Encounter God's Word
Throughout the Scriptures, we hear stories of encounters with God’s Word. God speaks to and through Moses, the prophets, Paul, Peter, James, John, and so many others. Jesus, the Son of God, speaks with authority to the people. Through the centuries, God has spoken to and through the Saints.
God speaks to us today. We hear God’s voice in the Scriptures, the Word of God. Through study of the Scriptures, we gain insight into God’s plan of salvation. When we pray the Scriptures, we are inspired by God’s Word for our own lives. Through the homily, the priest opens the Scriptures to us and helps us consider how we can apply it to our lives.
God speaks to us through the Mass and Sacraments. We encounter God’s Presence and Word in the signs, symbols, and prayers of our sacramental rites.
We can listen for God in creation. We feel the warmth of God’s Presence in the sunshine on our faces. We observe God’s joy as we watch birds flit and animals scurry. We can hear the whisper of God as the breeze ruffles leaves and bushes.
God speaks to us through the people we encounter. God encourages and admonishes us through their words. God speakes God’s love for us in the loving words of family and friends.
Another way that God speaks to us, a way that I believe we’ve forgotten, is in silence. We are surrounded by constant noise. In the midst of perpetual noise, however, we can experience interior silence. This takes practice. We need to intentionally quiet ourselves, turn of our screens and devices, close our mouths and maybe our eyes, and become still.
I have been practicing silent prayer, also known as contemplative prayer, for several years. I am still amazed at the power of silence and how I feel God’s presence so deeply in the silence.
Contemplative prayer can be practiced in different ways. Sometimes I sit silently with my eyes closed. As thoughts come to me, I let them pass by like a boat on a river or a cloud in the sky. Sometimes I walk outside, watching and listening for how God is with me and speaking to me in what I see and hear. Sometimes I read a Scripture passage or a spiritual reading and pause to quietly meditate on a word or phrase.
I encourage you this week to take some time to be quiet. Sit in your favorite chair and close your eyes and simply think about God. Take a walk and notice what you see and hear. Read a passage from Scripture or a spiritual reading and pause to meditate on a word or phrase. Be patient with yourself. Contemplative silence takes practice. Even if you are silent for just a couple of moments, your heart will soften and open to receive God’s Word. Perhaps this could become a practice to carry you through Lent.