in 1294, the Holy Father highlighted how "he abides in history, ... above all for his sanctity. Sanctity, indeed, never loses its power of attraction, it does not fall into oblivion, it never goes out of fashion; rather, with the passing of time it becomes ever brighter, expressing man's perennial striving after God".
This saint was, "from his youth, a 'seeker after God', a man who wished to find answers to the great questions of existence: Who am I? Where do I come from? Why am I alive? For whom do I live? ... In exterior silence, but above all in interior silence, he managed to perceive the voice of God which was able to guide his life".
In this context, the Holy Father noted how "we live in a society in which every space, every moment must be 'filled' with initiatives, activities, sounds. Often there is not even time to listen or to converse. Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be afraid to create silence inside and outside ourselves if we wish to be capable not only of hearing the voice of God, but also the voice of those near us, the voice of our fellow man".
Another element of St. Celestine's life was his recognition of the work of Grace. "What he had and what he was did not come from him, it was given to him. It was the work of Grace and, therefore, constituted a responsibility before God and before others".
"God anticipates us always. Each individual life contains good and beautiful things that we can easily recognise as His Grace. ... If we learn to recognise God in His infinite goodness then we will be able to see, with wonder, the signs of God in our lives, just as the saints did". The signs of a God "Who is always close, Who is always good to us, Who says: 'Have faith in me'".…
Excerpt from: Interior and Exterior Silence to Perceive the Voice of God. (2010, July 5). Vatican Information Services – Holy Sees Press Office, VISnews 100705.
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