How God Speaks Through Stillness

Photo credit: Mary Ann Flannery, SC

Are you hungry to hear God?  Most assuredly God speaks through all kinds of human activity: noise, industry, human voices, music, in short, the cacophony of life.  That is, if you are attuned to hearing God.  Well, yes, even if you’re not attuned like in the flash of grace that seers through a hurricane of activity and you, unprepared, hear something beautiful you haven’t heard before.  It might have been God’s voice!  So, if you have spent your life in faith and prayer you will probably hear God inspiring you at some point in prayer.  And, if you have been, shall we say, a bit of a rapscallion, untuned to God’s voice, you might still hear that luring, comforting, invitational voice at some point and you should respond.  For God is like that, always looking for the wandering soul.  Like Dismas.  Remember him?  The good thief who looked over at the dying Christ and asked for forgiveness and literally stole heaven?  Wow!  What a way to go!!  He heard the voice of God in Jesus’s words at His last moments, and they converted him.  That’s the flash of grace in action.  The novelist Flannery O’Connor wrote poignantly of such instances of grace in all her work.  Check it out.

You and I, simple voyagers on this journey of life moving toward heaven might wonder: Can we find the voice of God only in silence or also in noise?  I say we find God talking to us when we prepare for it and make silence a surrounding grace to welcome Him in.  And we must always be open to the God of Surprises who will speak to us when we are least aware, often in the noise of life.  Catch the lightning I say to my directees.  He’s there. 

For the most part of our spiritual lives, however, God talks to us when we prepare the environment.  That has nothing to do with God but only with our human disposition.  As I said, God can get through anything, but we often can’t hear through anything.  We sometimes need help and the strength of silence.  Make sure your prayer corner is set up with what you need to hear Him.  Maybe it’s a chair, candle, bible, and of course, a silent place.  Let God pierce that silent place as you open your hands, close your eyes.  Take as long as you wish in your corner, but let it be silent.


On our first day in the Holy Land, we started in Tiberius because our guide said she wanted to start where Jesus started His ministry.  We boarded a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee.  This is where He began His ministry and so much happened.  I was deeply moved when we boarded the boat because all twenty-two of us wandered about, silently, looking over the Sea of Galilee and thinking of what Jesus saw, what the disciples saw, what the people saw as He put out His own net.  To my inspiration, all of my colleagues stayed very still, wandering about taking in the early morning sun and listening to the ripples of the lake.  We were told that the Sea of Galilee is often called The Harp by locals because the ripples sound like harp strings being plucked when it is calm.  I was inspired by this moment, and it was a moment of silence and God was talking to us.  I was sure of this as we all walked around the boat and listened for God’s voice in the silence.  And I thought of Jesus taking in the morning stillness, the sun slowly moving over the lake and Jesus, deep in thought and wondering about His ministry and praying to God – so silently – as the ripples hit the boat and nothing but a sky and water and God were speaking to Him.

For this week, read Matthew 13:1+.  Stop when you want.  It’s a good example of Jesus talking at the Sea of Galilee as He begins the ministry.  It’s pretty long so you might want to focus on what is meaningful for you

And remember, all of you my readers and Anonymous Angels, God does, indeed, speak to you in the silence.  God’s voice hovers over the desert mountains and loves to swirl right down to you, wherever you sit in anticipation.  Isn’t it wonderful how much God loves you?           

One thought on “How God Speaks Through Stillness

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  1. Oh Sr Mary Ann,
    I felt I was on that boat with you! What did you experience as your eyes, feet and mind absorbingly registered the moments all around you?
    Just the beginning of your thoughts and I’m there all over again as I was in 1981!
    You walked with your dear sister, she living in the “New Jerusalem” and you In the Holy Land walking in His Steps!
    Your words are pathways like no other Retreats! They come alive…
    Thank you!

    Mary Kalabiha


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