August 9, 2020 – 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

“May we amend our attitude of ‘running away from silence by wanting noise always,’ and thus experience the Presence of the Divine!”

(Based on 1 Kgs 19:9,11-13, Rom 9:1-5 and Mt 14:22-33 – 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time)

A young man went to a sage, whom he had often seen going to a forest.

Curious to know what the sage did in the forest, he asked him:
“I wonder what you do in the noise of that forest, everyday!”

The sage replied: “Have you any time tried to hear the voice of the forest?”

“Voice?” queried the young man in surprise, “I never hear voice.
I only hear noise.

And the only noise I hear in the forest is when the woodcutter crashes the wood, or the leaves and the fallen branches break beneath his foot.”

“Ah, that’s the difference between you and me”, said the sage, as he continued:
“I still myself in silence, in the forest, and I hear clearly the voice…
… of one limb of a branch grinding against another
… of the fall of a nut
… of the flutter of the wings of birds
… of the scamper of a rabbit
… of the gentle stirring of the wind!

That’s the difference between you and me…
… You run away from silence by wanting noise always!

I seek for silence, by moving away from noise!”

What about us?

Do we also run away from silence by wanting noise always…
… or do we seek for silence, by moving away from noise?

We live in a world of noises.

Noise is everywhere.

Music. Talks. Discussions. Commentaries. Arguments….

Apparently, much of life’s beauty is drowned in this sea of noises.

The word “noise” apparently comes from the Latin root word of “nausea” which means a sensation of vomiting and uneasiness….

Are we surrounding ourselves with too much noise – too much of an uneasy environment….
…that we even fail to listen to the Voice of the Spirit of the Lord?

We need to quieten ourselves.
We need to hear… the still, soft, gentle voice of the Lord!

The first reading of the Day presents the remarkable experience of Prophet Elijah encountering the Lord in a tiny, whispering voice (1 Kings 19: 11-13)

The Gospel of the Day begins with Jesus spending quiet moments with His Heavenly Father (Mt 14:23)

What is our attitude to Prayer?

  1. Shopping-list Attitude

We reduce our prayer time to mere presenting to God all our various wants and demands and desires and requirements. Much of time is spent is considering God as a mere giver and granter of gifts and objects.

  1. Complaint-Box Attitude

We spend much of our prayer time in whining and cribbing about the various disturbances affecting our life. Prayer gets reduced to a time of only grumbling and protesting and raising many grievances.

  1. Character-Assassination Attitude

Though not much acknowledged, we may spend our prayer time in speaking the ill of others, in making comparisons to the lives of others and even wishing the negative of other people for our advantage.

Pleasure is found much in speaking of the faults and negatives of other people and prayer acquires an “other-centeredness”, but in a very negative sense!

  1. Recitation-competition Attitude

Prayer becomes reduced to a mere recitation of a fixed set of prayers, holy invocations and muttering of words. Sometimes, much of this mumbling of expressions go without any concentration, or even knowing and meaning the value of the words.

Of course… It is not necessary to get critical and too self-conscious of our style of prayer.

But we also need to know: Prayer is more of a relationship…
…Prayer is spending time with our Heavenly God…
…Prayer is just “being” with Him!

Prayer is more…
… of giving myself as I am to the Lord… than mere receiving!
… of experiencing the silence of the Lord….than mere babbling words!
… of a communion with the Lover of our Souls…than mere external expressions!

The readings of the day invite us to a Life of Prayer…
… to a Life of Discovering the Power of Silence
… to a Life of finding quiet moments with the Lord.

Am I able to discover silent moments in my working activities?

Am I able to feel God’s presence in the things and objects that I use and handle?
Am I able to realize the gentle charisma of the Lord in the din and noise of the day?

Storms in life are bound to happen…
Waves of hardships are sure to hit our boats of life…
… but if we are rooted in a true spirit of prayer and communion with the Lord, we will be firm & strong.

In true silence and serenity, we will be hear the words of the Lord:
“Take courage, it is I!

Do not be afraid!” (Mt 14: 27)

Let us seek the Lord…
… in true prayer
…in serene silence
… in the midst of life’s noises and clamour and clatters!!

Yes, may we amend our attitude of “running away from silence by wanting noise always…
… and instead seek for silence, by moving away from noise

And thus experiencing the Presence of the Divine!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Call to mind that God is not only present in the place where you are…

… but that He is very specially present in your heart and mind, which He kindles and inspires with His Holy Presence, abiding there as Heart of your heart, Spirit of your spirit!”

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