“Silence is the doorkeeper of the interior life.” — St. Josemaria Escriva
It’s so hard to be quiet. Does silence even exist any more? Sometimes I think the only way I’d be able to experience true silence is inside a sensory-deprivation tank.
But, if silence is the doorkeeper of the interior life… and I know I have an interior life, since I’ve had experiential proof… then physical silence that can be heard (or, rather, not heard) must not be the silence St. Josemaria is talking about.
Silence of the heart? Silence of the mind?
Silence of that kind comes to me when I’m stunned by God, which makes sense, since the whole point of the interior life is having a relationship with Him. When I am amazed or subdued or captivated by God, that’s when my internal monkeys fall silent. And it’s not like I sit down intending to be captivated by God. He surprises me in the middle of washing the dishes or letting my seven-year-old give me a makeover.
It’s like He’s a Daddy playing peek-a-boo with a baby. Baby doesn’t know what’s going on when Dad covers His face with His hands… He disappears! He’s gone. Baby is alone, confused about what’s going on, wondering what’s going to happen. But when Dad takes His hands away and greets His baby with a smile, such intense delight engulfs that baby that it’s like nothing but Dad, and the love between Him and His baby, exists in the whole world.
And that’s the whole point!
St. John of the Cross has intrigued me for a long time. It’s only recently, however, that I’ve started to have an inkling about what the heck he’s saying.
His “way of the nada” has always made my brain feel like it’s turning into a pretzel, trying to understand. How can there be a “nada” way to God?
But, as it turns out, I was misinterpreting his “nada.” Now (for whatever reason) I think I get it: to let God have access into you, you have to have “nothing” in God’s way. It all seems so simple now. While remaining very complicated.
Literally “no thing” should be in the way as God is trying to get to you, and as you are trying to get to God. “No thing” includes the Self. You have to get out of your own way!
This is very difficult. Frankly, at this point, it sounds impossible to me. How can I get out of my own way? Even as I’m sitting here thinking about how to get myself out of God’s way, I’m wondering if the act of wondering about it is actually part of what’s in the way. Sigh.
Does anyone else ever feel like throwing their hands in the air and telling God, I give up on trying to understand this! I can’t wrap my brain around it anymore. And I don’t really need to understand it all anyway, as long as You know what’s going on… because that’s what matters.
“God is the Creator dwelling within us, and within the human soul is God’s true abode. And when our soul realizes this, it becomes like the one it beholds and grace quietly unites it to God in peace.” — Julian of Norwich
I was taught as a kid, from the Baltimore Catechism, that each and every human being is made in the image and likeness of God (and that this likeness is chiefly in the soul). That old question-and-answer memorized truth seems so bland and colorless compared with what I know now. There’s a difference between mentally knowing a fact, and having experiential knowledge of the same fact.
God is closer to us than we are to ourselves. It has to be this way, because we are His creatures, and without His constant holding-of-us-in-creation, we’d cease to exist. The beauty of it! We not only share in the Divine by adoption into His family, but the very fabric we’re made of is Divine.
We should all be carrying ourselves like princes and princesses, because that’s what we are. That’s who we are: sons and daughters of The Most High. Our place is by His side. He lives in us, and we in Him… and once a person realizes this fact, nothing is ever the same again…
Life is a love story.
Sometimes life feels like cold oatmeal. Nobody likes cold oatmeal. It’s sticky and slimy and weird and just gross.
Sometimes, even knowing that I share in the Divine life (being a baptized child of God and all), life still seems pretty darn cold, mushy, and tasteless… and, yes, even gross.
It’s comforting to know when life seems blah and I can’t feel God anywhere near me, much less living in my heart, that many, if not all, of the saints went through this too. St. John of the Cross called it the Dark Night of the Soul.
The Dark Night is really awful. I mean really, REALLY awful. This is coming from a person who’s had life-long problems with depression and anxiety. I know it’s probably a bit different for everyone, but in general, I feel like I’m cut off from everything good and there’s nothing but nastiness in me, around me, everywhere I look … even God seems blah. When I’m in the Dark Night I can’t feel love. Love doesn’t seem to exist except as a faint memory. I even sometimes question that memory of love. Was it ever really there to begin with, or was it all in my head?
The only thing I can do is hold on. This is where Faith comes in and gets strengthened. As long as I keep trusting that everything will be OK and God is in control, the sun will come out again sooner or later.
Holding on is hard…