"For the greatest things are accomplished in silence- not in the clamor and display of superficial eventfulness, but in the deep clarity of inner vision; in the almost imperceptible start of decision, in quiet overcoming and hidden sacrifice." - Romano Guardini, The Lord
God waits for us. Not in loud, clanging noises or warnings, not in grand gestures, not in tacky billboard messages, not in social media or news app notifications on our phones that demand our attention- but in silence. God waits for us in silence.
Our gift of free will is somewhat of a mystery- a blessing, to be sure- but a mystery as I've come to understand it. As I weave together a web of mistakes and downfalls and occasional "right" choices throughout the journey of my life, God waits and works in silence, for those moments when I decide to come to Him. Why does He allow this and often work in this way? Because He wants us to come to Him out of our own choice to love, out of our own choice to approach Him in humble silence too.
Through this gift of free will, I try to find ways to quiet the sounds of my day-to-day routine and the distractions that pop up in my thoughts, and I listen, or simply remain still in the presence of the Lord. I make room to hear the promptings and inclinations of where He wants to re-route my path and call me closer to His heart- through encounters with other people in my life, obstacles that have been blocking me from growing in charity, or simply through deeper intimacy with Him in my personal prayer and the sacraments.
I was speaking with a student about this recently who came to me seeking advice about a tumultuous relationship. Amidst her interior battle and list of pro's and con's for staying in the relationship with her boyfriend all she wanted was for God to speak to her and tell her clearly what to do. Have you ever been in such a frustrating situation? It's so easy in our limited human perspective to desire something so simple as a literal "Dump that boy!" or "Stick it out, this will be your future husband" from the voice of God. However, we know the flip side of this. If we experienced God in the ways we wanted to experience God, He would be nothing more than a puppet master trying to control his puppets. A great quote from the author Flannery O'Connor comes to mind: "A God you understood would be less than yourself".
So, within the silencing of our own hearts and minds, God is there- waiting. He knows the desires of our hearts, even before we know them. He listens, and listens, and listens to us in our hardest interior struggles, even when it doesn't feel like He is. What's left for us to do is make the time and space for receiving Him within our silence and to find Him within our own small hidden sacrifices throughout the day. -Erin K. McAtee