Geoffrey Rowell writes in The Times weekly Credo column that In silence and stillness we can seek God. Here’s a portion:
The wisdom of the great Christian teachers of prayer — echoing that found in other religious traditions — places a high value on the discipline of silence, quietening the incessant babbling of outward and inner chatter to allow a settling into a deep and attentive stillness, rooted in a Godgiven inner peace.
Seraphim of Sarov, the 19th-century Russian saint, taught: “Keep your heart in peace and a multitude around you will be saved.” Centuries earlier St Benedict urged his monks: “Diligently cultivate silence at all times,” and, in a vivid image, Diadochus, the 5th-century bishop of Photiki in Greece, cautioned that just as “When the door of the steam bath is continually left open, the heat inside rapidly escapes,” so the desire to say many things through the door of speech dissipates the remembrance of God: “Timely silence then is precious, for it is nothing less than the mother of the wisest thoughts.”
In the biblical story of Elijah on Mount Horeb, the prophet stands in the entrance of his cave, and finds the presence of God to be not in fire, storm and earthquake, with all their terrible physical power of destruction, but in “a still, small voice” — which, literally translated, is “the sound of thin silence”. It is this which awes Elijah so that he wraps his face in his cloak. And the psalmist writes: “Be still — let go — and know that I am God.” Silence and stillness, which require discipline, enable us to be attentive, to listen, not for some external voice, but, as we open ourselves to the presence of God, to that life which is at the source of our being.
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