Last night after many weeks of absence, I finally made it back to my weekly adoration hour. Work schedule and demands at home kept me away. I relished my return to the quiet and intimacy of the adoration chapel.
One of the things that has arisen lately in my prayer is the call to be more docile and obedient to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
In the time of quiet in the chapel, I turned to St. Faustina’s diary and read this:
Silence is a sword in the spiritual struggle. A talkative soul will never attain sanctity. The sword of silence will cut off everything that would like to cling to the soul. We are sensitive to words and quickly want to answer back, without taking any regard as to whether it is God’s will that we should speak. A silent soul 14 strong; no adversities will harm it if it perseveres in silence. The silent soul is capable of attaining the closest union with God. It lives almost always under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God works in a silent soul without hindrance.
The busy-ness of our lives often crowds out silence, but St. Faustina tells us of its necessity. In some seasons of life, silence seems impossible to find; in others the silence deafens us, and we fill it with sound and noise. Whether silence can be measured in minutes or in hours, it is there that we most hear the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
Today the Church celebrates the feast of one of the early Church Fathers and Doctors of the Church, St. Ephraem (Ephraim). Unknown to many of us, this fourth century deacon, a giant in his time, was well known for his writing, teaching and preaching. Deeply attuned to the divinity of Christ and the virginity of Mary, he fought the heresies of Gnosticism and Arianism. All this came as a result of his silence.
Born in Nisibis in Mesopotamia in about the year 306 to Christian parents, he lived, by his own accounts, as a wild youth. A close encounter with the law and a conviction by the Holy Spirit of his sinfulness brought about a dramatic change in him causing him to embrace the faith of his parents. After successive battles for control of the city drove the Christian inhabitants away, Ephraem withdrew to a cave in a rocky hill called “Mount of Edessa” close to the city, where he could live and pray in silence.
The fruit of this silence is his writing. In addition to his sermons and treatises defending the faith, he wrote many hymns, many of which are still used today, particularly in the Syrian church. Eventually he became known as the “Harp of the Holy Ghost.” Think about that for a moment… the harp of the Holy Ghost. Imagine being the instrument which accompanies the Holy Spirit? What a gift! What a privilege! Yet we are all called to make music with what the Holy Spirit tells us to do.
So today, let us follow the example of this Holy man and seek silence, even if only for a moment – consciously turning off the noise in our lives, so that as Pentecost approaches, we, too, can hear the lyrics of the Master.
Come Holy Spirit. Anne