Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

Speaking Out: Listen to the silence

By  Angelica Vecchiato, Youth Speak News
  • September 23, 2020

“God always speaks to you. All you have to do is listen”

My mother always offers this advice when I seek discernment in challenging situations.

Until recently, I could never fully grasp the idea of God speaking to me. When I would ask God a question in prayer, I never seemed to receive an answer to help me make timely life decisions. With my ears strained, I listened to detect a divine voice, but all I would hear was the sound of silence — frustrating and unyielding silence.

Quietness truly disheartened me and, consequently, prayer started to become very distasteful. If God was speaking to me, why couldn’t I hear Him?

I would always picture a deep voice from above providing counsel and presenting solutions to all my predicaments.

What happened to the parable of knock and you shall receive? I was knocking and listening, wasn’t I?

However, in an almost counter-intuitive way, this condemnation of prayer initiated my understanding of how God speaks to us.

As I furthered myself from prayer, the silence became increasingly non-existent. In lieu of hush, I heard noise in the form of distractions from TV and social media. Then COVID-19 hit, and suddenly all the noise, those beguilements of the world, subsided and I once more heard the silence. 

And this is when I made the life-changing discovery. God speaks in silence. The stillness that was so frustrating to me before became the key to my prayer relationship with God. Through the absence of noise, I understood that God is not flashy but subtle in His communication methods. That through His silence, we could fully appreciate His mystery and realign with the fundamental truths of this world.

Our life is designed for constant connection with God, our Creator, and His plans for our life.

As His children we need to pray to deepen our relationship with Him to better discern His will (which is the only thing that can truly fulfill us). However, the world offers us loud distractions, protruding upon our connection with the Divine and the silence through which He speaks.

Those advertisements for large cars, get-rich-quick schemes and the often boisterous TV shows we watch can draw us into a rabbit hole that separates us from our silence, our calm, which is essential to discover who we are in Christ. As Jesus said (John 15:19), “As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”

Saints and prophets often sought peace when they contemplated their faith. They drew themselves into silence, a way to connect themselves with Christ while distancing themselves from the world’s distractions.

St. Patrick, the strong-willed Irish saint, climbed the isolated Croagh Patrick — Ireland’s holy mountain — for spiritual guidance while he fasted for 40 days.

St. Paul of Thebes, an Egyptian hermit, lived his whole life from the age of 16 onward in the desert to rid himself of the world and connect himself intimately with God.

Jesus Himself went to the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion to converse with God, His father. Through the silence of the garden, He overcame Satan’s temptation and aligned His will in accordance with His Father’s.

I am not suggesting transplanting yourself in the desert or a high mountain peak when you discern, but I think we can better implement silence and calm to attain a richer understanding of God’s will.

So, in the end, my mother was right: listen to the silence.

(Vecchiato, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)

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