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March 2013
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Silence is some thing we often forget about. In today’s world full of so much noise, it is hard to appreciate silence.  During Lent and throughout the year, prayer and meditation is extremely important. 
In it, we encounter God in ways that the senses cannot truly appreciate.  We read in
1 Kings 19:11-13 how God tells Elijah that He is about to pass.  Elijah witnessed what seemed like volcanic activity with mountains splitting, earthquakes and fire; however, God was not in that activity.  
Human beings often think of God as this being that is “loud and proud,” God is not.  If we continue reading 1 Kings 19 verse 12 we see that God comes as a soft whisper.  This is hard to believe at first; how can God – the Creator – present Himself as a mere whisper?  Where are the trumpets, fanfare, and cosmic fireworks?  God does not need them.  
God can be found in silence.  In the quietness of the human soul one will encounter God.  In order to dwell in the presence of God just like Elijah did, we must be silent and must be in silence.  While in silence we can appreciate the beauty of God’s grace working in our souls just like an astronaut can appreciate the beauty of space since space is silent and while in 0 gravity one can only take in via the eyes the majesty of the stars, moon and Earth.  

I was recently in New York City and forgot how noisy it can be.  The sounds of cars, buses, people shouting, kids with super loud “beats audio” headphones, cell phones ringing constantly and so on are a huge distraction.  The human being has a short attention span, according to cognitive psychologists.  We easily get distracted with any little stimulus.
If you want to encounter God, you must rid yourself of all distractions and allow yourself to be in a place of silence.  This is why I stress to priests to keep their churches quiet even if it means having some get upset when you tell them to be silent.  When one enters a church, one should feel like he/she has just entered another dimension, so to speak.  The transition from distraction and noise to peace and quiet must be perceived immediately upon entering a church.  The same environment should be imitated at home or during free time when one can pray without issue.  
Take this time to turn off every distraction and pray in a silent environment.  Listen to God in the whisper just like Elijah did.       

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